The Note: Charlie Brown Holds His Own Football

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16

President Bush and Karl Rove remain outwardly and inwardly optimistic about the Only Game in Town (keeping control of the House and Senate; see Abramowitz, Michael, "White House Upbeat About GOP Prospects," from Sunday's Washington Post LINK, which is a must-read).

New York Magazine's John Heilemann reflects the Democrats' simultaneous fear of failure and fear of success. LINK

But if you want to know why the Gang of 500 is near-unanimous on "Democrats take the House and maybe the Senate," read these words, written not by Sid Blumenthal, Bill Burton, or some punk liberal blogger -- but by conservative columnist Freddie "The Beadle" Barnes, who normally displays a Baronean Pollyannaishness about Republican prospects:

"Republicans and conservatives, brace yourselves! Strategists and consultants of both parties now believe the House is lost and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi will become speaker. At best, Republicans will cling to control of the Senate by a single seat, two at most. For many election cycles, Republicans have been the boys of October, using paid media and superior campaign skills to make up lost ground and win in November. This year, they were the boys of September, rallying strongly until that fateful day, September 29, when the Mark Foley scandal erupted. October has been a disaster so far. A strong finishing kick for Republicans, minimizing Democratic gains, is possible. They pulled one off brilliantly in President Bush's first midterm election in 2002. But recovery will be harder this time, a lot harder. . ." LINK

"The most overlooked election indicator is the level of voter enthusiasm. In every election from 1994 through 2004, Republicans were more enthusiastic than Democrats. That was a decade of Republican growth. This year Democrats are more excited. And it's measurable. In 2002, 42 percent of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about the election. Thirty-eight percent of Democrats said the same. In 2006, the numbers have flipped. Republican enthusiasm has dipped to 39 percent and Democratic enthusiasm has jumped to 48 percent. Enthusiasm affects turnout. Gloomy voters are less inclined to vote. . . "

"A veteran Republican consultant says lavish spending on TV commercials in races he's involved in has largely failed to either boost the poll numbers of his Republican candidates or drive down those of Democrats. Worse, in blue states, the Democratic crossover vote on which Republican candidates often rely has dried up. Democrats have gone home in droves."

Those are real passages from a real Fred Barnes column in the Weekly Standard (Note: not the "Weakly Standard"). (And/but Barone himself is trending downbeat. . . LINK)

Below is a fake memo, obtained by The Note when an intern accidentally e-mailed it to us, instead of to Steny Hoyer.

------------------------------------------------------------

To: Leader Pelosi (a/k/a The Lioness)

From: Begala, Garin, Greenberg, Hoganson, Kupper, Axelrod, Carville, and Ari

Date: 10/15/2006

Re: Winning the last three weeks

The race is about to enter the last critical twenty days. As a party, we have had serious challenges in the last few cycles with closing the deal with voters and putting what seemed like winnable elections away. This cycle should be different -- and it will be different.

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