Currently the only thing Republicans have going for them is fear. They can't point to domestic success, and five years after the 9/11 attacks they can't emphasize foreign policy as they did in 02 and 04. No matter how the Bush administration tries to spin Iraq, the news there isn't good. Meanwhile we still haven't caught Bin Laden and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission haven't become law.
As Time magazine points out the White House is relentlessly pushing the fear angle.
The message: Republicans are strong, and Democrats are weak. The White House strategy isn't subtle. With Republicans worried about losing the House and conceivably even the Senate in November, the President is taking a big gamble that an unflinching focus on national security will be his party's political salvation.
What does this mean for Chris Shays? How does he hold onto his seat when voters in his district are so unhappy with the war? I don't think Shays himself knows the answer. His new views on Iraq received plenty of press, but didn't help his campaign. If anything it only created more confusion.
How do Diane Farrell and her fellow democratic challengers take advantage of the current political climate? If Democrats have a weakness it's the lack of a united front on Iraq, but perhaps a solution isn't even necessary. It's possible that the prospect of gridlock will be enough to motivate voters to cast their ballots for change this November.
Silvers, Susan. "Shays works both sides of politics". Connecticut Post. 9-19-06
Allen, Mike. "Why Bush's Security Pitch May Not Work This Time