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The Rothenberg Political Report: House Outlook for 2006

Right-wing political commentator Stuart Rothenberg changes his forecast for the House:

The Rothenberg Political Report: New Print Edition: House Outlook for 2006: Our latest race-by-race review of Congressional districts around the country convinces us that a Democratic wave is building and that the party is poised to take control of the House of Representatives in the fall. The only question now is the size of the November wave.

The national mood remains bleak for Republicans. President George W. Bush's job performance ratings are terrible, and the public still gives Congress low marks. A majority of Americans continue to tell pollsters that the country is headed in the wrong direction. That's a recipe for a GOP disaster, and there is no reason to believe that things will change dramatically between now and Election Day to improve Republican prospects. At the district level, voters are more critical of Republican incumbents -- and supportive of even unknown Democratic candidates -- than they usually are at this point in the election cycle....

To hold the House, Republicans must retain at least a handful of districts that now appear likely to go Democratic.... Therefore, we are raising our estimate of likely Democratic gains from 8-12 seats to 15-20 seats, which would translate to between 218 and 223 seats... in the next House...

The lesson that the Republicans drew from the 1994 election was that the Democrats in Congress had failed to support Clinton, made the country see his presidency as a failure, and so lost their Congressional majority. Their conclusion was that their own majority in the House would crumble either if a Democratic president was seen as a success or a Republican president was seen as a failure. Hence--they thought--they needed to do everything they could to undermine Bill Clinton (no matter what its effect on the country) and everything they could to support George Bush (no matter what its effect on the country).

They didn't count on the fact that George W. Bush was such an idiot that he would make his presidency a failure in spite of 110% Republican support, and that the public would perceive the reality of the situation.