How exactly does one convince the teeming masses that Republicans deserve to stay in power despite botching a war, doubling the national debt, keeping company with Jack Abramoff, fumbling the response to Hurricane Katrina, expanding the government at record rates, raising cronyism to an art form, playing poker with Duke Cunningham, isolating America and repeatedly electing Tom DeLay as their House majority leader?He points out that the strategy of many Republicans is to blame George Bush. But of course this is a sorry defense as almost each and everyone have enabled Bush while being abused by him.
How does a God-fearing Reagan Republican explain all that away?
Even when the administration would not give generals the troops they needed to win the war in Iraq, Republican leaders did nothing. When the president refused to veto a single spending bill while the deficit spiraled upward, Republican leaders looked away. And when chaos was reigning in the streets of New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast in Katrina's horrific aftermath, Republican leaders remained mute.So the Democrats should make clean up this time around, right?
That silence -- proof that it is better to be feared than loved in politics -- has had devastating results. The United States is more divided than ever, our leaders are despised around the world, our fiscal situation is catastrophic and congressional approval ratings are the lowest ever. Since nothing sharpens the mind like a political hanging, Republican leaders in the Senate and House are finally considering doing what effete newspaper editorialists have suggested for years: throwing Bush overboard.
Of course, the mere suggestion makes some Republican loyalists shudder. Being a faithful follower of Brother Bush has long been synonymous with loving Jesus, supporting the troops and taking a stand against sodomy. But no more. Many of the conservatives who put Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich in power are counting the days until Bush goes to Crawford for good. Some mutter that their leader's governing style looks more like Jimmy Carter's every day -- and among that crowd, there is no harsher insult.
Unfortunately for endangered Republicans 12 years later, Clinton's poll numbers during that campaign were 15 percentage points higher than Bush's now. That suggests that the Democratic tidal wave this year will rival that of the Republicans in 1994.I'm not really sure that the Democrats have no plan but they certainly don't have the ability to communicate it if they do. We can blame some of this on the MSM but some of the blame has to fall on the Democrats themselves. So what will happen in 2006?
But these Republicans have one advantage that Clinton's party lacked in 1994: Their opponents are Democrats. The Party of Pelosi. The party that is so tongue-tied on its best political issue that I still can't tell you where it stands on Iraq. Nor can they explain how they would balance the budget or stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
That failure to present an alternative vision is in stark contrast with Gingrich & Co., who spent 1994 drawing up a legislative package, a plan to balance the budget and enough position papers to strip an Amazon rain forest.
This year, maybe Democrats can beat something with nothing. As for Republicans, their only chance of survival is blasting the president for mistakes of the past and attacking the Democrats for their failings of the future.
Of course, you GOP candidates can be sure that such attacks will annoy Bush, even though your survival may be all that stands between him and a crazy Democratic chairman launching impeachment hearings. But if you win this fall only to face his stern rebuke next winter, just tell him it was schadenfreude for all the times the White House treated you badly. With any luck, Bush will think you are talking about that Berlin disco that Moammar Gaddafi bombed back in 1986 and then dismiss you like the worthless billy goat he always suspected you were.
In case you missed it check out Joe Scarborough's piece over at The Washington Monthly where he tells us why he thinks the Republicans should lose in November.