Republicans started the year with 41 senators. Eight of them -- or 20 percent -- are ditching (or have already ditched) their caucus:
Kit Bond of Missouri, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Mel Martinez of Florida, George Voinovich of Ohio, and as of today, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas have announced their retirements. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched parties. What's left is heavily concentrated in the South and Mormon Corridor:
After two consecutive electoral routs, the surviving Republicans generally represent the safest base turf. Republicans represent 17 of the 24 Southern seats, 10 of the 26 Western seats, 10 of the 26 Midwestern seats and just three of the 24 Northeastern seats. Republicans dominate just the South and the Mormon Corridor in the Rockies. The entire GOP Senate leadership hailed from those two regions until Sen. John Ensign (Nev.) resigned his leadership post because of scandal.
For a party that has become too South-heavy, potentially losing seats in Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio (among other places) won't help their ability to play better to a national mainstream audience.
The 2010 map isn't a friendly one for Republicans. The usual political prognosticators (Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, CQ Politics, Swing State Project, and Larry Sabato) all give Democrats the edge, with just the ethically challenged Dodd in Connecticut generally making the list of endangered Democrats, while Republicans are facing serious pressure in Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio. Louisiana and North Carolina aren't far behind. The May 2010 special election in Texas won't be a GOP cakewalk.
In the House?
As they gear up for the 2010 midterm elections, Democrats appear secure in their House majority they won with a big gain in 2006 and reinforced with another advance in 2008 [...]
The only three contests in which CQ Politics rates an advantage to the challenging party are all for seats now held by the Republicans and targeted by the Democrats:
The consensus is clear. Democrats are headed toward modest pickups in both chambers in 2010. But the geniuses at the Politico stand above common sense and reality:
Democrats giddy with possibilities only six months ago now confront a perilous 2010 landscape signaled by troublesome signs of President Barack Obama’s political mortality, the plunging popularity of many governors and rising disquiet among many vulnerable House Democrats.
Bolstered by historical trends that work in the GOP’s favor -- midterm elections are typically hostile to the party in power -- and the prospect of the first election in a decade without former President George W. Bush either on the ballot or in office, Republicans find themselves on the offensive for the first time since 2004.
Republicans were on the defensive in 2006 and 2008? They looked like they were on the attack to me -- Rev. Wright, Rezko, tire gauges,
Perez Paris Hilton, "cut and run", and this year has been a relentless barrage of "socialism" and "birth certificate!" The only time Republicans are on the defensive is when they get busted committing adultery or sexually harassing underage congressional pages.
But the Politico has great sources! Greenwald:
Who are the sources for Politico's exciting announcement of a GOP resurgence? A grand total of three: "GOP pollster Whit Ayres," "GOP pollster John McLaughlin," and "Republican pollster Neil Newhouse," all of whom assure us that the signs point to imminent Republican triumph and Democratic doom. After 21 straight paragraphs of chest-beating GOP triumphalism, Politico throws two Democratic sources into the last three paragraphs of the article for "balance," along with this hilarious qualifier: "For Republicans, the news isn’t entirely promising." What is it that makes things "not entirely promising" for Republicans? Just little things like this:
There’s been no surge in GOP voter registration and little evidence that the party brand is experiencing a recovery. Last month, a New York Times/CBS poll reported that the GOP’s favorability ratings remained at a record-breaking low -- 28 percent, down from a high of 59 percent in November 1994.
The Politico, however, is in good company. Greenwald reminds us of these gems:
As the Republican Party has completely collapsed over the last five years, declaring its resurgence has been a staple of establishment punditry. Political genius Mark Halperin warned in June, 2006 -- roughly four months before one of the most humiliating electoral defeats in the last century -- "If I were them [Democrats], I'd be scared to death about November's elections." In October of that year -- less than a month before the election -- Jim Carney and Mike Allen (then of Time, now of Politico), published this GOP success dance, as summarized by Eric Boehlert:
Mike Allen and James Carney wrote a detailed piece
about why Republicans were not worried about the upcoming elections. "The G.O.P.'s Secret Weapon," read the bold headline. "You think the Republicans are sure to lose big in November? They aren't. Here's why things don't look so bad to them," read the subhead.
The article went on and on about how an "eerie, Zen-like calm" had fallen over GOP operatives who, despite a mountain of public polling data, did not fear big election losses. In fact, they coolly insisted their own prospects were "getting better by the day" . . . . Time ended on this chipper note: "As long as they [Republicans] end up keeping control of both houses, they still come out the winner on Election Day."
And most ludicrously of all, David Broder excitedly announced in February, 2007: "President Bush is poised for a political comeback."
But hey, Drudge will likely give the Politico a link. And given their traffic trends, you can bet that's a major motivator.
Yup, Politico has lost over 1M unique monthly readers since its peak in February. There's nothing like Drudge bait to help turn that around.