The chattering class has been all agog over so-called generic polls showing Democrats will give GOP members of Congress a royal beating in the November elections – and this was before the so-called revelations about Mark Foley’s shenanigans, which sent them into a state of sheer ecstasy.
As heartening as this may be to the Liberals and their media lackeys, neither of these apparently GOP-unfriendly harmful revelations are going to be the main determinants on November 7.
What really matters in most of the 435 House races is the enormous advantage House members have in the simple fact that they are incumbents. And they are all beneficiaries of what I call the incumbent protection act.
According to a study, “Redistricting and Incumbent Protection in 2001-2002,” by the Voting and Democracy Research Center, elections to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 were dramatically less competitive than elections after the last round of redistricting in 1991-1992:
“In 2002 fewer than one in ten races were won by less than 10% and fewer than one five races were won by less than 20% — less than half of the number of races won by those margins in 1992. Only four incumbents were defeated by non-incumbent challengers, the fewest number in history, and the average victory margin was nearly 40%. Our 2003 Dubious Democracy report has additional data quantifying this alarming state of affairs.”
Their conclusion: “This lack of competition in a post-redistricting election makes it quite possible that House elections toward the end of the decade will be less competitive than any in history.”
Democrats and Republican incumbents have schemed together to create districts for themselves that all but guarantee the members can hang around Capitol Hill for as long as they want. And the voters back home will oblige them.
The old adage that “all politics is local” holds true for members of Congress. In other words, local politics plays a major role in a congressional election. Only rarely do national issues overshadow local issues. That’s another shield that protects incumbents from the national winds of change.
As far as what they are now calling “Foleygate” damaging the re-election chances of individual Republican members of Congress, the fact is that the effect will be negligible to zero. Moreover, the Democrats, by jumping feet-first into the scandal may suddenly discover that they will be the ones who get hurt.
Take Nancy Pelosi as an example. She brazenly accuses the House GOP leadership of failing to protect “the children,” implying that they willingly exposed pages to being sexually molested by Mark Foley.
What hypocrisy! This is the same Nancy Pelosi who wants Boy Scouts to be exposed to homosexual scoutmasters. Does she really think the voters are going to let her and her party get away with this outrage?
Moreover, there are investigations now in progress by the FBI and the House Ethics Committee that are going to turn over the rocks and uncover the complicity of at least some top Democrats – and a whole slew of sleazy operatives working on their behalf – in what was a conspiracy that kept the sordid charges against Foley undercover until they could be used as a last-minute assault on the House GOP.
The real cover-up was theirs.
Finally, if Rush Limbaugh is right – and I think he is – the reaction to this sleazy Democrat plot by the Republican’s conservative base is not anger at Speaker Hastert and his colleagues but instead, at the Democrats, who will pay the price on November 7.
They’ve got it coming.
©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.