Wednesday Afternoon Round-Up
Mitch McConnell blames "the numbers" for the "rather slim" chances of Republicans winning back the Senate majority (rather than, perhaps, the quality of the candidates or the issues at hand):
“There’s no question that if you just look at the numbers, we have a daunting task,” McConnell said at a Wednesday news conference on the eve of the year-end congressional adjournment. “I think the chances of you all calling me the majority leader a year from now are rather slim because of the number situation.” What if their minority slips below 45? And when McConnell says that the Senate GOP has a "good chance of staying roughly where we are," how broadly is he defining "roughly"?
Out of 35 Senate seats up for reelection in 2008, 23 belong to Republicans, and Democrats either are leading or competitive in four of the five open seats in which no appointed incumbent is seeking reelection.
McConnell said Republicans have a “good chance of staying roughly where we are” with 49 GOP senators. But even if their minority slips to 45, 46 or 47 members, he said, “Senate Republicans will be able to have an impact on public policy.”
North Carolina: Daily Kos has released its latest in a string of polls conducted by Research 2000 on 2008 Senate races. It found Elizabeth Dole still hovering below 50%, as she led State Senator Kay Hagan 46-39 and businessman Jim Neal 47-37. The poll also put Dole's favorable-unfavorable at an unintimidating 46-38, with Hagan's at 39-23 and Neal's at 34-27. As Kos notes:
Just a seven-point deficit by Hagan, and a 10-point one for Neal, both of them keeping Dole under 50? With the low name ID of the two Democrats, what these results say is that North Carolina voters aren't sold on a second term for Dole, and are willing to give the Democrat a good look. No matter who emerges from the Democratic primary, this is going to be a real race.Kentucky: It appears that state Attorney General Greg Stumbo will run to return to the state Legislature. So, while businessmen Charlie Owen and Greg Fischer continue to ponder a 2008 Senate bid, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne appears the likeliest candidate to carry the Democratic banner against Mitch McConnell. Be sure to watch Horne's three-minute introductory video if you haven't already - it's phenomenal.
Yesterday, I mentioned that the Mitch McConnell Republican Senate minority is now officially the most filibustering, most obstructionist Senate minority in history. The Campaign for America's Future put out a report (in PDF format) listing every single Republican filibuster, as well as every Bush veto and veto threat, chronicling this historic Republican obstructionism.