Sunday, October 24, 2010

We Kaine do it! (Yes, we Kaine!)

(Sorry, that's a pretty lame post title. I feel wiped out after watching the Steelers squeak by the Dolphins, 23-22.)

DNC Chair (and former Virginia governor) Tim Kaine told Christiane Amanpour on ABC's This Week this morning that Democrats will retain control of the House on November 2. Is he insane?

Yesterday, suggesting that Republicans have already peaked (and noting that the "enthusiasm gap" appears to be closing), I predicted that Democrats will do better than expected in the midterm elections. But, while I hold out hope, I certainly did not go so far as to predict that they would hold onto the House, which seems to be a lost cause at this point.

Now, of course, Kaine has to remain optimistic. It's his job to raise money and rally the troops, and no one wants a glum party chair predicting failure. But he did hedge his bets a bit. After responding "I do. I do." to Amanpour's direct question, he shuffled back into uncertainty: "I think it's going to be close," he said. "These races are very close, but from this point forward, it's all about turnout and ground game. And we're seeing good early voting trends and we've got work to do, but we think we can do it."

To his credit, though, he's not resorting to manic cheerleading. He's right that "it's all about turnout and ground game" (a lot of it is, anyway), and, well, you never know: "Almost all the polls have been moving for us. Now we still have work to do, but what Democrats tend to specialize in is the ground game – the turnout – and the more people turn out, the better we do."

It won't be enough, but I think Kaine's onto something here. No, he doesn't have some inside scoop. No, he isn't delusional. He just knows that the race is narrowing and that a Democratic surge in the final days of the campaign could at least make it close.

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