And they’re off! Before many of us were ready, election season ‘06 has officially kicked off, and it begins … with a Republican victory. In the fight to fill the Southern California Congressional seat left vacant by Rep. “Duke” Cunningham’s trip to jail, Republican Brian Bilbray beat Democrat Francine Busby, 50 percent to 45 percent.
Steve Benen, guest blogging over at Washington Monthly, tried to find a silver lining for Democrats. “Obviously, Democrats had hoped to pull an upset yesterday by winning in a solidly-Republican district,” he writes. “They fell a little short in the end. But for Republicans this morning, it’s hard to spin the results as an encouraging sign of things to come.
“It’s very much reminiscent of Jean Schmidt narrowly defeating Paul Hackett is Ohio’s 2nd last year — a race that the GOP was supposed to win easily went down to the wire, and ended up costing Republicans a fortune. Put it this way: if the GOP has to work this hard just to keep ordinarily-safe Republican districts in November, they better raise more money than they’ve ever raised before.”
In the Red corner, Captain’s Quarters sees the Republican victory differently, but uses the same Ohio race to illustrate his point: “Did this signal a weakness in the overall Republican position for the midterms? The Democrats will claim it does, but it appears more analogous to the race lost by Paul Hackett in a similar special election in Ohio. Hackett didn’t do quite as well as Busby but made it interesting in what normally is a solid GOP district. One has to remember that the Democrats could afford to focus national resources in this one-off situation that would not be possible in November, when they have to contest 434 more House seats (plus 33 in the Senate).”
Those centrist Democrats over at the New Republic split the difference, with Michael Crowley writing “I suppose Democrats can be satisfied that they forced the GOP to sweat buckets and spend nearly $5 million to defend a theoretically safe House seat near San Diego. But the fact that Democrat Francine Busby drew just 45.4 percent in yesterday’s ballyhooed special election to replace the felonious Duke Cunningham, just two points better than what John Kerry pulled locally in pre-Duke, pre-Abramoff, pre-Bush-at-30-percent 2004, is surely a troubling sign for the party’s November prospects.”
Turning to international news, the offer of some concessions to Iran by the United States and its allies has obviously stirred strong passions. Bull Moose Blog writes (in the third person) that he was “warned by his conservative friends that if he voted for Kerry we would capitulate to our enemies. If the reports on the latest Iranian deal are to believed, the right-wing buddies of the Moose were right. The Moose voted for Kerry and we have just offered the store to the mullahs.”
The Left Coaster doesn’t seem too happy about the proposal either, writing, “The White House may have assumed that the Iranians would summarily reject the incentives offered by the European Union today for Iran to stop enrichment. Doing so would allow Shooter and Bolton to say, ‘We told you so’ and press ahead with plans for a military strike. Instead, the Iranians did what a good negotiator would do in this situation, and offered a positive reaction to the carrots offered by the Bush Administration, incentives which reportedly include light-water reactors, Airbus aircraft, access to American aircraft parts, as well as WTO membership and the use of American agricultural technology. Yeah, it appears we threw in the kitchen sink.”
And that’s from the liberals! What does the right have to say about the proposed deal? Neal Boortz isn’t too happy about the whole thing, either. “Sadly, the Bush Administration has apparently decided to cave in to Iran on the nuclear weapons issue. Now … we have decided to make the following deal: we will supply Iran with some nuclear technology, but only if they stop enriching uranium.
“What’s next? Millions of dollars to make them stop?”