The loved, learned political prophet of doom himself, Charlie Cook, just e-mailed a response to a line I wrote about him last week:
Some of his colleagues quietly wonder if he is overcompensating for failing to see the Democratic wave early enough in 2006 and 2008. (I doubt that Cook is this insecure, so I discount this possibility.)
They're reacting to Cook's projection that Republicans are likely to take over the House in 2010. But was Cook really late to the game in previous cycles?
Here, reprinted with permission, is his response:
The catch is, we (read I) were, I believe, the first to pick up on the wave in 2006. From my August 5, 2006 National Journal column "The Gathering Storm":"Time is running out for Republicans. Unless something dramatic happens before Election Day, Democrats will take control of the House. And the chances that they'll seize the Senate are rising toward 50-50."
"The electoral hurricane bearing down on the GOP looks likely to be a Category 4 or 5, strong enough to destroy at least one of the party's majorities. The political climate feels much as it did before previous elections that produced sizable upheavals, such as in 1994, when Democrats lost 52 House seats, eight Senate seats, and control of both chambers."
I don't know anyone who was saying/writing that then? Sounds pretty dead on to me.
In terms of 2008, I just glanced back on columns well before the election, found this one (May 24, 2008) that described the Congressional election outlook for the GOP as "awful." http://cookpolitical.com/node/2047
Just a look at our ratings both just before both elections and well out, I think we did very well. In fact, looking back over 26 years of the Cook Political Report, I am proudest of 2006, having identified it very early and been dead right.
I just don't quite understand this narrative. If someone wanted to throw rocks at me, I am highly vulnerable on the "he thought Hillary would beat Obama" for the longest time, in that case, I am guilty as charged.
What am I missing here?
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