Conservatives key to GOP win in ’06 Posted by: McQ
on Monday, May 08, 2006
I love the smell of politics in the morning. It smells of blogging.
Yesterday I pointed to a 4 point plan the Democrats were developing in "Contract with America" fashion in a bid to take the House in November. Frankly, it's not a bad plan.
So what will be the Republican reponse. Well, according to Jim Rutenberg of the NYT, the left's "Satan incarnate", Karl Rove is on the case and is going to use fear to stir the base. In the House, it will be examples like this he is counting on to turn them out to vote:
To anyone who doubts the stakes for the White House in this year's midterm Congressional elections, consider that Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the Democrat who would become chairman of the Judiciary Committee if his party recaptured the House, has called for an inquiry into the possible impeachment of President Bush over the war in Iraq.
While most pundits and analysts think impeachement procedings would be a mistake, there's a hard core of Democrats who would push the "i" word if they were in charge in the House. Conyers is obviously one of them. And "Speaker Pelosi" is another.
However it is probably the loss of the Senate which would stir Republicans even more:
Or listen to Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who would run the Senate Judiciary Committee if the Democrats took the Senate. Mr. Leahy vowed in a recent interview to subpoena top administration officials, if he got the chance, to answer more questions about their secret eavesdropping program and what he considers faulty prewar intelligence.
Not mentioned in Rutenberg's analysis is the possibility of a third seat on the Supreme Court opening up. And with the Senate in Democratic hands, the nominating process would most likely be successfully stalled until after the '08 election.
But back to Rutenberg's point, and the same point I made yesterday: the Democrat promise of scads and scads of investigations.
The prospect of the administration spending its last two years being grilled by angry Democrats under the heat of partisan spotlights has added urgency to the efforts by Karl Rove and Mr. Bush's political team to hang on to the Republican majorities in Congress.
I'm still of the opinion that "two years of being grilled" by Democrats actually helps Republicans in '08, not Democrats. While it may satisfy the rabid left, it will hurt the Democrats chances in a presidential year. Poll after poll tell us that while Americans may no longer support some of this administration's policies, they're tired of all the political infighting that takes place in DC. And that data transcends administrations.
But for now, Rutenberg is reporting that Rove, is going to use the prospect of an administration under seige for the next two years as the motivator to turn out the conservative base - the part of the base most dissatisfied with the Bush administration in general, but has no where else to go politically. Rove knows that if the conservative wing of the Republican party sits home in November, something which seems entirely possible given the general disillusionment felt in conservative ranks, the loss of both houses of Congress becomes a possibility.
But Rove has his work cut out for him. Even as he seeks the support of the conservative wing of the party, the administration's record and agenda have turned most of that group off:
He has focused in particular on uniting them behind the administration's proposals to overhaul immigration, which include guest worker provisions that conservatives despise; the Iraq war, which has driven Mr. Bush's poll numbers sharply downward; and the Medicare prescription drug program, which the administration says will cost $872 billion from 2006 to 2014 and which Mr. Bush backed enthusiastically despite complaints from conservatives that it was a vast expansion of the social welfare state.
If Rove wants conservatives on his side this November he's going to have to give them a concrete policy reason to vote. While fear of Democrats may motivate some, my guess is it will take much more than that to generate the numbers at the polls Rove and the RNC need to assure they hold both houses of Congress. One place he could immediately begin shoring up the conservative support is with a changed immigration policy. That would require the administration change its present focus on "guest workers" and address border security first and enforcing existing immigration laws second. Promising debate on "guest workers" after those two steps have been taken would probably then be an acceptable to conservatives.
Rutenberg says the Rove strategy is a rerun of a plan which has worked before:
Mr. Rove's playbook is drawn straight from the one that worked for him in 2004: first, get conservatives fired up enough to vote, a particularly important goal in a midterm election, in which turnout is usually quite low. Second, make sure the election is not just about Mr. Bush's performance, but also about the choice between a Republican Party defined on its own terms and a Democratic Party defined on Mr. Rove's.
The questions remains, given the disillusionment apparent in conservative ranks, whether this is enough this time to carry Rove and company one more time.
UPDATE:Ken Mehlman of the RNC seems to understand how critical it is to appeal to the conservative base prior to November with some meaningful legislation:
Mr. Mehlman traveled to Capitol Hill to warn the staffers that they risked a disaster at the polls if they didn't pass meaningful legislation the conservative base cares about. Other GOP strategists go even further. "If the election were held today, I'd say the odds are 90% that we'd lose the House," says GOP consultant Mike Murphy.
How bad is it?
Some polls show public disapproval of the GOP among conservatives reaching dangerously high levels. A new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll found that only 66% of Republicans now approve of President Bush's performance. A new Associated Press/Public Affairs poll found 45% of self-identified conservatives disapprove of Mr. Bush's job as president, and 65% disapprove of the GOP Congress. The disapproval numbers are probably exaggerated because of an oversampling of Democrats, but even if somewhat lower, the numbers are still toxic.
It will work just enough to deny the Dems any sort of takeover. Honestly, the Dems will do the work for him, they can’t keep their pieholes shut. One of them will say something stupid any second now...
One poll the other day indicated that what people most disliked about Congress was that they were arguing all the time and not getting anything done. The key to the election will be to convince the electorate who is/will be the most argumentative and will hold up things.
The key to a GOP victory in ’08 is to let the Democrats win the House but not the Senate this November. The current administration is virtually out of good ideas to push through Congress anyway, and not enough of the current crop of Republicans are willing to follow it on taking down entitlement programs.
If Rove gets indicted, he’ll be out of play or at least distracted. This summer only bodes more trouble as more will surely be ensnared in the Abramoff & Cunningham scandals. If the Dems win & investigations commence, that can benefit the left and get real thorny for the right if those investigations dig up fruit before ’08.
Serves em right!
Shark needs to listen to those liberal pie-holes. Maybe he’d learn something. He must love being lied to, sold out, and having his trust betrayed by those we elected to serve our great nation and not themselves.
Neo, who divided this country after we were unified like never before in the wake of 911? What do they have left to hold up?
I’m not counting chickens, but barring an October surprise (BushCo is cornered, knows it, and may do something desparate), it smells like spring. Time to clean house.