Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Constant Vigilance!

First, the hopeful news via Foreign Policy's Passport:
Respected political analyst Charlie Cook now predicts that, barring some unforeseen cataclysmic event, the election three weeks from now will be:
"one of those once- or twice-in-a-generation elections."

Cook says that Republican Senators Mike DeWine (Ohio), Conrad Burns (Montana), and Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania) should all start packing their bags. And he has his doubts about Jim Talent in Missouri, George Allen in Virginia, and John Kyl in Arizona.

But we can't take anything for granted, as noted by the National Journal's Hotline blog (hat tip to Kos):
If you're ever read a profile of Ken Mehlman, you know he is obsessed with metrics. For him, one of the most important sources of data is a weekly e-mail his political team prepares called the "Weekly Grassroots Report." It meticulously records the work of tens of thousands of volunteers in targeted states, counties and congressional districts across the country. The data summary allows the RNC to determine which states are meeting goals and which states are falling behind.

The RNC declined to share the most recent report, which was issued Monday. But two independent sources who saw last week's report professed to be surprised: not only was their no drop off last week, 12 states broke new voter contact records.

In a month, the party completed more than a million phone calls and door contacts conbined. Bigger states are putting up big numbers -- even Ohio, which lagged behind its targets all summer, has caught up. The RNC is particularly pleased with their progress in New Jersey, where they've rapidly set up a more aggressive version of their 72 Hour Program in light of the state's more competitive Senate race.

These are the numbers that motivate Karl Rove's optimism. The spreadsheets show that Republican volunteers are working hard. There are plenty of volunteers and they seem plenty willing to knock on doors and make telephone calls. That's why it makes sense for Rove, for White House pol. dir Sara Taylor, and for Mehlman to exude uncanny optimism even while their brains pore over pessimistic polls. Right now, a strong volunteer corps on election day working to turn out voters is the only hope they've got. If the volunteers detect a shred of defeatist cross-talk or come across a newspaper article suggesting that Rove is panicked, then they'll start to panic, too.

Don't get caught up in the rosy news that's been coming out about the Dems. Keep working it with friends and family, devote time when you can, and contribute even a little to important races in your area (or nationally -- I'm going to give up a bit to Patty Wetterling of Minnesota to help her in her race against Michele Bachmann).


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