I never miss the Sunday Los Angeles Times’ opinion section because Jonathan Chait, a pleasant but nearly always risible fellow, has been given a Sunday column by the desperate editors of America’s most rapidly declining paper. (Will it dip below 800,000 daily circulation when next the numbers are revealed?) Chait rarely disappoints, and this morning is no exception. Read the whole laugh-out-loud and amazingly labored comparison between the elections of 2006 and World War 1, but clip and save this paragraph:
Two of these races seem to hold the most interest because they may be testing grounds for new tactics by the Democrats. One is Pennsylvania, where Democrats have nominated Bob Casey Jr., despite the fact that he is an opponent of abortion rights. The other is Montana, where the Democratic nominee is Jon Tester, a beefy, populist farmer with a buzz cut. In both races, the Democrats’ goal is to find a way to win back working-class voters who may be attracted to the party’s economic platform but abhor the Democratic cultural agenda. Casey hopes to accomplish this by neutralizing the abortion issue. Tester’s approach is less issue-based and more personality-based. These races may be the equivalent of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, where the British first introduced the tank into combat. In both cases, the significance of the battle lies less in the immediate outcome than in what it portends for the future use of a potent new tactic.
The Times mirrors the Washington Post and both embrace the MSM-theme-of-late in pushing the “Democratic wave” theory for the fall, though with buried qualifiers. Both the Times’ Janet Hook and the Post’s Dan Balz and David Broder skip the hard business o actually providing a list of the net 15 seats the House Republican majority must lose in order to forfeit the House –alongside the latest polling and cash-on-hand numbers that serious reporting would assemble– much less the six on the GOP side. Such matter-of-fact data comparison throws a lot of water on the Democratic rhetoric and thus can’t be expected to show up in any of the MSM reports designed to give a little lift to lefty sails.
But if you are interested in actual reporting, read the analysis from Stuart Rothenberg and from Michael Barone. If you trust lefty cheerleaders in the agenda journalism business reporting on the Beltway echo chamber’s latest predictions of Bush doom you’ll miss half the fun of Campaign 2006.