Saturday, July 15, 2006

this is not news to some of us

In 2004, just before and after Bush's electoral triumph, I predicted that there would be a Dem backlash in 2008. I still think it's coming, in the form of a Democratic president, but the backlash may already have started:

Republicans are in jeopardy of losing their grip on Congress in November. With less than four months to the midterm elections, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that Americans by an almost 3-to-1 margin hold the GOP-controlled Congress in low regard and profess a desire to see Democrats wrest control after a dozen years of Republican rule.

Further complicating the GOP outlook to turn things around is a solid percentage of liberals, moderates and even conservatives who say they'll vote Democratic. The party out of power also holds the edge among persuadable voters, a prospect that doesn't bode well for the Republicans.

The election ultimately will be decided in 435 House districts and 33 Senate contests, in which incumbents typically hold the upper hand. But the survey underscored the difficulty Republicans face in trying to persuade a skeptical public to return them to Washington.

In 2004, my buddy Mike wrote:

Having said... that Hillary Clinton is unelectable as president, [I think] the prospect of the Democrats breaking GOP control of all three branches of government in four years (barring some unforeseen occurrence) [is] so small as to be hard to calculate. The possibility of taking the Presidency and the Senate [is] feasible (and depending on the candidates, the political and economic situation, and the "mood" of the country it could be quite possible). But the House will not change hands until 2012 at the earliest; and control of the Judiciary is likely to be molded pretty decisively by President Bush. If the Democrats are smart, they will start focusing on finding good Senate Candidates to start challenging Republicans. And they will focus on retaking State Houses and Governor's mansions around the country. Until they can have a bigger say in the next redistricting process, the House is not likely to change hands. And your Maximum Leader doesn't see why they should waste their money on trying to take control of the House.

I voiced general agreement with the above; my own point had been that the Dems would break the GOP grip on all three branches government, not that they would come to dominate all three branches.

I do, however, stand by my prediction that the American people will react to eight years under Bush by electing a Dem as president. I agree that Hillary remains unelectable because she is too polarizing a figure, and am curious to know who will become the Dem front-runner (Mark Warner wouldn't be a bad choice). Clinton's current posturing as a liberal hawk doesn't strike me as sincere. I also continue to believe that the American public remains largely unready for a female president, which is too bad (I'm not a Hillary fan; however, the prospect of a female president doesn't put me off).

But the central issue in 2008, barring a major terrorist incident on American soil, is likely to be the economy, and the electorate will vote with its wallet. Trust me on this. I'm like Hari Seldon, the psychohistorian (not "psycho historian") who uses math to predict the general behavior of large masses of humanity.

I recall that Brian of Cathartidae was unhappy when I gloated after Bush got reelected. As long-time readers of this blog know, I wasn't gloating because I was happy about the reelection; I was gloating because the reelection pierced the veil of Democratic self-delusion. At the time, the central issue was national security-- not family values, and not the economy (my reply to Brian, in the comments thread of the above-linked Cathartidae post, goes into this a bit). Dems failed to respond adequately to this reality. Now, it's the GOP's turn to fail to see just how deeply the public's discontent runs. As long as the Dems remain relentlessly focused on the economy (I can't say that foreign policy has ever been their strong suit), I submit they're guaranteed a president in 2008.

Unless Rudi Giuliani is the GOP nominee. Then all bets are off. I'd vote for that guy "in a heartbeat," as Charles of Liminality says. If the Dems were to run either Mark Warner or Joe Lieberman, it'd be a hard choice for me. If they run Hillary, it's no choice at all.


1 comment:

Maven said...

Without hope, what is left? Of course, I mean besides corruption and taxes...