That's going to be the interesting question to watch this campaign year, and no one really knowsnot yet, at least. To wit: Do the national polls, which show a distrust for Republicans, an interest in changing control of the Congress, and a widespread dislike for the war in Iraq, mean that the Republicans are cooked? As Tip O'Neill used to day, "all politics is local." Except when it's not.
The question is whether voters are angry enough this time around to nationalize this electionand boot the Republicans into the minority. I spent the day yesterday in a Republican district in rural Virginiaand those voters seemed totally unfazed by the Foley scandallargely because they have such a low opinion of Congress in the first place. On the other hand, in certain areaslike Florida (Rep. Clay Shaw's GOP seat is in danger and he's in the district next door to Foley) and Buffalo (Rep. Tom Reynolds runs the GOP campaign committee and knew about the first Foley E-mails)there is definite trouble. But getting from there to "throw the bums out" is another matter entirely.
It certainly could happen. Voters who may already be upset about the war might just be more willing to blame the Republicans for this whole mess. On the other hand, 60 percent of voters say they like their own members of Congress, so go figure out what they're going to do.
I know I can't.