Friday, August 05, 2005

Signs in Ohio?

CNN analyst Stuart Rothenberg dismissed notions that the hotly contested special election battle in southwestern Ohio's 2nd Congressional District had more to do with state Republican troubles than the overall national mood of the electorate. So did Chicago Tribune columnist and Plamegate Pimp Bob Novak before he abruptly whined and bounced off the set of CNN's "Inside Politics" because he couldn't take James Carville's heat. GOP operatives, slightly embarrassed that a Democrat came within only 4,000 votes of winning in a heavily Republican district, scoff with talking points at claims this is an omen of midterms to come. Let Rothenberg and the Republicans tell it, it's as if the current tempest of global and domestic troubles doesn't exist ... or that Americans are somehow numb to war, gas prices, White House corruption, Congressional pork plays, terrorism, etc.

But, clearly if Republicans are human like everybody else, they have got to be nervous, particularly as it relates to Iraq. We agree with former House Speaker and Republican Majority architect Newt Gingrich's very candid assessment in the Washington Post recently: "There is more energy today on the anti-Iraq, anti-gas-price, anti-changing-Social Security and I think anti-Washington [side] ... I think the combination of those four are all redounding to weaken Republicans and help Democrats. . . ."

Interesting that just last year, Ohio was looking like Florida in 2000 - for Republicans it was the celebrated bellweather state among all bellweather states, clearly defined as the ultimate mood of the national electorate to clinch a Bush win. Now, according to the RNC, all politics in Ohio isn't national anymore, it's just a state thang, displaying a selective ignorance of what's obviously got the rest of the nation - and, yes, Ohio, too - bugged.