The message the Bush administration wanted to send yesterday was that the Republican Party is not going to lose control of either the House or the Senate in next month’s elections. The President expressed this view with his confident, Alfred E. Neuman smile, and a similar message was being put out by his underlings and handlers. This, in spite of negative polls and a constant string of news items unfavorable to the administration and the Republican Party. Of course, the President may be right. American voters have embarrassed many a pollster over the years, but the Democrats seemingly have their best opportunity in years to regain national influence.
Putting on a happy face when the news is bad, of course, is a well-established political tradition. More distressing was another message coming from the Bush administration, namely that the White House is so confident that Republicans will retain control of Congress that no plans are being made to deal with a divided government. This is not a surprise, of course. The administration likewise had no plans to deal with Iraq when our soldiers were not greeted as liberators. Apparently, contingency planning just isn’t a Republican thing.