Also, before the '80s you could just as easily have said that the Senate doesn't flip unless the House does.
I have no dea if the Democrats can take the House and I don't want to get my hopes up, but I don't think it means much to talk about flips of the House without talking about how many individual seats can flip. And flips of 15 seats or more have historically been very common, though they haven't been common since 1994. It's just that the Democratic majorities used to be big enough that a swing of 15 seats either way wouldn't change control; now the distance between the majority party and the minority party is thinner than it was in the '30s or the '60s or the '70s, though it's also become harder to swing a lot of seats at once.
The Rove "touch" in midterms is mostly felt in close Senate races, like New Hampshire and Minnesota in 2002. This year I would definitely keep an eye on Minnesota: not only is it a close race that Republicans are desperate to take, but Minnesota is the capital of hackish right-wing blogging (the Powerline dolts all hail from there), and we will see a repeat of the paid-operatives-posing-as-bloggers from the South Dakota race in 2004.
Ohio will have almost as much dirty trickery, for various reasons that are obvious.
The House races, I'm not sure about. DeLay pretty much seemed to handle the dirty tricks there. (It may be significant that the Republicans didn't pull off any unexpected gains in House races in 2004: their only gains came as a result of DeLay's 2003 redistricting in Texas.) The close Senate races are the ones to keep an eye on, particularly in states like Minnesota and Ohio and Missouri that Rove saw as key to his dream of a permanent Republican majority.
There's an important point here that goes to your "base mobilization" theory. In 2002, the Republican base was energized by the promise of a big fat juicy war, while the Democratic base was demoralized because the Democrats (as led by war supporters Gephart and Daschle) weren't going to stand in the way of that big fat juicy war.
The "no military options" line will get Reid and co. an incredible amount of flak from the right and from "centrist" journalists, but the progressives will turn out to vote if they have reason to believe that more Democrats in Congress = less chance of another big fat juicy war. Let's hope Reid sticks to this.
DeLay was an effective leader, albeit too liberal in recent years. It's possible, of course, that he did something wrong along the way. But there is no evidence of that in the public domain... As far as we can tell at the moment, DeLay appears to be yet another victim of the Democrats' politics of personal destruction--the only politics they know.
Powerline is truly the gold standard of wingnuttery.
I don't know about Rothenberg's politics, and I do think he repeats conventional wisdom -- but I do think there's a grain of truth in there, in this sense: a lot of people really do associate strength on national security with eagerness to start wars, and on that basis, Democrats are always going to be at a disadvantage.
They can try (as they are doing) to point out that "real security" has to do with knowing when not to go to war, and that Bush endangered national security through his recklessness, but there's always going to be a segment of the population that thinks "national security" is a code word for "bomb the brown people and hate the U.N." It's a strange combination of internationalism (spread freedom everywhere) and isolationism (screw the U.N., screw the French) that simply has no place in the Democratic party.
Remember, when the Democrats did get the lead on the national security issue in the '60s, they got it by doing stuff that was frankly awful: lying about a "missle gap" to scare people into thinking the Russians were about to blow us to smithereens (Kennedy) or getting us into an unnecessary and unwinnable war (Johnson). If the only way to get the lead on national security is to go back to doing that, then I'd rather have the Democrats stay reasonably sane.
It seems to me that Scalia has gotten angrier as time has gone on. He's one of those conservatives who, the more his side wins, the angrier he gets.
One thing that really infuriated me about that speech was that, in defending the decision to take Bush v. Gore, he said that the Florida Supreme Court's decision was "politically motivated." That's the kind of statement that the wingnuts were making during the Schiavo case, the kind of thing O'Connor warned about: attacking the courts and making people think that they are just liberal political bodies that can't judge cases fairly. A Supreme Court Justice attacking the judiciary is stomach-turning.
However, he does have a son serving, and he did seem worried rather than happy that "this war may never end." That puts him two up on the garden-variety wingnut. Still it's sad to see a good legal mind reduced to the level of a Regnery contributor.
