It’s always dangerous to make predictions.
Back in 1980, self-proclaimed consumer advocate Ralph Nader claimed the Love Canal environmental disaster was merely the tip of an iceberg. He predicted the future would feature the discovery of a series of “cancerous, toxic cesspools left by callous corporations.”
This seemed to make sense. After all, there were thousands of industrial sites where dangerous waste had been dumped. Surely all those toxic chemicals would eventually come back to haunt us.
Well, Nader didn’t foresee that the on going economic strength of the U.S. would solve our pollution problems.
As people become richer, “they insist upon a clean-up of local environmental damage,” journalist Martin Wolf noted in his book Why Globalization Works. “There is no doubt that environmental standards have been racing to the top, not the bottom, over the last two or three decades. Local air and water quality have improved enormously, in response to tighter regulation.”
So let’s consider what the political professionals are saying about the upcoming election. All predict a Democratic landslide.
Charlie Cook, editor of The Cook Political Report, recently wrote this could be “one of those once- or twice-in-a-generation elections when a party enjoys unbelievable gains or endures horrendous losses.” He writes that 50 Republican House seats are “in jeopardy.” His counterpart Stu Rothenberg adds, “The national political environment currently is worse than it was in 1994, when the Democrats lost 52 House seats, eight Senate seats and 10 governorships, and when Republicans won GOP control of the House for the first time in decades.”
On Oct. 10, “the nation’s newspaper” explained why Democrats are likely to ring up these gains. “A Capitol Hill sex scandal has reinforced public doubts about Republican leadership and pushed Democrats to a huge lead in the race for control of Congress four weeks before Election Day, the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows,” began a story by Jill Lawrence. But that story actually explains not why the Left will win, but why it will lose.
In the end the Mark Foley scandal will matter less than last week’s ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples. That decision gave the state legislature 180 days to rewrite its marriage laws.
Why will Foley fade? Because his story is a true “October surprise,” a political attack dressed up as a news story. Just last week the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group, fired the employee who ginned up the scandal by posting Foley’s inappropriate instant messages on the phony Web site stopsexpredators.blogspot.com.
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