Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The key...

Will the Democrats be able to win the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections?

Back on 2-October I suggested that the Democrats would pick up 2 seats in the Senate. Since them, it seems as if Santorum really has lost his seat in Pennsylvania, which would bump the number to three...

But one of those two I was counting back on 2-Oct was Harold Ford Jr. pulling the HUGE upset in picking up a seat in Tennessee. Today, I feel much less confident that Ford will be able to pull that upset off ... but I have become more convinced that if he does win Tennessee, that is a much larger statement about the national scene, and the Democrats may be able to come up with the other three victories and take the Senate.

Let me explain...

First - why am I less confident that Ford is going to win Tennesse? Simple answer - typical Republican gutter-tactics - see the following two pieces: More on the Tennessee Mudslide; A Contentious Campaign in a Battleground State. Consider:

RUSSERT: Ken Mehlman, the Republican candidate in Tennessee has asked that you take that ad off the air, that it is over the top. Former Republican Senator William Cohen says it’s, quote, “overt racist appeal.”Will you take that ad down?

MEHLMAN: Tim, I don’t have the authority to take it down or put it up. It’s what called an independent expenditure.The way that process works under the campaign reform laws is I write a check to an independent individual. And that person’s responsible for spending money in certain states. Tennessee is one of them.

I’ll tell you this, though. After the comments by Mr. Corker and by former Senator Cohen, I looked at the ad. I don’t agree with that characterization of it. But it’s not an ad that I have authority over. I saw it for the first time the same time that they did.

RUSSERT: The whole idea of having a blond white woman winking at a black Congressman, the notion of interracial sex is not in your mind racist?

MEHLMAN: I think that that ad talks about a number of people on the street talking about things that Mr. Ford allegedly has either done or a proposal he has for the future. I think it’s a fair ad.

Disgusting. Or this:

[Republican candidate] Corker depicts himself as more "senatorial" than Ford but is running an almost entirely negative campaign at this point. He depicts Ford as a smooth-talking city slicker who has deeper roots in Washington, D.C. -- where Ford lived for part of his childhood -- compared with Corker, the self-described "real Tennessean" in the race.

The hardest blows have come from the national GOP. The National Republican Senatorial Committee ridicules Ford's expensive tastes on a "Fancy Ford" Web site, and the Republican National Committee is airing a controversial new ad that features a scantily clad blonde who says she met Ford at a Playboy party. "Harold, call me!" the woman chirps.

Ugh. When you have no ideas, you resort to slime. Unfortunately, these days slime is terribly effective, and such a dirty, nasty, negative campaign could very easily turn this campaign around in the final couple of weeks. It's a shame that a candidate with leadership, vision, and exuding confidence in Tennessee and America would be torpedoed by dirty-Republican tactics...but that's the way it goes.

But, Ford is a great candidate, and will keep fighting to the end of this thing - bringing lots of Tennesseans around:

John Layne is a 57-year-old white Republican with a long gray beard, no job and advancing emphysema. He arrived an hour early to hear Harold Ford Jr. speak in this struggling mountain town.

"Oh, sure, there's some prejudice," Layne said as he contemplated casting a ballot for a black man. "I wouldn't want my daughter marrying one." But he's more concerned about rising medical costs: When it comes to voting, "you gotta look at the person, not the color."

While visiting a diner in Oak Ridge, Corker stopped to shake hands with Linda Ramsey, who was having lunch with her husband, Dale, and daughter Kelcee. Ramsey responded with a big smile when Corker asked for her vote. But when he moved to the next table, she conceded she was leaning toward Ford.

Although she supported Corker in the primary, Ramsey explained, "all he wants to do is point fingers. Ford is stepping up above it."

If Ford can pull this off in Tennessee, then nationwide, Democrats have a real chance. To be able to fend off the dirty-Republican tactics would be indicative of a national wave of support for the New Direction of the Democrats, and a latent disgust of these typical Republican tactics.

Go Harold Ford Jr.!!

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