Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What are the chances?

By Carol Gee

As the U.S. pumps $250 billion directly into banks, and the stock market continues its wild gyrations, the chances are good that Democrats in Congress will do very well in the November elections. Polls show that a large majority of people think we have been headed in the wrong direction. Here are some reasons why, according to leaders in Congress:

  • Senator Chris Dodd (D-Ct) and Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts say they want to overhaul the current [financial] system next year to rid it of overlapping regulatory agencies, give other agencies new powers and perhaps create a new overseer for the whole system. (Source -10/13/08: New York Times)

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders plan a proposal to "spur the economy through increased spending on public-works projects, health-care dollars for states, additional unemployment pay and more food stamp aid, among other elements," according to the (10/13/08) New York Times. Rep. Barney Frank plans a bill in November.

  • Representative Louise Slaughter writes in The Huffington Post via Yahoo! News, "Putting the Past Behind Us: A New Energy Future for America#."

  • Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced an examination of the allegations of inappropriate eavesdropping by two former military linguists.

Another bailout may not help the chances of Congressional Republicans -- The Republican National Committee, according to Politico.com (10/13/08), is thinking about a $5 million bailout for some GOP senators. However, Obama's campaign will not provide millions of dollars in help to the DSCC, turning down a direct appeal by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). To quote:

The Republican National Committee, growing nervous over the prospect of Democrats’ winning a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, is considering tapping into a $5 million line of credit this week to aid an increasing number of vulnerable incumbents, . .

. . . the NRSC has spent heavily in Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Mississippi, among other states. . . GOP sources emphasized they would not be diverting money from John McCain, who they promised would continue to enjoy a steady stream of ads from the party’s independent expenditure arm. . . that the party would use new money to block a Democratic triumph in the Senate rather than boost the odds of its presidential nominee speaks volumes about what many Republicans think is still salvageable.

. . . Incumbents in both chambers who were previously seen as safe are now perceived as slipping away. But to ensure at least one bulwark against total Democratic control, GOP officials are more inclined to focus their resources on the Senate.

“There are seven or eight [seats in danger],” a top Republican said of the upper chamber. “What’s it going to be a week from now?” Party officials see GOP Senate seats at risk in North Carolina, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota, Mississippi, Alaska, Oregon and Georgia.

Republicans are also supporting more incumbents than rookies, as Democrats' chances look better. The presidential election is playing to the Democrats’ favor. Obama’s momentum is strong enough that even some Republicans in red states, have tied themselves to the Democrats. This story is also from Politico.com (10/13/08). To quote:

The money national Republicans [had] earmarked . . . will likely go instead to protect GOP incumbents who once looked like locks for reelection. . . If 2008 looks like 2006, a new wave of veteran Republicans will be out on the streets, and the colleagues they leave behind could find themselves with the smallest minority since the post-Watergate era.

. . . Those signs of decline led political prognosticators on both sides of the aisle to believe House Republicans would suffer a net loss on Election Day, somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 18 seats. Those projections now hover somewhere between 20 and 35 seats.

. . . As of Sunday, the DCCC had spent money in 47 congressional districts. Of those, 34 are seats held by Republicans. In contrast, the NRCC has spent money in 13 districts — 10 of which it is trying to defend.

Reference: Congress Votes Database. This site lets you browse every vote in the U.S. Congress since 1991.

Hat Tip Key
: Regular contributors of links to leads are "betmo*" and Jon#.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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