On Tuesday, Ben Chandler became the first Democrat to win a Republican-held congressional seat in a special election since 1991. Chandler's opponent, Alice Forgy Kerr, was hand-picked by senior Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, President Bush himself campaigned on her behalf, and the Republican National Committee paid for the attack ads run by her campaign in the days leading up to the election. The central plank of Kerr's platform was her willingness to support the president's agenda and to toe the Republican party line on Capitol Hill.
In Wednesday's paper, Boyle County Republican Party Chairman Tom McClain suggested that the results of Tuesday's election do not reflect any real discontent with the policies of the Republican leadership in Washington. Instead, he attributed the Republican defeat to a recent spate of "one-sided anti-Bush rhetoric and coverage," and expressed his conviction that "the economy and the war in Iraq are going well."
Yet Tuesday the White House was forced to retract its prediction that the economy (which has lost almost 3 million jobs since Dec. 2000) will add 2.6 million new jobs this year. This announcement came not long after a White House economist expressed his opinion that the "outsourcing" of U.S. jobs overseas is a positive development in the long run. On Tuesday, the Treasury Department reported that the national debt has topped the $7 trillion-mark for the first time ever.