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The GOP is in trouble, and so be it
Midterm elections likely to take a heavy toll on Republican representation in Congress

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 10/15/2006

By Richard Amrhine

WILL NOVEMBER 7, 2006, be a date that lives in infamy for the Republican Party? American voters appear poised this Election Day to vent their ill will against the hapless party in power.

Observers think there's a good chance Democrats will pick up at least the 15 seats they need to wrest control of the House of Representatives. The Republicans, of course, have no one but themselves to blame, and the suggestion that Democrats are "politicizing" recent news is absurd. These events are conveniently self-politicizing.

But there should be serious thought among people of my "ilk," to borrow some fan-mail terminology, that a wholesale removal of Republicans from Congress may not be in anyone's best interest.

With all 435 seats in the House up for election, plus 35 seats in the Senate--combined with an endless stream of bad news for the GOP and some of its candidates--these midterm elections have Democrats drooling with anticipation.

The party that took over the House in 1994, the White House in 2000, and the Senate in 2002, has since followed a systematic path of self-destruction:

The war. Having underestimated the enemy's perseverance and ingenuity from the beginning, the Bush administration is now crippled by its inability to articulate a rational strategy. The "war on terror," thanks to its mismanagement, may have made the world an angrier and more dangerous place for Americans and other Westerners.

The call for a diplomatic exit strategy has grown deafening. The war has left President Bush leading an ailing administration whose accomplishments are few and forgotten, and whose party is about to be spanked by the American electorate.

The Foley factor. This scandal gives new meaning to the term "member of Congress." At least President Clinton's immorality involved a woman who was old enough to make her own decisions. Neither can be said for Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida Republican whose friendliness with youthful male pages has apparently been known by the Republican leadership for at least six years.

It's no wonder that a scandal bottled up for so long would explode in the party's face at such an inopportune time. This may be the final straw for Americans still clinging to some Great Red Hope.


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