Just got back from an event in Washington D.C. sponsored by BASF The Chemical Company. A nice affair that featured Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of "The Cook Political Report" as a dinner speaker. Charlie's as quick as a whip and he gets a devilish delight in reporting on the whispers in the corridors and the backroom plotting in our nation's capital. With his cherubic animated face and his middle-age spread putting a decided southern dip in his beltline, he's a sight to behold when he gets on a roll, pulling out papers left and right and referring to this poll and that survey and whatever else he can pluck out of the swirling, ever-changing D.C. scene.
But enough of this, here's what he had to say about the mid-term congressional elections that approach:
The "Macro View" is that the Democrats could pull a "'94 Gingrich" loooking atthe President's pathetic popularity rating and the public's general dissatisfaction with a lot of things, from the Iraq war to the price of gasoline.
The "Micro View" is that to gain a majority in either the Senate of the House, the Democrats are going to have to "run the table" on the five or six vulnerable Republicans up for re-election and the several dozen Republican House members that want to keep getting their great government perks.
In other words, as Charlie says, "I have no idea."
Now for Hillary. Yes, she's the most recognizable Democrat on the national statge right now and the only other Democrats mentioned as serious candidates are Kerry and Gore. "Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt," says Charlie
But it's a long way until 2008.
As for the Republicans, John McCain looks like the frontrunner but by 2009 he will be 72 years old. Condi Rice, somebody asked? Nope, says Charlie, she says she will NOT run. In any event, it will be a hard row to hoe for any RRepublican candidate in light of President Bush's falling approval ratings and the fact that it's mightly tough for the same party to win a presidential election after holding the presidency for two terms. Only been done once in the 50-plus years since WWII, says Charlie.