Karl Rove, President Bush's political lieutenant, told a closed-door meeting of 2008 Republican House candidates and their aides Tuesday that it was less the war in Iraq than corruption in Congress that caused their party's defeat in the 2006 elections.
Rove's clear advice to the candidates is to distance themselves from the culture of Washington.... In effect, Rove was rebutting the complaint inside the party that Bush is responsible for Republican miseries by invading Iraq.
I can believe that corruption played a specific role in a few races (TX-22, FL-16) and had a general depressing impact upon GOP leaning independents to either abstain or defect to the Democrats. However this corruption angle is ridiculous as it does nothing to explain the losses of Mellisa Hart (PA-4), Dick Swett (NH-1), Charlie Bass (NH-2), Simmons and Johnson in CT, the NY GOP implosion, or Heath Shuler's win in North Carolina.
Stu Rothenberg is listing his top seven Senate Races that could change party control in 2008, and the Republicans currently hold six of those seats. I'm fine with this analysis, and I hope that this analysis is the predominant strategic assumption that most Republicans make as the campaign plans for most of the truly flippable races are at least in the draft stage right now. I believe that following this analysis will see a net Democratic gain of four or five seats from those seven high visibility races.
However I believe the great issue of 2008 will be the great issue of 2002, 2004 and 2006: IRAQ.
And Iraq will continue to be a festering sore with potential gangrene eating away at the remaining healthy flesh of the American political discourse. 'Progress' is being made in a drop of US casualties from a one time increase due to more offensive ooperations, down to a lower but still higher trend line. Progress is being made by the Iraqi government wanting to get rid of Petraeus because of inter-sectarian security/death squad/insurgency concerns. Progress is being made by hollowing out the regular duty and National Guard component of the Army. Progress is being made by the Senate Republicans refusing to talk about Iraq. Really, the progress being made in Iraq is about as credible as Alberto Gonzale's word.
So I hope the Republicans run on their personal moral uprightness and fealty to Bush's 'plans' for Iraq as that should be a sure-fire losing strategy.