Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Sofa Effect

Okay, we're surprised about this. We thought that turn-out in the Iowa caucuses and in the New Hampshire primary was way up for both Democrats and Independents and for Republicans too. That was our impression from TV commentators at the time.

But no. Turn-out for Democrats and Independents was way up, and turn-out for Republicans in the first three states where candidates "aggressively campaigned" was down. "All told, 1.2 million voted in the Republican races in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan. In 2000, the number was 1.6 million." What percentage drop is that? Who does math?

Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris write about "the sofa effect" in the Republican Party this year. It's having a ripple effect: fundraising is way down, candidate recruitment is paltry, "brand" enthusiasm has flatlined.

Here's perhaps the most damaging ripple: 10 percent of Republican House members have already announced their retirements, with more sure to come.

This morning on C-SPAN, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a Republican member of the Budget Committee, relentlessly attacked Democrats as the cause of all that is wrong with government over-spending. He used earmarks as one prime example, and in searching about for an outrageous example of earmarking, he came up with the Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C. Apparently, he either didn't know or didn't care that his example was an earmark by a fellow Republican, Madam Virginia Foxx.

With allies like this, you scarcely need enemies!

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