"I don't believe you."
That's what I told "conservative campaign consultant" Rick Shaftan on last night's radio show.
Shaftan had been quoted in Thursday's Washington Times as saying "Conservatives aren't motivated to come out, is what I'm finding. They see no reason to re-elect the people who are in office."
I asked Mr. Shaftan was he conducting polling, for whom, and was it published?
No, it wasn't published, he replied, and that he did some work for the Minutemen. Then, as he began to get back to his fable, I stopped him and told him I simply don't believe it.
Why my skepticism?
I have been in Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Ohio over the past five days. I have appeared at rallies that filled large rooms to capacity with enthusiastic volunteers. I have had candid conversations with four members of the House --Mark Kennedy, Mike Sodrel, David Dreier and Deborah Pryce, three senators, Rick Santorum, Jim Talent, and Norm Coleman, and other candidates such as Rick O'Donnell and Doug Lamborn in Colorado, Michele Bachmann and Alan Fine in Minnesota, and Ken Blackwell in Ohio.
More importantly I have talked with hundreds of members of the GOP base in a variety of different cities, each with a unique set of political circumstances. I polled every audience.
To this I add literally thousands of e-mails from listeners and readers as well as continual calling to various pundits and political pros, and the compulsive assessment of the polls --good and bad-- that stack up at RealClearPolitics.com.
There is simply no data to support the idea of significant if any turnout diminishment. There is grousing. There is posing. There is much struggle to claim Spenglerian cred.
But the idea of widespread discontent and a desire to punish the party for the misdeeds of a soaring economy, a 12,000 dow, two Supreme Court justices and a border fence isn't there.
Would a lot of us like better? Of course.
But only the fringe is growling for political self-mutilation.
And they always growl for political self-mutilation. In their world, Goldwater ran an insufficiently tough campaign.
But. No. Data.
So why are "conservatives" bad mouthing Republican prospects? Why not instead spend time and effort identifying those races which everyone agrees are close and in need of effort, attention and money?
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