I love the fact that I am out of the Washington, DC metropolitan area fairly frequently. The Washington, DC metropolitan area is filled with people like me. People like me talk to other people like me, picking up scraps of information, half-baked (and totally unsupported) theories from other people like us, then we race each other to be the first on CNN of FNC to say it out loud so that reporters will hear it, write about it, and declare it to be: TRUTH.
This is the most efficient system for garbage recycling in the whole of human history.
I am not immune to the polls. I read them. I talk to the pollsters. I see the look on their faces as they describe the electoral terrors which are impending a mere six months distant.
Then I go out into the real world, and see and hear things which are far different.
As a theory-baker of the first water, I am fully capable of thinking of a theory, rolling it around on my intellectual tongue, tinkering with it to give it just a dash of history and a pinch of insight and then foisting on … you.
I have been saying for some time that while I don't doubt the polling numbers - when they're all within a couple of points of each other, they are probably good numbers - but I think they are measuring the wrong thing.
When I go out into the non-Washington world, I do not see Republicans hiding under their beds, or staying away from GOP events as would be the case if the base were overwhelmingly angry or disheartened.
I was the GOP party treasurer in Marietta, Ohio 45750 during the Watergate era. People who had held fundraisers in their homes were denying they had every heard of the Republican party.
That was a bad time. According to the Clerk of the House website, in the 93rd Congress (1973-75) the party division was 243 Democrats and 192 Republicans.
When the House convened in January of 1975 the results of the previous November's election had decreased the GOP numbers to 144; a loss of 48 seats.
Two years later Republicans lost yet another seat, so in the 95th Congress - four years after Watergate - they found themselves with only 143 Members to the Democrats' 292.
There is absolutely nothing like that rampant in the heartland. Not even in what the Democrats consider to be ground zero for their electoral gains in November: Ohio.
The New York Times sent reporters Adam Nagourney and Ian Irbina out to Columbus to see what is what.
Ohio's Governor Bob Taft is sitting at about 17% in the polls.
Polls v Reality
5/8/2006 12:01:00 AM - Rich Galen
SIDEBAR I believe I have been quoted saying that Bob Taft and French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin are the only two politicians in the world who wish they had George W. Bush's numbers.
I have nothing against Taft, but I take great delight in following the collapse of de Villepin's career after he lied to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell about France's support for a UN resolution on Iraq.
Ohio is central to the Democrats' hope of taking over the US Senate. However, as the NY Times reporters wrote yesterday that following the primaries last week, "party officials and analysts said one of the Democrats' most alluring targets, Senator Mike DeWine, seemed less vulnerable than he had earlier this year."
That is largely because he will be opposed by Democratic Congressman Sherrod Brown who, according to the NYT, "supports abortion rights, opposed the constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage and voted against the war in Iraq."
On the House side, Democratic hopes of taking the seat held by US Rep. Bob Ney (who has been implicated in the lobbying scandals) "were set back when the Democrats' favored candidate … lost to a lesser-known and politically inexperienced challenger..."
On the Gubernatorial front, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell won the GOP primary which caused the Ohio Democratic chairman to say the race to replace Taft "could prove tougher than many Washington Democrats think."
There it is: What people in the real world think is very, very different from what those of us in Washington think.
If the Democrats can't sweep Ohio, it is difficult to see how they can take control of either the House or the Senate.
No matter what the polls say.
On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the NY Times piece, the etymology of "of the first water," a link to the Clerk of the House web page showing which party had how many seats going all the way back to 1789; a Mullfoto from my trip to Paris last month, and another ugly animal Catchy Caption of the Day.