Presidential IPod expert Elisabeth Bumiller tells us that Chimpy’s handlers are gambling that his Vanity War won’t be be an issue in the off-year elections. As for the Chimpster himself — he doesn’t care if he drags his party or the country down, he’s stayin’ the course.
At a time of increasing Democratic attacks on Mr. Bush’s handling of the war and a drop in public support for the conflict, Mr. Bush’s political advisers assert that they can still hold Congress next year. By their reasoning, there will be only 35 to 40 competitive seats in the House of Representatives, and at this point they see no evidence that the war will be the determining factor in those races. While there may be Democratic gains in the Senate, both parties doubt that the Republicans will lose control.
In any case, the advisers say, Mr. Bush is adamantly committed to holding tough in Iraq, even if it means disregarding the domestic political repercussions and pressure from his own party. The White House regularly asserts that Mr. Bush pays little heed to political considerations and no attention to opinion polls. [And you buy that, Eisabeth? Why introduce a “new” plan if he is not concerned about the polls on his war?]
Democrats did not dispute the White House estimate of the number of competitive House races next year, but they said it was far too early to dismiss Iraq as a major factor in the elections. And Amy Walter, the senior editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which closely tracks Congressional races, said that most House races had not even started, and that the antiwar political climate “could still overwhelm the structural advantages of Republicans.”