A Democratic win in November? Let the pre-spin begin

The Washington Times explains why it wouldn't mean much anyway.

Published October 19, 2006 2:20PM (EDT)

A sure sign that the Republicans are nervous about November: The Washington Times is up with a story explaining why a Democratic takeover in the House really wouldn't mean anything anyway.

"If the Democrats win, it will have all the elements of a Forrest Gump victory -- in other words, things swirling around them over which they were barely aware," the Times quotes pollster John Zogby as saying. "There will not be a proactive agenda that wins this for them. I don't know if the electorate sees the Democrats as having an alternative to the Bush plan. They've put it out, but the party's leadership hasn't led with it."

The Times says a Democratic victory would "stand in contrast to the 1994 congressional sweep by Republicans who ran on their comprehensive, highly detailed 'Contract With America,' giving them a more-sweeping mandate than is likely for the Democrats."

The Times has a point here, but maybe only half of one. If voters send the Republicans packing next month, we'll submit that their decision will have had much more to do with their unhappiness with the GOP -- with the Foley scandal, with the war in Iraq, with the economy -- than with any excitement they feel for the Democrats' agenda, whatever it may be. Which is to say, it will actually be a lot like 1994 in reverse: In polls taken in the run-up to the 1994 elections, voters expressed widespread disapproval of Congress, but only 31 percent of them had even heard of the "Contract With America."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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