“Months ago, when Democrats were riding high from their second consecutive wave election and an unusually large number of Republican senators were deciding to retire, it looked plausible that Democrats would hold the line in 2010 and possibly even add a seat or two. With the political climate and the circumstances in key states now very different, those odds have changed,” Charlie Cook writes at www.nationaljournal.com.
“Next year there are seven Republican retirements compared to only three for Democrats, but none of the open GOP seats are in Democrat-friendly states. The only ones in states Obama carried — Florida, New Hampshire and Ohio — are fickle and more purple than blue. Additionally, the likelihood of young and minority voters turning out in large numbers for Democrats like they did last year is low. This makes Democratic hopes in each of these states problematic at best,” Mr. Cook said.
“And Democratic attempts to knock off the two GOP incumbents who might be vulnerable — Sens. David Vitter in Louisiana and Richard Burr in North Carolina — appear to be slim and diminishing. It’s not very likely that many Republican incumbents will lose re-election in the South these days. If Vitter behaves himself and Burr very visibly hits every county a couple times in the next year, Democrats have virtually no chance in either state.
“Basically, there is a real chance that Democrats won’t flip any GOP Senate seats. This is not — repeat, not — to say that Democrats can’t pick up any Republican seats, but their chances certainly aren’t what they used to be.
“At the same time, things look very tough for Democrats in three toss-up races: Neither Sen. Christopher Dodd in Connecticut nor Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada is polling well, and the GOP has a chance in the Illinois open seat contest. Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado and party-switcher Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania have to deal with formidable primary challenges before they can even get to what are likely to be tough general election campaigns.
“In California, it’s unclear how tough the re-election challenge will be for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. The biggest question there is whether Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is ready for prime-time politics.
“Finally, add to that list Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, who is looking more and more vulnerable, despite a lack of name-brand competition.
“That’s seven Democratic Senate seats in real danger, and that doesn’t include the Delaware open seat if GOP Rep. Michael Castle runs, or if Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in New York faces a top-drawer challenger.” as result of raging forest fires, but Congress doesn’t seem to know that. The Senate was all set [late last month] to award $2.8 million of stimulus money for forest fire management to . . . the District of Columbia,” the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore writes at www.opinionjournal.com.
“Hold on! Washington, D.C., doesn’t have any forests, let alone forest fires. So Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming brought an amendment to the Senate floor to wipe out the funds and reassign the money to the U.S. Forest Service to spend where fires actually are a risk. The amendment passed unanimously so if any senators favored the original funding plan, they apparently didn’t feel like speaking up,” Mr. Moore said.
“In an interview, Mr. Barrasso said he was ‘amazed’ when he saw where the funding was going. ‘The last time Washington, D.C., faced a catastrophic fire,’ he quips, ‘is when the British burned down the White House in 1814.’
“Mr. Barrasso’s aggravation is understandable. Wyoming, with its huge acreage of national forest land, was allotted zero
Hot under the collar: Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, raised issue with $2.8 million of stimulus money awarded to Washington, D.C., to fight forest fires.