I think the GOP is overestimating its winning totals.
The total vote for a GOP house bill would be
GOP + Blue Dog Traitors = Total votes
Since I think about 24 blue dogs lost, the net effect is
GOP House Gains - Blue dog house losses = Total votes
61 - 29 = 32
So the net total of those probably guaranteed to vote for a republican bill (blue dogs always have an excuse for why they vote with republicans) is closer to 32 than the 61 currently being spun in the media.
Some insight into this whole issue may be provided by reading an article in the latest edition of Campaign and Elections magazine article "The Trouble with Targeting". Before deciding to target or not target, it is important to determine if this is going to be a normal election, or a rising tide election. All signs are that this is going to be a rising tide election. Under these conditions, it might be foolhardy to use a targeting strategy according to the article.
This then leads one to wonder how some of our Democratic organization leaders are positioned on this. Right now, at least for the 2006 election, it looks like Howard Dean & the DNC has the right approach with a 50 state strategy, while the DLC, and the DCCC to a lesser extend, may be on the wrong path, as they still seem to going down the road of trying identify and target individual key races, which may be losing strategy for this election.
So I'd say Charlie Cook is probably right if the Democrats use their typical approach of trying to target races; ie it may not work. On the other hand, if the Dems widely fund their candidates (regardless of their perceived chances), as Dean may do, and its a rising tide election, then the Dems should be successful (ie then Cook may be wrong). I'd read the C&E article to get a better understanding of the dynamics of targeting.
Where this may become an issue is that the DCCC seems to be looking in many cases for rich candidates who can self fund their campaigns rather than funding candiates supported by the locals. As noted in the article, sometimes more money doesn't significanly increase ones chances of winning, and may introduce some counterproductive dynamics on a national level.
Voter registration is essential. But maybe even more important is to get already registered voters signed up to use absentee ballots, as just being registered doesn't necessarily mean that you'll vote.
I noticed in the Steve Young election that the winning margin was essentially set by the absentee ballots, while the precinct votes were essentially a wash. The final vote delta was essentially the same as the initial absentee ballot delta.
I've been trying to keep an open mind on the DNC and DCCC, but I keep seeing more signs that make me want to agree with Michael.
The DCCC is now enamored with veterans, but where were they when Paul Hackett needed help?
Was Dave Ross who lost Wa-08 picked by the DCCC? Although he had name recognition, most of the active grassroots and local at that time were supporting other candidates.
Let me give you a real time example. Whats a big, near-term election vote for a US Congressman? Well that would be Steve Young (D) CA-48. So I surfed to the DCCC website - There is no visible mention of the Steve Young Election Bid on Dec 6th, and if you select the DCCC's "Featured Fights", there's no mention of Steve Young. This to me seems pretty clubby. Doesn't the DCCC owe more to its donors?
What really makes me mad is seeing the DCCC throwing support into a CD where there is a Democrat already running. I have a problem with this as it seems the DCCC should try to get candidates in all CDs before adding candidates when there already is one.
I don't like to generalize. As I liberal, I don't go out of my way to check the right wings blogs. But since I have a newer blog, I am using blog explosion to try to get more exposure for my Blog, CoolAqua. Anyway, in my travels on blog explosion, I come across many left and right wing blogs. One thing I'm starting to note however is there seems to be a content differential between liberal and right wing blogs. Many right wing blog posts and comments seem to be mainly hate filled rhetoric with little if any content, whereas it appears to me that liberal blogs tend to have a little more content, and connection to reality.
At best, the most common posts on right wing blogs seem to be some form of repeating talking points. This is somewhat of dangerous approach for right wingers, as many of the common talking points, or views or right wing pundits, just aren't truthful. Whats the point of repeating something that fox or O'Reilly said if it isn't even true? I think blog readers are becoming more critical in what they read, and are looking for some real content, not just rants.
An example I saw today was a right wing blogger who lamented that Colorado was raising university tuition for residents by a higher percentage than for out of state students. This peice of information seems like a good basis for a post. But this "factoid" was used only as a place holder so the blogger could go on a one page rant about liberal professors up on their soap boxes, etc. But there was no factual information provided at all about these liberal professors were, what they said, or why it was a problem. Instead there was just endless ranting and raving. While this quality of content may be of interest to adolescent youths, it has little if any value from an information content standpoint. This same type phenomenon (name calling, abusive rhetoric, and little facts) effectively killed off intelligent conservation on many Yahoo message boards.
Thanks for the critical look at the exact wording of Kennedys speech. Although I'm still a novice when it comes to framing, its clear we need to take a critical look at exactly what wording is being used by Democrats to put forth the message. I pretty much agree with your accessement that Kennedy is repeating their frame. It looks like the DNC and democratic leaders need a speech coach to avoid this type problem in the future.
This type speech was probably perfectly acceptable in the past, but today, I think we know better. We can't afford to be sloppy like this any more.