It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in October, and, as Republican Representative Chris Shays drives between churches in his affluent Connecticut district, he is talking about the possibility of being knifed. "Rahm Emanuel--if I got a knife, it would be in my belly," he says, referring to the combative head of the Democratic Caucus. "With Nancy," he continues, alluding to the House speaker, "it would be in my back." He then goes on to tell a story about an encounter that took place two years ago at the House gym.
The polls for the Presidential race may be tightening once again, but that hasn’t stopped vulnerable Republicans from jumping ship—if not for the Obama camp, than at least as far away from the McCain campaign as possible. In my story in the current issue of TNR, I explain how Chris Shays, the only New England Republican in the House, has imperiled his own chances for survival by openly embracing the McCain-Palin ticket. Well, it looks like Shays himself has realized the hazards of such loyalty in a district where Obama is now leading by 59 percent.
Norwalk, Connecticut There's no greater softball question in all of politics than the one reporters lob at candidates right before they go into their local polling places to vote for themselves: How do you feel? All politicians, even the ones destined for certain defeat, invariably respond with something upbeat, like Great! or Confident! But, on Tuesday morning, as the embattled Connecticut Representative Chris Shays headed into an elementary school in his Bridgeport neighborhood to pull the lever for himself, he couldn't muster anything quite that optimistic.