West­ern ero­sion

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

“This one is pretty easy to ex­plain,” Fred Barnes writes at www.weekly­stan­dard.com.

“Repub­li­cans lost the House and prob­a­bly the Se­nate be­cause of Iraq, cor­rup­tion, and a record of tak­ing up big is­sues and then do­ing noth­ing on them. Of th­ese, the war was by far the big­gest fac­tor. Un­pop­u­lar wars trump good economies and ev­ery­thing else. Pres­i­dent Tru­man learned this in 1952, as did Pres­i­dent John­son in 1968. Now, it was Pres­i­dent Bush’s turn, and since his name wasn’t on the bal­lot, his party took the hit,” Mr. Barnes said.

“The de­feat for Repub­li­cans was short of dev­as­tat­ing — but only a lit­tle short. The House seats the party lost in New York and Con­necti­cut and Penn­syl­va­nia will be hard to win back. Just as Repub­li­cans have locked in their gains in the South over the past two decades, Democrats should be able to so­lid­ify their hold on seats in the North­east, as the na­tion con- tin­ues to split sharply along North­South lines.

“What should worry Repub­li­cans most, how­ever, is ero­sion of its strength in the West and in two states in par­tic­u­lar: Colorado and Ari­zona. Four years ago, Colorado was solidly Repub­li­can. Since then, Democrats have won a Se­nate seat, two House seats, the gov­er­nor­ship, and both houses of the state leg­is­la­ture. At the state level, that’s re­align­ment.

“In Ari­zona, Repub­li­cans dropped two House seats and Repub­li­can Sen. John Kyl got a mild scare. Kyl, by the way, may be the finest and most able sen­a­tor in Wash­ing­ton. He’s cer­tainly in the top five. Mean­while, Demo­cratic Gov. Janet Napoli­tano cruised to vic­tory.

“The bot­tom line is this: Col- orado and Ari­zona may not be there for Repub­li­cans in the 2008 pres­i­den­tial race. Of course, ev­ery­thing de­pends on the ac­tual can­di­dates, but th­ese two states start out as pres­i­den­tial swing states. This is a new de­vel­op­ment.”

File photo

Oklahoma Repub­li­can Sen. Tom Coburn said Nov. 8 that rather than gov­ern­ing “from the mid­dle,” the par­ties must “gov­ern from con­science.”

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