The Note: Thumbs on Both Sides of the Scale

WASHINGTON, Mar. 27

From outside the bubble, Brad Freeman, Roland Betts, and Don Evans say, "Mr. President -- George -- Iraq and high gas prices are killing you and you could lose control of the House, Senate, or both." (They are right.)

"But," reply the President's political advisers, Tom Reynolds, and Elizabeth Dole: "While pretending that we think the election is about local issues and personalities, we will make 2006 about -- surprise!!! -- who do you trust on national security, taxes, and family values? In a choice contest like that, with our superior wealth, targeting, and interest group allies, we will protect a lot more incumbents than the polling would currently indicate." (They might be right, too.)

But, the Gang of 500 replies, what about (these must reads):

1. The zeitgeists-setting Time duo of Tumulty and Allen, who don't mince words: if the election were held today, the House would flip. LINK

2. The current violence in Iraq. LINK

3. Twin pairs -- in yesterday's Los Angeles Times (Reynolds and Neuman) and today's New York Times (Kirkpatrick and Nagourney) -- saying voters are turning against the war enough to maybe decide the election (with squishy GOP electeds galore). Pick your poison, Ken Mehlman: the "Seymour, Ind." dateline or the "tipping point" rhetoric. LINK and LINK

4. Sunday's Washington Post on Ohio as the Ohio of 2006 -- it is hard out there for a Red Buckeye. LINK

5. Sunday's Washington Post on the latest on DeLay, Inc., which has the feel of an October Surprise prelude and a winning kicker. LINK

"Pshaw," says the Reynolds/Hazelwood Team. How about:

1. Kingmaker/dealbreaker Robert Pear in Sunday's New York Times saying the prescription drug benefit could be a political benefit for Republicans, just like the White House said it would be. LINK

2. Truthfinder/idea-minder Ron Brownstein, in Sunday's Los Angeles Times, sending a none-too-subtle singnal to Mr. Hoyer: "Democratic leaders are drifting toward a midterm message that indicts Bush more on grounds of competence (on issues such as Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and prescription drugs) than ideology….Such language is a tip-off that Democrats want Americans to cast their ballots this November looking backward, at the missteps and setbacks that have depressed Bush's approval ratings to anemic levels."

"A focus on ideology, by contrast, inherently tilts the election forward: It asks voters to decide which side has a better plan to move ahead. Most Democratic leaders seem leery about that approach." LINK

So, Brad, Roland, and Don: This will be a "choice" election, not a "referendum" and here is the choice:

Do you want the party of Mike Thompson, Michael Moore, Barney Frank, and Howard Dean to protect you while they try to impeach our commander in chief when American troops are in harm's way? That's your choice.

Do you want gay marriage or access to guns and God? Do you want to see flags burned, babies cloned, and late-term abortions? That's your choice.

[The Washington Times' Fagan breaks the code with her look at the pressure being applied to GOP members by some social conservatives. LINK]

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