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Monday, May 08, 2006


Democrats may not be able to win the House, but Republicans could lose it.
Ken Mehlman is the unflappable efficiency expert who chairs the Republican National Committee. Because he's not known for histrionics, his warning last week to GOP congressional staffers about this November's elections caused many on Capitol Hill to bolt upright.

Mr. Mehlman traveled to Capitol Hill to warn the staffers that they risked a disaster at the polls if they didn't pass meaningful legislation the conservative base cares about. Other GOP strategists go even further. "If the election were held today, I'd say the odds are 90% that we'd lose the House," says GOP consultant Mike Murphy.

Other Republicans aren't as gloomy, but they warn the GOP Congress has to act on a range of issues soon. "If we want to ensure voter turnout among conservatives doesn't drop, we've got to perform," says Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who dropped by The Wall Street Journal's offices on Friday. He adds it is imperative that the bloated "emergency" spending bill passed by the Senate this week not become law and that some immigration bill clears Congress.
...
"[What's] happening is a breakdown of the coalition that elected and re-elected the president," says pollster John Zogby. He told the Washington Times that in his surveys he found Mr. Bush pulling in less than 45% support among people invested in the stock market, Nascar fans and gun owners. His standing among born-again Christians was just over 50%.
...
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll offered respondents a menu of legislative action Congress could address before it goes home this year. Asked to choose which should be its top priority, a stunning 39% selected "prohibiting Members of Congress from directing federal funds to specific projects benefiting only certain constituents"--i.e., the pork-barrel spending at the heart of the Congressional earmark process. Immigration reform was in second place with 32%. It would be ironic if the big-spending strategy Tom DeLay thought was a key to shoring up incumbents and keeping GOP control of Congress winds up ending that control.

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