January 4, 2006
Vol. 41, No. 1a
To: Our Readers
In This Issue
- Dean’s DNC continues to close the fundraising gap with the RNC
- Democrats trying to figure out how to handle their ‘Nancy Problem’
- Our Election Scorecard looks at possible Democrat and Republican pickups in 2006
- Sen. Trent Lott could determine if the GOP keeps its Senate majority
The major question facing the political world as the New Year begins: Is there really a growing consensus that the political climate for ’06 resembles the mood in ’94, when it became clear that there would be a turnover in control of Congress? No, not yet anyway. In the meantime, these issues currently are on the surface.
- The guilty plea of lobbyist Jack Abramoff cuts two ways. First, it strikes fear in the hearts of members of Congress — mainly Republicans, but also some Democrats — that they will be implicated in the prosecution as recipients of Abramoff’s favors. Second, the overriding sense of scandal in Washington looks like a negative for Republicans in ’06 as a similar climate was for Democrats in ’52.
- The call by former Speaker Newt Gingrich for the election of a permanent House Republican leader intensified pressure to formally replace Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.). It looks like payback time for Gingrich, who blames DeLay for his own fall from power.
- The Left is waging a much tougher campaign against the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court than it did against Chief Justice John Roberts, mainly because Alito has a much longer judicial paper trail. This may yet reach the point where Republicans have to use the "nuclear option" to cut off a filibuster.
- The new Medicare prescription drug subsidy, which was supposed to bring seniors into the Republican fold, has all the earmarks of a disaster for the GOP. It will be a major factor in the prospective swelling of the budget deficit, but its big political downside is its complexity. Seniors are just not signing up for it.
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