- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006

Uh-oh

“We’re only getting started.”

— Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean

GOP addendum

Today was supposed to be the publishing date of Washington political pollster (and now language guru) Frank Luntz’s tell-all book, “Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.”

So why no book?

Convinced that Republicans were heading toward a 2006 electoral disaster, Mr. Luntz asked publisher Hyperion to allow for a final Election Day chapter to allow him to dissect what went wrong for the party.

It should be pointed out that the pollster predicted catastrophe for the Republican leadership well over a year ago.

Observed Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard on Oct. 26, 2005,“If you’re a Republican and already worried about your party’s prospects in 2006, pollster Frank Luntz, a Republican himself, has a message for you: It’s worse than you think.”

Mr. Luntz spends more time these days advising Fortune 100 CEOs than he does members of Congress. Not surprising, figuring the Republican leaders didn’t like the pollster telling New York Magazine last November: “All the ingredients are there to reverse the Republican majority.”

And while Mr. Luntz’s book is presently on hold, a peek at the manuscript shows the pollster identifying specific communication blunders over the past two years that he says helped lead to the 2006 election beating.

New publication date: Jan. 3, 2007.

Winners and losers

Dozens of battle-weary volunteers who spent the past two weeks in Montana working on the unsuccessful campaign of Sen. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican, arrived back at Ronald ReaganWashington National Airport at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“All of the volunteers were crammed into tourist class,” one tells Inside the Beltway. “It didn’t go unnoticed that sitting in first class, drinking a complimentary glass of wine, was the man who had been all over the TV and the state in Montana campaigning against Conrad Burns — Democrat Sen. Max Baucus.”

Mr. Burns was defeated narrowly by Democrat Jon Tester, an organic farmer. In conceding defeat yesterday, Mr. Burns said, “Now, I hope there is still a good-sized buck out there, because I am going hunting.”

Conservative Democrats

Conservative Caucus Chairman Howard Phillips says that conservative voters this week either held their noses and voted for Republicans, stayed away from the polls or else supported Democrats more in line with their beliefs.

“Fortunately, in some instances, the Democrats put forward candidates who were more conservative than their Republican adversaries and a handful of these candidates were successful on Election Day,” Mr. Phillips points out.

Quote of the week

“The defense chief got hung out to dry before Saddam got hung.”

— New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, referring to President Bush’s acceptance this week of the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his No. 1 enemy, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein

Combating violence

It’s a stretch, but one group is suggesting that among the myriad reasons Republicans lost control of Congress is because of pro-gun candidacies and endorsements.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence notes that scores of Republican candidates who were endorsed by the National Rifle Association were defeated.

“When it mattered most, the NRA did not come through this year,” said Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Joshua Horwitz.

Perhaps now that the Republicans have relinquished power, the Democrats, surely supporters of the Second Amendment (and many of them avid hunters), can see to it that the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens of the District of Columbia are restored to the extent that they can own firearms for self-protection.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@ washingtontimes.com.


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