Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election-night crutches

Here's an interesting piece in today's Wall Street Journal that may be helpful in trying to dope out what it all means a few minutes ahead of the professional pundits. It's an hour-by-hour guide to when polls close in various states from by old acquaintance John Fund -- I had dinner with him last time I was in NYC but that was about six years ago.

He has Indiana and Kentucky closing at 6:00 EST (my recent check says 7:00). If the Republicans are losing the 2nd (Chocola), 8th (Hostetler, probably already lost) and 9th (Sodrel) in Indiana it could be a long night for the GOP. If Republicans lose the 3rd (Northrup) and 4th (Davis) in Kentucky, start roling the term "Speaker Pelosi" around on your tongue.

The three seats in Connecticut where Republicans are vulnerable are also key. And check Florida 22. Virginia closes at 7:00 so that should give us a preliminary idea of how the Allen-Webb contest is going and (maybe) how the struggle to control the Senate will play out.

I talked to Ted Carpenter, Cato's foreign-affairs guy this morning, and we got onto the topic of the election. He lays no claim to being a U.S. election specialist, but he expects the Democrats to gain 35 House seats because of discontent over the Iraq war. I'm not quite so bold.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

You said that the Iraqis "should be capable of running things without Uncle Sam pretty darn soon." Do you think if democrats win more seats in congress troops will be withdrawn? I'm not 100% sure of how everything works, but it is my understanding that a new democratic majority in the house and senate would challenge funding to the war which would change things a lot... I guess I am asking what you think about all of this... Also, so far in Nevada, it looks like 58% voted against legalization of marijuana. so close, but not really. do you think it will ever happen?

Alan said...

I don't think the Democrats have a unified position on the war, and the fact that Lieberman, a pro-war candidate, won in Connecticut after losing the Democratic primary, complicates matters. Even so, the vote is widely interpreted as reflecting discontent with the war so some changes seem inevitable. Cutting off funding would be seen as a drastic step so I don't expect it, but the Baker (James) commission is expected to report in December, so that could offer a face-saving way to change direction and start reducing the commitment.
I'm afraid this will not lead to a reconsideration of overall U.S. strategy, which still emphasizes U.S. troops all over the world, whether we need them (or they are destabilizing) or not.

As to legalization of marijuana I remain optimistic in the long run (though in the 1970s I though it was inevitable within a few years) but it will be a hard slog.

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