Allen & Webb debate again
I missed the Allen-Webb debate that was broadcast live last night, but I caught nearly all of it on C-SPAN later on. Some parts got so nasty I had to change the channel. Allen held his own, except for an awkward moment when Webb played "Geography Gotcha," in a tacky retaliation for the way Allen embarrassed him for not knowing where Craney Island was in their first debate last summer. I think Webb was referring to the Sakishima Islands, east of Taiwan. It was not a compelling argument for a challenger to make, and once again Webb blew an opportunity to show he might have more senatorial gravitas than Allen. Born fighting, or born snarling? The incumbent unfortunately took Webb's bait more than once, when he should have shown more poise. It was not one of the finer moments in the annals of American political discourse. See Washington Post.
In the Weekly Standard, Matt Continetti dissects what went wrong in the Allen campaign, concluding that the candidate himself is flawed. Allen does have an interesting personal background, at least, and a sister with quite an axe to grind... (Via David Adesnik, who opines that that "cover story provides a fitting book end to Allen's career as a GOP golden boy and White House hopeful.")
Gloom and doom for Republicans?
If you go by the mainstream media, you must think that the Republicans' political fortunes are spiralling downward as the elections approach. Rush Limbaugh started off whining that all was lost yesterday, but that's just a ironic device he uses to make a point from time to time. You can't deny, however, that the war in Iraq is getting worse. It's almost as if the insurgent factions in Iraq know that America's political will is weakest during a campaign. Meanwhile, reporters keep harping on the stupid Mark Foley scandal, which was obviously planted by Democrat operatives for maximum electoral effect. (That doesn't excuse the misdeed, however, or the failure of Hastert to deal with it promptly.) On ABC's This Week on Sunday, Rahm Emmanuel coyly refused to say whether he knew about the Foley sex messages in advance, just saying he had never seen them, which was virtually admitting he did know. Typical. A story in the Washington Post warns evangelicals may defect from the GOP because of Foley and other things. Politics is cyclical in nature, and to me it wouldn't be surprising to see a large shift in the Democrats' favor, but not necessarily enough to win back one of the houses of Congress.