Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Grim Truth: Republicans face a calamitous political situation

This is an interesting article in National Review ( that looks at the less than bright outlook for the GOP. It is telling that a conservative publication like National Review has such a pessimistic article. On the other hand, it has never been a wingnut Christianist publication either. I hope that the GOP continues to do what it has been doing and gets slammed in November, 2008. I think it is the only thing that will cause the party to refocus away form its current trends. I just hope the Democrats don't screw up and snatch defeat from what should be a strong victory. Here are some highlights:
But for all the understandable natural resistance to pessimism, it has its uses. Fear can be nature’s way to get us to realize that we’re in danger and to take appropriate action. Consider Iraq. If more supporters of the war had been willing to admit that the war was going badly in 2005–6, we might have undertaken the surge and switched our strategy earlier.
The plain truth is that the party faces a cataclysm, a rout that would give Democrats control of the White House and enhanced majorities in the House and the Senate. That defeat would, in turn, guarantee the confirmation of a couple of young, liberal Supreme Court nominees, putting the goal of moving the Court in a more constitutionalist direction out of reach for another generation. It would probably also mean a national health-insurance program that would irrevocably expand government involvement in the economy and American life, and itself make voters less likely to turn toward conservatism in the future.
This outcome is avoidable only if Republicans understand the sources of their unpopularity. Conservatives tend to blame their travails on Republican politicians’ missteps and especially on their inability to communicate. But the public’s unhappiness with Republicans goes much deeper than any such explanation. A mishandled war, coupled with intellectual exhaustion on the domestic front, has soured the public on them. It is not just the politicians but conservative voters themselves who are out of touch with the public, stuck in the glory days of the 1980s and not thinking nearly enough about how to make their principles relevant to the concerns of today. Unforeseen events could yet change the political environment radically. As it stands, Republicans are sleepwalking into catastrophe.
The political calendar and map are also conspiring against Republicans. In the Senate, Republicans have to defend 21 seats and Democrats only 12. They face tough races to retain seats in Minnesota, Maine, Oregon, New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, and New Mexico, while vulnerable Democratic seats are hard to find.
Democrats will be able to fight on this favorable terrain with more resources than Republicans. The RNC has done well against the DNC, outraising it $63 million to $40.5 million, with a cash-on-hand advantage of $16.5 million to $3.3 million. Otherwise, Democrats are winning the money race going away. Democratic presidential candidates have raised a stunning $200 million, 70 percent more than the Republican candidates. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee 2 to 1. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had $22.1 million on hand as of August, the National Republican Congressional Committee only $1.6 million (it started the year $16 million in debt).

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