Saturday, October 01, 2005

There's life in those old bones yet

John Dickerson over at Slate contemplates whether the GOP, battered by a slew of recent scandals and growing public dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, is down for the count or merely against the ropes. As has been the case for the past five years, one of the party's best hopes for recovery is the sorry state of their opposition. To wit:

Just because people are dissatisfied with Republicans doesn't mean that they're rushing into the warm arms of Democratic candidates. Yes, Democrats are seeing visions of 1994, but Newt Gingrich did more than just tear the face off of Democrats in leadership, he nurtured a farm team and presented a set of ideas that dovetailed with his political instinct for the jugular. Democrats have no Contract with America and have to find a Gingrich or some central figure to pitch their message.

Exactly. Newt Gingrich toppled a corrupt Democratic leadership. But he did it with ideas. True, when Americans read the fine print, it turned out they didn't like a lot of those ideas, especially when they had a charismatic president who was willing to split the difference. But by that time it was too late. The Democrats, on the other hand, haven't had real ideas in years. Oh, sure, they can point to a laundry list of policies they support, and another list that they oppose. But they have no vision. They need a Gingrich. Hell, they could even use a George W. Bush, circa 2000. Where is he/she?


Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

Clinton had tactics, but no strategy.

Are you thinking of 2006 midterm congressional elections, or 2008 Prez elections?

It really only worked for Gingrich after Clinton got elected. Backlash from a cranky Republican base that abandoned GHWB, and the National Health Care joke. He went from 53.37% of the vote in 1988 to 37.45%. While Clinton (who never really expected to win in 1992. He originally though it was going to be like 1976 was for Reagan, a good trial run) got 43.01% compared to Dukakis 45.65%.

Not sure I can remember any other time a congressional election has been nationalized, since, or before. "All politics is local" That used to be the common wisdom. In that case incumbants win.

12:31 AM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

On Sat, the Opinon part of the WSJ had a mirror piece to Slate's. First and last paragraphs:

The Tom DeLay indictment has Democrats believing they can play the ethics card to retake Congress. But with the 2006 elections still 13 months away, the more immediate and important question is whether Republicans can use their leadership turmoil as an opportunity to remember why they were elected.


We could go on. It's not as if the agenda that Republicans ran on in 2004, or for that matter 1994, has been fulfilled. The question is whether Republicans still believe in that agenda, or whether their main ambition now is simply to stay in power. If a year from now voters continue to believe the answer is the latter, no amount of money or muscle will save Republicans at the polls.

A week ago on Leher's end of week Washington talking head segement, David Brooks, everbodys favorite Bobo, made esentially the same observation. 'There are two political parties. Not left and right, but "out of power", and "in power". When you are "in power" you spend the money.'

1:13 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Clinton certainly was the catalyst in 1994, I agree.

Grover Norquist recently said that George Bush's defeat in 1992 was a watershed moment for Republican office holders, who learned they would pay a price if they reneged on a promise not to raise taxes. Had Bush won, the power of anti-tax conservatives would have been nil. It's worth noting that even as they have abandoned their commitment to reduced government spending, Republicans continue to toe the line on taxes.

7:51 PM


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