I don't like the term "Fisking" very much. It derives from a time when any anti-war writer was being pummelled up and down the blogosphere, and Fisk somehow became the # 1 target of the warbloggers like Andrew Sullivan, who (IIRC) coined the term "Fisking" to describe his not-very-persuasive rebuttals of Fisk.
I guess the term has entered the lexicon and perhaps there's no choice but to use it, but it's kind of unfair to Robert Fisk, who may make mistakes but is certainly right more often than those who "Fisked" him.
Wow. "Vote for George Allen so he can continue being bored and doing nothing for two more years." Granted, that's the unofficial campaign slogan of many incumbents, but most of them don't outright say it in the newspaper.
The "Box Turtle" comment is based on a speech Domenech wrote for John "Can't Wait to Get Rid of Him in 2008" Cornyn. The speech contained line comparing gay marriage to marrying a box turtle. Cornyn didn't actually use the line when he delivered the speech, but it was in the printed text.
And Atrios or somebody discovered that Domenech, yes, you guessed it, stole that line from a commenter on his own blog.
The thing is, though, that this was a phony intimately connected to the current right wing. He was hired by Bush and John Cornyn; he edited the books of Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt; he co-founded Redstate. He is a representative of the current state of mainstream right-wing opinion writing. The point is that real journalistic outlets should have absolutely nothing to do with these people. They are not journalists; they hate journalism and would do anything to bring down the very idea of good journalism. What they want is propaganda, and Domenech was a rising star in the propaganda machine.
Does that mean that a conservative writer has no place at the Post? Of course not. They've already got plenty of conservatives anyway (as opposed to Regnery-style propagandists). But if you appease the Domenech types, you are appeasing enemies of journalism; people who literally want to destroy real journalism. Forget it.
It occurs to me that we may be starting to see demoralization on both sides -- the right is demoralized because every indicator is that they're headed for an ass-whooping, but the left is demoralized because the experiences of 2002 and 2004 have sapped their confidence that they can capitalize on opportunity. (When/if Bush's ratings creep back up to the 40s, look for panic on our side.) Hence the lowered expectations of Kos and other bloggers who had high expectations dashed in 2002-4.
I think it's very important that Democrats should exude confidence that they're going to win and that the Republicans will lose, because the party that appears more confident does tend to have an advantage. Karl Rove knows that, which is why he always predicted massive landslides for Bush even when he was neck-and-neck with his opponents. Party leaders need to talk confidently about November and dismiss talk of 2002 with the simple point that Congress (and Bush) were much more popular then.
I would still think that a drop-off among liberals and independents means that liberals/independents have noticed his recent Bush-suckupitude. And of course, without liberals/independents, McCain would never be able to win in 2008 (because even if he manages to get Bush's base on his side, he'll never inspire the kind of fanatical adulation that they gave to Bush).
I think today's anti-war movement is very pro-military (again, all the anti-military sentiment is coming from the right these days). But it wasn't that clear-cut in the '70s. And rightly or wrongly, a lot of military people felt that with the anti-war movement, followed by the problems of adjusting after Vietnam, followed by Carter's grant of amnesty to draft dodgers, added up to a society that didn't respect them or their service. Maybe they were wrong or overreacting, but I can certainly see why Reagan appealed to them.
Now, with Bush II, there's no excuse; the guy got his Presidential nomination by letting his people smear a veteran, and he's been wrecking the military ever since. But Webb knows that.
One thing to remember about Reagan is that his very pro-military attitude meant a lot to many military men after the '70s. There was a lot more anti-military sentiment in the '70s than we're used to now (even though the stories about protestors spitting on veterans aren't true), and Reagan did do his part to counteract that. I can see why Webb would admire him.
Now, of course, as Webb himself has pointed out, most of the anti-military sentiment is coming from the right -- see the treatment of veterans like McCain, Kerry and Murtha by Bush supporters -- and so a guy who cares about the treatment of the military would naturally want to go to the Democrats.