Thinking Out Loud:

1. The majority of college-educated white Americans vote Republican (although a slimmer majority of Americans with graduate degrees vote Democrat); the vast majority of evangelical whites in this country vote Republican.

In a nutshell: Well-educated (presumably intelligent) God-fearing white America votes Republican.

What explains these numbers?

The Republican Party has become the party of common sense. We have approximately 12 million undocumented (illegal) immigrants in our country. We should do something to stop that. Common Sense. Terrorists are trying to kill us. We should try to kill them first. We should treat them roughly and follow them around and listen to what they are saying on their cell phones. Common Sense. America is a good place. That is why so many people are trying to come here. Common Sense. Men should marry women. Common sense. Lower taxes and smaller government good; an intrusive and bloated federal government that sees our collective pocketbook as a blank check is bad. Common Sense. Peace through strength. Common Sense. Guns don't kill people; people kill people. Common Sense. Put criminals in jail, and they will commit fewer crimes. Common Sense. And I could go on.

Moreover, the rhetoric of the Republican Party acknowledges the God that the majority worships and honors expressions of love for the nation, which a majority still believe to be the "last best hope for mankind." During the generation following the Civil War, the Republican Party chastised the Democrats: "Not every Democrat was a traitor, but every traitor was a Democrat." Today, it seems as if not all Democrats are America-haters, but all America-haters are Democrats. It is easy to make the case in the heartland that the Republican Party is for God and country (and the other guys are not so sure).

2. Even with the bloody ugly mess that is Iraq, most college-educated, white evangelicals want to support President Bush. Even with the bloody ugly mess that is the federal budget and current bloated bureaucracy, most college-educated, white evangelicals want to vote Republican this November.

Coming into this weekend, you could start to smell another Republican surprise. The polls were turning around (and the polls never accurately measure Republican strength--so you can always add a few points to what ever Zogby says the GOP total is likely to be). The President was moving up. The generic "Republican Congress" was moving up. Individual races were looking much better.

Why? Americans want to vote Republican despite Republican failures. Americans continue to trust Republicans. Yeah, they make mistakes, but at least they see the world in a realistic way (according to our perspective). George Bush is a guy like me.

3. Then we get Foley. A case of perversion and arrogance. I had never heard of Mark Foley before Friday night, but he was an important person in the GOP hierarchy. And he was also a sexual (homosexual) predator whom the GOP leadership allowed to roam the halls of Congress and solicit underage pages unchecked. Once again, the party of morality faces a moral crisis.

If we were in a mood last week to forgive Republicans for their faults (if only because the alternative was so repulsive), we were shockingly reminded this weekend that the GOP is sick. Washington is sick. Congress is sick. The system is sick. You can feel Republicans losing steam even as we speak.