"This is very bad for the party," a retiring GOP Senator told Politico. "The timing on this couldn’t be worse." According to Politico's piece, "Now, there’s an arrest warrant out for the 84-year-old senator. He’s been stripped of his top committee rankings. His iconic career is crumbling. His hopes for reelection are in serious doubt.
"And Senate Republicans have no idea what to do about it. "
Of course, the "what to do about it" question isn't so much about pulling Stevens' fat out of the fire, it's about their own political careers. Republicans, never ones to embrace the "we're all in this together" mindset, have adopted as their motto "every man for himself!"
The indictment pretty much pounds the final nail in the coffin containing Stevens' reelection prospects. He was nine points down in polling against rival Mark Begich, Mayor of Anchorage, before the indictment. To give you an idea of how far Ted has fallen in public opinion, Stevens was reelected six years ago with a nearly unheard of 78%.
The series of tubes has been abuzz with the news of Stevens' fall. Republican chances in November, which had previously seemed as if they couldn't possibly be worse, had just gotten worse. Carpetbagger Report's Steve Benen sent an internet reading, "As for the big picture, I think it’s fair to say the Republicans’ Culture of Corruption hasn’t been front-page news for a while, but it hasn’t gone away, either."
Which is the real problem this year, helping to explain why Barack Obama's message of change has been a winner. Scandals and outrages and crimes follow Republicans everywhere they go.
And it's costing them. In another piece, Politico finds that nine Republican Senate seats are extremely competitive -- including Stevens'. They are Virginia, New Mexico, Alaska, New Hampshire, Colorado, Oregon, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Maine. Many of these states are also expected to go for Obama, which -- because of a coattail effect -- makes it that much more of an uphill battle for the GOP.
To give you an idea of just how desperate the GOP is this year, I give you this story from Virginia:
[Chairman of the Republican Party Jeff] Frederick is calling on Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) to launch an investigation. Frederick is also urging residents to avoid giving their names or social security numbers to canvassers seeking to register voters.
"Identity theft is widespread problem in Virginia," Frederick said. "Today, I am encouraging voters who have filed out any of these voter registration forms to immediately contact their registrars, and Virginians should exercise caution when approached by a stranger who asks them for their information."
Frederick's warning comes as Obama is deploying volunteers across Virginia to try to register 151,000 new voters by the Oct 6 deadline. Various non-profit organizations are also trying to register new voters, especially African-Americans.
That's right, the Armies of the Unholy Obama are massed on the Virginia border and the best the Republican party can come up with to forestall imminent doom is to discourage people from registering to vote. The problem, ID theft isn't a widespread problem in Virginia. Called on his claim, Chairman Frederick refused to answer.
This shows a party out of ammo. There are no arguments left for Republican ideology. And, where there are no arguments, there are only defenses. These defenses can be rhetorical or they can just be dirty tricks. TIME's Karen Tumulty called Frederick's move the "Sleazy Campaign Tactic of the Day." People without ethics or morals are guaranteed to cheat. The unscrupulous and the shameless have only their lack of scruples and shame for strengths -- witness Karl Rove. Their arguments are disproved, their claims of moral superiority have been shown to be lies, and the shallowness of their patriotism (an issue they claim to own) is revealed in their deep, deep contempt for democratic principles.
So, if you can't win the debate, you don't have one. If at all possible, shut it down. Which, of course, is part of the Republican problem this year; people don't actually like that approach -- only 27% of voters identify themselves as Republican this year. Senate Republicans, who've used the filibuster more than any Senate session in history, hope they can filibuster the elections.
With Ted Stevens reminding voters of rampant Republican corruption, it's pretty much the only chance they have.
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