Saturday, November 26, 2005
The writing of the Schmidt obituary
Some experts think the odds are long against a second term:
First impressions are often lasting ones. And the first impression that many Americans have of the Miami Township Republican isn't very flattering.
. . .
Making a bad situation worse, Ohio state Rep. Dan Bubp - the Marine colonel whom Schmidt says told her to deliver the incendiary message to Murtha - denies saying any such thing.
"This was a serious mistake,'' said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. "She's damaged on both sides. She caused a major problem for her Republican colleagues, and she infuriated every Democrat in the House.
. . .
She blamed the media for misrepresenting what she said.
But it wasn't the media that booed her off the House floor. The minute the words left her lips, Democrats were so insulted that they began shouting her down.
"She can just drop that (argument) right now,'' Sabato said.
"Everybody saw what she said. It was on all of the national networks repeatedly. There was nothing to misinterpret. In fact, if she continues that line, she will ensure that her career will never recover.''
Schmidt also may have made herself vulnerable at the ballot box. She beat Democrat Paul Hackett in a special election last August by just 3 points in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats more than 3 to 1.
"She just barely squeaked by in a district that people thought she should win in large measure,'' said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "You add this into the mix, and I think she has made her seat a lot more competitive.''
But it's not just Democrats who are looking to take her on. Schmidt won the 11-field Republican primary last June with just 28 percent of the vote. Some of her opponents have been itching for a rematch and will probably be even more willing to go after her now.
"She may not make it out of the Republican primary,'' Sabato said.
Even if she is re-elected, Schmidt will probably never be able to put the Murtha controversy behind her completely.
"I would expect that this will be in her obituary,'' Sabato said. "She has to accept that. There's not a thing she can do about it.''