Getting past the CNN-spin

By Hugh Hewitt

I have spent the past five days on the road, radio broadcasting from the Twin Cities and from Denver in an effort to get past the CNN-spin (constant, very pro-Democrat, and very wrong) and through to the genuine mood of the voters. The election results are not in as I write this, but will be by the time you read it, so here are some impressions that will endure whether or not the GOP retains the House and regains the Senate.

The national Democratic Party scripted the disastrous memorial service/partisan rally, and the images from that event changed the political weather – and not just in Minnesota, but across the country.

Not only did Terry McAuliffe botch the aftermath of the Wellstone tragedy, his clumsy and ham-handed attempt to push Florida toward embarrassing the president by defeating his brother also backfired. McAuliffe may well be the worst chairman of a national party in modern political history.

The president’s popularity is enormous – far deeper than even the polls show. Those who support him actually deeply, deeply respect him. By holding the House, he accomplishes a political feat without parallel since FDR. No matter what the result in the Senate, he is an extraordinary and realigning force in American politics.

The future of the GOP is in Colorado’s Bill Owens, and the new governors who join him in the Republican Governor’s Association. Just as the new governors of the late Reagan era powered Republican renewal in the ’90s, this new class has style and intellectual energy.

Judges do matter. The left has been telling itself for two years that Patrick Leahy could run roughshod over constitutional process and Senate tradition and that no one would notice. In fact, Leahy’s arrogance and dishonest rhetoric fueled fundraising by the Republican base and guaranteed the House would remain under GOP control. I don’t know the results in the Senate as I write, but if it went GOP, we need to send flowers to Leahy. If the Democrats hung on to their narrow Jeffords-majority, the silver lining is that the Democrats are stuck with excitable Pat Leahy for the next two years – the single greatest engine of hard-dollar contributions to Republican coffers.

Finally, the new media has been an awesome check on spin. Hats off especially to the gents at Power Line who have revealed the polling operation of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to be an extension of the Democratic Farm Labor Party and an embarrassment to journalists. The editorialists at the paper are openly hard left and collectivist, just as I am openly center-right and an enthusiast for the GOP. But the pollsters are supposed to be technicians. Thanks to Power Line, we know that the “technicians” are either incompetent or frauds.

On to 2004. Did you see that Gary Hart is thinking about running for president?