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by Christopher Chantrill
March 14, 2006 at 9:21 am
IT WILL TAKE a gain of 15 seats for the Democrats to take control of the House of Representatives this fall. Can they do it?
Long time elections expert Michael Barone says maybe. It would seem that gaining 15 seats should not be that hard, given that the Republicans gained 52 seats in 1994 to take the House. But this isnt 1994. At least not yet.
Democrats' chances of taking those 15 seats are not very good — if the voting patterns and political contours that have held steady since the 1995-96 budget showdown continue to prevail.
And thats the point. Voting patterns have stayed steady for about the last ten years. The Republicans gains came from three sources, says Barone. First was the Democratic Class of 1974 that had won in fairly Republican districts. Twenty years later, as those incumbents moved on, their seats reverted back to the Republicans. Then Republicans benefited from an improvement in candidate quality, the movement of the conservative South into the Republican camp, a remarkable anti-incumbent feeling, and finally an anti-Clinton feeling among voters who in 1992 thought they were voting for a moderate and instead got tax increases and national health care.
How do those factors work this time around? Not too much. It doesnt seem likely that Republicans are in for a perfect storm like Democrats were in 1994.
In his analysis, Jay Case writes in RealClearPolitics.com that we should not underestimate the difficulty of unseating an incumbent congressman. There are only about 17 Republican open seats and most of them are districts that voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004.
Then he goes through the conventional wisdom that points to a Democratic pickup in November. Democrats could win if they could unify around a set of issues. Republicans are in trouble because they are not united. Right track/wrong track polls indicate trouble for the Republicans, and so on.
All wrong, says Case. The fact is that 95 percent of Republican congressmen are running for reelection. And the open seats are mostly in districts that voted for Bush. That makes it almost impossible to retake the House unless the sentiments of the voters change significantly before November.
So it aint over yet.|
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
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