Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, is planning to give a speech in Columbus, Ohio this morning in which he will use Mr. Lamont’s victory to portray Democrats as a party weak on national defense, and his affiliation with blogs to present the Democrats as captive to the extreme wing of the party, Republican aides said.I suspect that the American people are coming to see the "stay the course" silliness coming from the White House as increasingly weak. How else to explain that 60% of the public backs the redeployment plan that Lamont espouses? How else to explain that 57% of Americans want a timetable for withdrawal. Ms. TfK's thesis on the use of signaling in international crises shows that setting deadlines shows strength. I think the public recognizes that the administration's fear of deadlines in Iraq is a sign of their weakness, and our nation's weakness, in that fight.
Meanwhile, Rahm Emanuel, head of the Democratic House campaign, said of the Lamont win:
This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means. This is not about the war. It’s blind loyalty to Bush.Smart Republican incumbents should have started running away from Bush a long time ago. His approval rating is negative in most states and most districts, and it isn't getting better. Unfortunately, putting distance between the President and themselves can be hard for some House members.
It'll be interesting to see whether Jim Ryun's ties to the Delay-Abramoff money machine is more damaging to him than his close relationship with the unpopular George W. Bush.