12/15/2005: Thought for the Day:
Scandal has its greatest effect when combined with the dangerous sixth-year election in a President's second term. By the middle of the second term, voters are usually tiring of a President's many controversies, and the stresses and strains of his inevitable unpopular decisions have built up to earthquake potential. Just look at some of the post-World War II examples. Truman's sixth year (1950) produced a Republican takeover of Congress with a toxic combination of corruption, Korea, and the alleged and real march of Communism at home and abroad. Democrats got their revenge in Eisenhower's sixth year (1958), when an ill-timed autumn scandal involving Ike's chief of staff, Sherman Adams, produced a Democratic landslide in both houses of Congress. As mentioned earlier, the Nixon-Ford sixth year (1974) was the granddaddy of scandal elections. The great exception to our rule was 1998, when Democrats gained six House seats and didn't lose a single Senate seat, even though Republicans had a real chance to add as many as five to their 55-seat majority. The GOP had only itself to blame, insisting on a sure-to-fail impeachment effort against President Clinton, thus rescuing Clinton from himself by turning a sleazy Chief Executive into a sympathetic, hounded figure. There's a lesson here for Democrats in 2006: Don't interfere too much with your opponents' ongoing suicide. Voters aren't overly impressed with your honesty and integrity either, so keep your preacher's robes in storage.
--Larry J. Sabato [Sabato's Crystal Ball]
Len on 12.15.05 @ 05:02 AM CST