Charlie Cook

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  • How the Senate's-in-play storyline was born

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    For the record, I have no idea how the midterm elections will turn out regarding the final Congressional head count after the November ballots are counted. Then again, neither do journalists. But that doesn't stop them from painting doomsday scenario for Democrats.

    And the latest, doom-iest scenario of all features Republicans winning control of the U.S. Senate this year. For that to happen there would have to be an historic collapse of the Democratic Party between now and November, with Dems losing 16 of 18 competitive races nationwide on Election Day, which is why, up until recently, the press shied away from speculating about Democrats losing the senate.

    But that seemed to change over the weekend when National Journal columnist, and full-time campaign-watcher, Charlie Cook published "The Senate's In Play," which lit up the blogosphere and Beltway newsrooms. Cook's column suddenly seemed to give pundits and reporters a green light to openly speculate about an electoral Armageddon facing Democrats.

    Yet if you actually looked at Cook's work, that didn't seem to be the case. Yes, he published a very blunt, link-friendly headline ("The Senate's In Play"), clearly suggesting Democrats were in danger of losing the Senate in November. But in the end, Cook hedged his bets, suggesting Republicans couldn't actually pull it off. "The odds still favor Democrats holding their majority," Cook wrote, adding it was "fairly unlikely" that Republicans would prevail.

    So the senate's not in play. But it kinda/sorta might be? (Of course it might be.)

    What exactly was the point of the "The Senate's in Play" column? That, I don't know. But I do know the affect of the column-- journalists loved it and have used it to bolster the Dems-are-really-doomed storyline.

  • Despite lack of investigation, pundits dismissed concerns by Congress and the public over port deal


    In recent days, numerous pundits have summarily dismissed concerns about the takeover of operations at six U.S. ports by a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates, despite the fact that the Bush administration opted not to conduct the 45-day investigation into the deal's national security implications provided for -- and, critics argue, required -- by federal law.