Sunday, October 22, 2006

FOLLOW THE MONEY. Barron's makes the best possible case that the Republicans will hang onto power in the upcoming election: they have more money.
Is our method reliable? It certainly has been in the past. Using it in the 2002 and 2004 congressional races, we bucked conventional wisdom and correctly predicted GOP gains both years. Look at House races back to 1972 and you'll find the candidate with the most money has won about 93% of the time. And that's closer to 98% in more recent years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Polls can be far less reliable. Remember, they all but declared John Kerry president on Election Day 2004.

Our method isn't quite as accurate in Senate races: The cash advantage has spelled victory about 89% of the time since 1996...
Remember when the Republicans' image problems had more to do with lobbyists and fundraisers than with text messages? Those malfeasances were unphotogenic where revealed, but they showed that the Republicans knew how to work the spigots. Abramoff and Noe went too far, but you can expect that sort of thing when word gets around that there's big money to be made if you show a little initiative. Many others have been as energetic, and not so dumb, as their fallen comrades, and the GOP's money mountains -- and the networks of influence that keep them majestic -- are the result.

Democrats are no pikers, either, and may get (back) their chance at patronage primacy -- K Street, ever cautious, has apparently begun to put out feelers. Which is why I'm confused that their candidates are not thumping economic populism hard -- if you want citizens to help elbow your opponents away from the trough, what better motivation can you offer than some of its contents? That's why I'm a Democrat, certainly. (That and the sodomy.)

I'd say Democratic chances at control of either House are a near thing at best. As I've observed before, the Republicans can, have, and will get out the pitchforks at the last minute, and remind America that Democrats are gay traitors, which should rouse some of the values voters who are alleged to be disgusted with the GOP at present. I would be more optimistic for the Democrats if they would start hollering loud about the full dinner pail, or the full home entertainment center, or whatever, and remind voters that they have something [rubs tips of fingers together] to offer besides ringing denunciations and rainbow coalitions.

Money is the big thing, though it's a real buzz-kill when we're reminded of it.

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