Straight-Faced Spin Award

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Today’s award goes to Bill Steiner, director of strategy at the Republican National Committee. In a “memo” to RNC Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan (that’s how it’s addressed!) about the 2007 off-year elections, Steiner argues, without apparent irony, that the results bode well for Republicans in the 2008 races. Here’s Steiner’s lead:

In 2005, the Democrat Congressional leadership claimed that the off-year fall elections were pivotal in gaining momentum heading into the following year’s Congressional elections. If Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel were correct in 2005, then the results of this fall bode well for Republicans heading into 2008.

In the memo that follows, Steiner mentions Bobby Jindal’s win in Louisiana of two weeks ago, as well as Haley Barbour’s re-election in Mississippi and a smattering of other victories for Republicans or conservatives across the country yesterday, including in Oregon, where voters rejected a tobacco tax hike to pay for increasing health insurance coverage for the state’s children.

Fair enough. It’s certainly true that the overwhelming defeat of the Oregon ballot initiative should be a loud warning to Democrats that while the public’s desire for health care reform is strong, so too is the public’s aversion to tax increases, even in a left-leaning state like Oregon, and even to sin taxes.

But, Steiner conveniently neglects to mention the two biggest stories from yesterday’s results: The Democrats picking up another “red” state governor’s seat, in Kentucky, and, more tellingly, the GOP’s loss of the Virginia Senate to Democrats. Bad losses for the RNC in both cases, especially because they reinforce a growing trend: the renewed and growing competitive of the Democrats in states that had been all but conceded to the GOP just a few years ago.

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