Sunday, 20 March 2005

Midterm loss?

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bob Novak, who for reasons inexplicable to me is still walking the streets of this great nation instead of rotting in jail for contempt of court, states the obvious in a column that can only be characterized as “random 3-graf thoughts from Bob Novak.” Here’s the whole item of interest:

Analysts at the Republican National Committee have sent this warning to the House of Representatives: The party is in danger of losing 25 seats in the 2006 election and, therefore, of losing control of the House for the first time since the 1994 election.

Although some Republicans on Capitol Hill believe the RNC is just trying to frighten them, concern about keeping the present 232–202 edge pervades GOP ranks. The second midterm election of an eight-year presidency often produces heavy congressional losses for the party in power.

A footnote: Rep. Christopher Shays, re-elected from his Connecticut district last year with 52 percent, is considered by colleagues as the most vulnerable Republican incumbent. Other especially shaky GOP House members include Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania and Rob Simmons of Connecticut.

I doubt there are even 25 competitive House seats in the nation, much less 25 occupied by Republicans. Not to mention that the “midterm loss” theory has gone 0–2 since the 1994 Republican takeover of the House of Representatives; in 1998, the Democrats picked up seats during the impeachment debacle, while Republicans gained in 2002 during the slowest “rush to war” in human history. I suppose it’s possible that the historical midterm loss trend will return, but I wouldn’t try to predict it 20 months in advance regardless.