REPUBLICANS FACE ELECTION DEBACLE
Likely setback for conservatives on November 4 in the House and Senate elections
By Laszio Trankovits
[This article published in the Austrian Kurier 7/31.2008 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.kurier.at/nachrichten/186382.php.]
In the longest and most expensive election campaign of US history, ever-new facets of the presidential candidates appear. Commentators and comedy stars now pierce John McCain's "new whining quality," deride Obama's "silly Messiah behavior" like moderator John Stewart or his "arrogant presidential style" like the Washington Post. Surveys and analyses suggest the presidential election will be exciting up to November 4. Many voters will decide in the last days.
The Congressional elections occurring at the same time will be different. These elections seem already decided. The republicans face an historic disaster given the rotten mood in the country and new scandals. At the end of July 2008 the oldest serving Republican senator was caught. The powerful and feared 84-year old Ted Stevens from Alaska took money from the oil industry.
Steven's infamous for obscure budget requests for his state is a symbolic figure of the Republican rightwing. A "merciless fall" now threatens, the Washington Post reports. The oil firm VECO will renovate Steven's private home and sent him incredible furniture worth $250,000. "A new blow for the reputation and election prospects of republicans, the conservative Wall Street Journal lamented.
The reproaches come at a time when the image of the US Congress is at an all-time low. "At least we are better than the Republicans," House majority leader Nancy Pelosi said recently knowing only 13 percent of Americans describe the US Congress as "good work." The generally bad mood in the US where 80 percent of the people believe their country is on the wrong course damages the republicans. Firstly, they are the party of the unpopular president George W. Bush and especially responsible for the unpopular Iraq war, the damaged respect for the US in the world, the economic crisis and overflowing state indebtedness. Secondly, a chain of scandals - beginning with illegal election campaign financing to sex affairs in the capitol - shattered the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. The Republicans are now "paying the price" for all this, the Wall Street Journal admits.
WORSE THAN EVER
On November 4, the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 35 of 100 senators will be decided, not only the successor of President Bush. The Democrats now have a majority in both houses. The signs for a disastrous election defeat of the republicans cannot be ignored. In the spring they lost election constituencies they had as certain in the past in three by-elections in Louisiana, Illinois and Mississippi. At the beginning of July 2008 the former majority leader in the House of Representatives Tom DeLay described the mood as "worse than ever."
SENATE: 60 PERCENT POSSIBLE
Obama and McCain will move feverishly toward the end of the presidential campaign at the beginning of November. The winner will immediately see the results of the congressional election. If the Democrats succeed in gaining the magical number of 60 seats in the Senate, they will have great power in Washington. Then republicans will not be able to prevent votes through the "filibuster" of long speeches. Governing will be tremendously difficult for a president McCain. If Obama enters the White House, he could have enormous support for the promised "historical change."