Column: Get ready for Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid:

By Brian Pierce

A perfect storm has struck the Republican Party, and relief efforts look to be almost as feeble as the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Therefore, while political experts have recently been debating whether Democrats are more likely to win a majority in the Senate or the House of Representatives, I predict that they will take control of both houses.

The predation on teenage boys (and surprisingly poor spelling) of former Representative Mark Foley, R-Fla., is by itself the biggest political scandal of the past twenty years. Not because it is the most important or even the most lurid scandal, but rather because it is the most accessible, understandable and broadly appealing. You just know the guys at “Law & Order: SVU” are preparing a “ripped from the headlines” episode about it as we speak. And you don’t need to care a wit about politics to find the transcripts of Foley’s salacious IMs fascinating and regretfully amusing.

But the Foley scandal is not just a scandal. It is the perfect scandal to force the Republicans out of power. Republicans rely on certain groups to turn out in massive numbers in their favor in order to win elections, the types of groups we hear talking heads on CNN discuss all the time: security moms, NASCAR dads, the Christian right, the elderly. These are the exact same groups which will be most turned off by Foley’s sleaziness. They will all likely be turned off by the fact that Republicans apparently only enjoy gay-bashing when the homosexual in question isn’t targeting young boys.

The Pew Research Center reported recently that while white Christian evangelicals made up a quarter of the electorate in 2004, 78 percent of which voted Republican, only 57 percent of that group intends to vote Republican this November, a 21 point drop. The really bad news for Republicans is that the poll was taken before news of the Foley scandal ever broke.

This is not the end of the Republicans’ woes. As more Americans (51 percent according to a Pew Research Center poll) rank Iraq the most important election issue on their minds, and as public perception of how things are going in that country grows ever more negative (47 percent say the war in Iraq has hurt our efforts in the war on terror), the GOP is finding that even the issues that it could once rely on to gain support have come to hurt them. With Senator John Warner, R-Va., saying the situation has deteriorated more than ever, there are few signs things will improve.

The one hope Republicans have is that the election is still about a month away, and a month can be a lifetime in political campaigning. But with things in Iraq getting worse and with the Foley scandal possessing at least a little more steam, one can’t imagine the Republicans getting unstuck. Not to mention a new scandal is brewing as a White House aide to Karl Rove has resigned due to ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Plus, two books are coming out that will do even more damage to Republicans. The first, titled “Tempting Faith,” is written by David Kuo, a former White House aide, and says that President Bush’s religious appeals to the Christian right were nothing more than campaign rhetoric. The second, titled “The Audacity of Hope,” is written by Senator Barack Obama and provides a positive political vision from an enormously popular Democrat.

The worst things that could be happening to Republicans are happening. Their policies are losing popularity, they’ve been caught providing political cover to a sexual predator, their base is apathetic, swing voters are turned off by them and normally local races are becoming nationalized by the war in Iraq.

So mark my words. As you hear about those key Senate and House races on the news, more and more of them will lean Democrat. And come this November, we will have a Democratic Congress at long last.