Learning to live with the GOP bomb
Posted by aogTuesday, 07 November 2006 at 21:40 TrackBack Ping URL

A little late, but before all of the election returns on in, I have to note something.

Back in 2000, I made the argument that even if (then candidate) Bush lost, if he even came close it would be a bad sign for Al Gore, as the political winds were all in his favor. This cycle, I would say that the winds weren’t as well aligned, but overall should have been favoring the GOP. A strong economy, domestic peace since 9/11/01, no serious scandals in the White House, an opposition that is large parts craven and demented and has no real platform — the list goes on and on. Even given the historical trends of mid term elections for the dominant party, losing the House or the Senate is a bad performance for the GOP. I have to completely agree with Instapundit that if that happens, it will be because the GOP played many unforced errors. When the GOP Speaker of the House defends a Representative from the opposition from the FBI so he can hide cash and evidence in his office, there’s something seriously wrong in the GOP leadership. I think that President Bush has to take some blame for being too low key as well.

In the end, I wonder if it matters that much. I tend to agree with the prediction that winning a narrow majority in the House but not the Senate will do terrible things to the Democratic Party over the next two years. The temptation to strike out against a lame duck President will likely prove too much for the few adults that remain.

UPDATE: The big question, with the trends becoming clear, is whether the GOP will re-assess or decide that they weren’t big government enough. While the evidence is clear to us on that, recent history shows that even for the GOP, the Washington DC bubble has a very strong interface through which few facts can travel.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Ali Choudhury Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 08:11

I think a critical factor was Bush being seen as soft on immigration. It seems a pretty important issue to the core GOP voter. Plus American voters may have decided 1) terrorism isn’t so much a threat to them anymore and 2) gridlock is underrated.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 08:44

Yes, that was a major failure which also detracted from the domestic security advantage of the GOP. It’s an easy connection to make between opposing border security to opposing security. Bush also tried to use spin instead of being straightforward. Had he openly espoused the unlimited immigration position, I doubt he could have done worse and at least he would have set up an honest debate.

P.S. A recurring fondness for gridlock is probably the main reason the dominant party sees losses in midterm elections.

David Cohen Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 09:52

I think the lesson is exactly the opposite: immigration continues to be irrelevant in American politics. Remember, it was the House that stopped the amnesty and pushed the fence.

cjm Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 09:53

another one of judd’s predictions (bush is building a 50 year majority) has proven as accurate as his shite moderates nonsense.

personally i will be avoiding most news sources, and will stop reading politically oriented blogs, for the next couple of years. it is clear to me that this nation, like all others (i suppose there are rare exceptions) will not protect itself adequately until a horrendous attack levels one or more cities. anyone have suggestions on which areas of the country are livable and have a low media profile ?

cjm Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 09:57

sorry, forgot to answer your update question.

given that the election loss will be hung around the neck of gwb and his policies, the gop will move away from mush headed pseudo-conservatism. arnold looks to have found a good mix of policies (i believe he has a pretty strict approach to illegal immigrants) and rudy giuliani could easily replicate that approach in a national campaign. bad news for mc cain and for hillary as they are now both tied down in what is going to be an even more rancorous senate.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 10:14

Mr. Cohen;

The Senate was lost as well. Moreover, the Democratic Party candidates running in tight elections generally shifted towards an enforcement stance on immigration. I think it’s becoming similar to gun control, where it doesn’t appear to be an issue because there’s only one valid position in contested races. I certainly wouldn’t call it the dominant issue, but I think it is an important issue and one where Bush’s position (amnesty only, no enforcement) is not politically viable.

David Cohen Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 15:01

Not politically viable? Heck, he’s just been on television celebrating that now he can get it.

In any event, my point is that immigration is irrelevant.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 16:11

That’s why Bush brought it up?

David Cohen Wednesday, 08 November 2006 at 17:59

A reporter brought it up, but Bush agreed that it was a good example of something that he could work with the Democrats on and that was more likely to be passed now that the Dems control Congress. He kicked himself for not having thought of it himself.

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