I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Riding the Storm Out

"Riding the storm out,
Waiting for the fallout"

- R.E.O. Speedwagon

While the eyes of the nation focused on the media tsunami surrounding Eliot Spitzer and his famous singing hooker, power brokers in the Republican party were watching a different type of storm rolling over their landscape.
Week of Bad News Highlights Difficult Challenges for GOP in Fall Elections

Republicans on Capitol Hill were suffering a run of bad news that could hold dire implications for the campaign season.

It started with the loss last weekend of the seat held for two decades by former House speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). It got worse when Republicans lost potentially strong challengers to Democratic senators in South Dakota and New Jersey, and failed to field anyone to oppose the reelection bid of Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

Let's recap the list of body blows hitting the GOP all at one time.
  • Losing Denny Hastert's seat to Bill Foster
  • Failing to field a reasonable challenger to multiple Senate and House seats
  • NRCC Treasurer embezzles millions from their already depleted war chest
  • Candidate recruiting failures in key swing states
  • Sense of doubt scaring off some potential donors when money is already tight
The non-partisan Cook Report is now listing nine Republican Senate seats as being tossups leaning toward turnovers, with only one Democratic seat on the list. Some others are in doubt. Assuming that Barack Obama manages to still win the nomination, he has been turning out new, first time voters at an unprecedented rate. If this GOTV success carries through in November and brings the usual coat tails effect, those numbers could increase. Not very long ago the idea of either party getting a bullet-proof supermajority in the Senate seemed impossible. At the point, the Democrats may well be on the verge of doing just that.

Yes, it's still very early in the process, but if I were running the GOP right now, I might be thinking of this comment by political analyst Stuart Rothenberg.
"The math is against them. The environment is against them. The money is against them. This is one of those cycles that if you're a Republican strategist, you just want to go into the bomb shelter."

Maybe, but if we start any more wars before January, the bomb shelters might be a little crowded.