Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Senate Looking Bleaker for Dems

Republicans mount racist attacks on Harold Ford

There's no good news for Democrats this week about Senate races. The Montana race, which looked like an easy pick-off for Democrats just a few weeks ago, has tightened, and Tester barely holds the lead, according to Rasmussen.

The states where Democrats are virtually assured of winning seats from Republicans are Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Wins in those three states would give the Dems 48 Senate seats, assuming they hold on to New Jersey. To take control, they would have to win three of the following four races: Missouri, Montana, Tennessee and Virginia.

Of those, we're guessing Democrats will only win Montana. The Republican incumbents in Missouri and Virginia have weathered the campaign well, with Missouri's Senator Jim Talent displaying a remarkable prowess for public debate. His challenger, Claire McCaskill, is a second-rate candidate and political hack who, let's face it, just doesn't belong in the Senate. In Virginia, Democrats have fielded a Republican Lite candidate, Jim Webb, who hasn't demonstrated much political agility in the field and won't do much to change the direction of the country. Both McCaskill and Webb are weak Democratic candidates whose voices won't be missed in the national discourse.

On the other hand, Democrat Harold Ford of Tennessee is superior in all respects to his opponent and deserves to win his election. Whether we want to talk it about it as a nation or not, the outcome of this election will depend on Ford's race. The negative ads ("Fancy Ford" is a good example) are obliquely racist, and Republicans obviously understand all too well that success in Tennessee will hinge on turning out their trailer park base.

(This graphic is taken from a National Republican Senate Committee web site. The message? Black men shouldn't dine well.)

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