Media focus, unfortunately concentrates too heavily on the presidential election. What happens to candidates running for the U.S. congress is also very important to the future health of our country. This is already turning out to be a watershed election.
"Early voting reaching record numbers, election officials say," is the current CNN headline indicating what could be driving Barack Obama's lead in the presidential polls. In Texas, on day 7 of early voting, it is up 65%. To quote CNN:
State election officials said Monday that early voting already has reached record levels as the presidential campaign enters its final week.
As of Monday, 30 states either are allowing voters to vote in person early or are accepting absentee ballots, and election officials are reporting record turnouts. Voting problems, ranging from computer glitches to long lines, have been reported in a few states.
Good summary story of Republicans in trouble -- at Politico.com, "10 moments that rattled race for Congress," involving these unlucky folks among others: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Bill Sali, Tom Feeney, Rep. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Mike Erickson of Oregon, Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY), Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), John Murtha (D-Pa.), and Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who remains a candidate for re-election.
As for Republican congressional leaders, there is an earlier Politico.com story that "sort of sorts out" the House's very tangled leadership situation: "Could Blunt be Boehner's lifeline?" At the same time Democratic House of Representatives leaders are getting prepared to offer an economic stimulus package upon their return to Washington. Robert Reich weighed in on the issue yesterday, recommending instead that the new Congress extend unemployment benefits in January.
And there is this last rather sad story regarding Democratic party leadership, also from Politico.com. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may move to replace aging and infirm Senator Robert Byrd as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. This very interesting story also discusses other changes among Senate chairmen that could happen, including future changes in the assignments of Senators Lieberman, Dodd , Inouye, Kennedy, Jack Reed and Kerry.
There is every possibility of "one-party rule" in Washington. That is bad news for Congressional Republicans, and potentially good news for Democrats. If voters bestow that gift upon them, we can only hope for a few statesmen and stateswomen to hepl guide the process. They will have two years to fix an awful lot of damage, not much time for the large amount of repair to be completed. But we cannot get ahead of ourselves. November 4 must see the victory first.
View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.