Reading through Stuart Rothenberg’s report on the current state of Senate races, I was stopped at this sentence:

The next most vulnerable Senate seat, in Minnesota, has moved toward the Republicans in recent weeks. GOP strategists have successfully put presumptive Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee Al Franken on the defensive, both over his nonpayment of certain taxes and, more importantly, a variety of statements he has made over the years.

Gee, I can’t imagine who they’re talking about when they say GOP strategists. JUST KIDDING. What Mr. Rothenberg says after that is worth noting:

Franken has defended his remarks by insisting that they were part of his shtick and intended as satire, not statements of his beliefs. But his language has been crude and his comedy often biting, and even some Democratic officeholders have expressed concern about his judgment.

Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has benefited in the polls of late, and even though Franken has time to change the dynamic of the race, it now seems likely that the comedian turned politician will have to defend himself repeatedly over the next four months. At the very least, that puts the challenger constantly on the defensive, improving Coleman’s prospects.

Let’s take a breath and realize the enormity of that last paragraph. What Michael has done has created a box from which there is no escaping for Mr. Franken. The only thing that’s left is for Franken to thrash about.

Let’s also note that Sen. Coleman helped himself immensely by introducing his energy bill. Sen. Coleman has stayed accessable through periodic blogger conference calls, too.

Here’s something from Mr. Rothenberg’s report that I found fascinating:

We’ve had four noteworthy Senate “waves” in the past 28 years, in 2006, 1994, 1986 and 1980, and it’s possible that we’ll see another one this year. But it’s also possible that all the talk about Democratic Senate opportunities is just a bit over-hyped, and that Democrats will have a good year, not a great one.

A month ago, strategists were speculating that Democrats would hold a veto proof majority in the Senate and would have solidified their control of the House after another romp. I didn’t take those speculations seriously then. I take them less seriously now.

On a somewhat unrelated topic, the House GOP leadership have made high gas prices their issue. I don’t know how much impact that will have in terms of net seats gained/lossed in House races but I’m bettng it’ll be significant.

I know that it’ll be a big issue in Minnesota’s First District race between Rep. Tim Walz and challenger Brian Davis. Expect Davis to intensify his attacks on Ms. Pelosi’s Rep. Walz’s energy policy as farmers tend to and harvest their crops. I’m not betting that Rep. Walz’s position will appeal to farmers.

It’s entirely possible that the energy issue will also affect Senate races, too, though I don’t know how much. I’ll guarantee, though, that that’s one of the indicators I’ll be watching. I’m betting that Mr. Rothenberg will, too.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

2 Responses to “Who Are These Mysterious “GOP Strategists”?”

  • skep41 says:

    Amazingly enough the Republican Party is actually showing signs of life. Five buck a gallon gas is making the Dems anti-energy policies a huge liability. The Uriah Heep of American politics, Tom Daschle, was on Fox News Sunday repeating the line that any drilling wouldnt add a significant amount of oil to our supply until 2030! 22 years from now.
    It shows what a knucklehead Wallace is that he didnt challenge a statement so incredibly dishonest. The elite doesnt get it, any of them. The slogan of the Republicans this year should be, “The Dems want to steal your car and hand you a bus pass!”

  • Gary Gross says:

    It shows what a knucklehead Wallace is that he didnt challenge a statement so incredibly dishonest.

    I totally disagree with that. That statement was so absurd that challenging it would’ve led to an argument, which would’ve distracted attention away from the absurdity of the statement.

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