Did I Forget To Say I Was on C-SPAN?

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 22, 2006 9:30 AM

Sorry about that. I was on Washington Journal this morning opposite Matt Stoller of MyDD.

I'm already getting a few sweet hatemails from the liberals who were watching, most of which touch on my gender and my looks, but that's the way it goes.

I'm sure the show will replay later both for their benefit and yours. I'm new to TV, so I've got a lot practicing to do, but I figure 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday is probably a good time to do it. I'm not as pessimistic about Republican chances as Matt is confident about a Dem win, though I concede we face an uphill battle. Of course, midterm eletions are traditionally uphill for the administration in power.

We've got the GOTV covered, we've got the Dems on money, gas prices are falling, Dow's cracking 12,000, unemployment's low, and consumer confidence is high. Now that those things are true, however, the Dem mantra "It's the economy, stupid," suddenly isn't anymore.

We do face the fact that Iraq is looking dangerous, and taking its toll on everyone, but the Dems face the fact that no one trusts them to have the guts to leave the country in decent shape instead of running immediately. They also face the fact that Dem operatives often seem a tad too gleeful about upticks in violence in that region largely because they have the potential to damage Bush. Voters sense that and don't like it. The Democratic Party has spent many years pittling away its reputation on national security. It won't necessarily earn it back because of an uptick in violence in Iraq, whether it wishes to or not.

All in all, a good discussion, though as I said, I need practice. I get nervous. As we were leaving I told Stoller in the elevator that I had better go to church this morning since I was already up and dressed. He told me he was heading to a Sunday morning secular gathering where he teaches small children to be gay. Heh. He would.

These are the stakes.

Just kidding of course. And, in good news for both sides of the aisle, politics ain't just for ugly people anymore! As long as we're all here in the muckety-muck, we might has well have something to look at. I'm sure I can get a bi-partisan "Amen" on that, or whatever it is seculars say in place of "Amen."

Update: Big numbers for Dems don't necessarily mean big wins.

In the last big midterm wave, 1994, Republicans had a net gain of 52 seats, but 22 of those wins came in districts with no incumbent. This year the Democrats have only eight good targets of opportunity, out of a total of 21 open Republican seats. In the worst-case scenario for the GOP, 93 percent of House incumbents will be re-elected. The voters might want to throw the bums out, but not their bum.
It is helpful to remember that, in terms of open seats, this isn't 1994. The "throw the bums out, but not my bum" idea is the sense I'm getting from most of my uninvolved friends. Even the conservatives who are kind of upset about things have such a deep mistrust of Democrats on both social and security issues that they're not looking to jump ship. They know their Congressmen. They think they're sufficient, and since the feeling is all politicians are problematic, why not side with the problem you know instead of the one you don't? That anecdotal, but that's the sense I get from friends.