Friday, July 21, 2006

GOP Might Lose After All

I've decided after six months to change my prediction about the House. It looks to me, like the Republicans will probably lose twenty five seats to give the Democrats a seven-seat majority after November. I'm guessing the Republicans will wind up with 210 after the election, if my count is right about the current standings. It'll be the first significant victory Democrats have enjoyed since Bush took office in 2001 (Jim Jeffords' quitting the GOP counts as more of a default victory).

Maybe this loss may actually be a good thing for the Republicans. A loss would first, humble the Congressional Republicans, and second, may lead to the replacement of significant House leaders, including Dennis Hastert. Maybe some more moderates will replace them, allowing for more shared control between the two wings of the party.

It's hard to say how great the gains for the Democrats will be. Here in Michigan, I expect all fifteen incumbents to be reelected, even though Nancy Skinner probably stands the best chance of creating an upset (against incumbent Joe Knollenberg). But they might not be enough for them to sustain a permanent majority. If they get into power, unless John Murtha backs down from his attempts to become the next Majority Leader, there could be a fracture in the Democratic caucus.

If that's true, it would also mean that John Conyers, the incoming Judiciary Committee Chairman, will probably hold hearings that will lead to impeachment articles being brought against President Bush. That may backfire against both Democratic House members, and candidates seeking the White House. If the majority is as thin as I think it will be, the Republicans, with the right candidate for president (McCain, Hagel, or me if I'm asked), can maintain the White House and win back the House in 2008.

As far as the Senate goes, don't count on that changing hands. The Republicans have too few seats to defend, not enough that are really in play, and there's a slim chance they could actually pick up a seat or two (as hard it may seem). More on that, later.