Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Democrat ’06 win may guarantee Republican ’08 win
Posted by: McQ on Monday, May 15, 2006

Jim Geraghty over at NRO is a bit miffed:
I doubted the strategic wisdom of conservatives sitting out this election to “teach Republicans a lesson”; several bloggers have responded.

There are still doubters and skeptics, though. What’s really stunning is this absolute certainty of angry conservatives that A) Republicans will learn the right lessons from the defeat, and not, say, respond in a panic by embracing their inner RINO and flailing around for MSM approval and B) that the Republicans can easily win back Congress in 2008, just by stiffening their spines and pledging to return to their conservative roots.

I have my doubts on both counts. For starters, why would Republicans get the message that “we need to be more conservative” in a year that conservatives were knocked out?
Geraghty provides a good case against conservatives sitting out the '06 election and allowing Democrats to take a majority - that is if they truly want conservatives in Congress. As he points out, Republicans who aren't conservatives are not the ones in danger of losing their seats. I'm sympathetic to his case, but I'd point out that given the way politics plays out now, the only opportunity any constituency has to demonstrate its dissatisfaction is at the ballot box. And conservatives are not a satisfied constituency.

But there may be a silver lining to all of this for Republicans, even if they were to lose Congress this year. As I suggested a week ago, a win by Democrats in '06 may presage a loss in '08. Given the poll ratings of both the President and Republican Congress, that may not be such a bad deal.

Why? Well, because of what Democrats promise to do if given power. If you think the people are tired of the Republicans in '06, give Democrats a victory and watch how tired the people are of them by '08. As Adam Nagourney points out, what they promise, if given the power, is investigations out the wazoo:
Some Democrats argue that such investigations are long overdue in order to expose and correct a pattern of abuses by the administration. But others differ.

"Revenge — that's what we have to avoid," said Joe Andrews, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, adding that it's dangerous to talk "about what are you going to do to the guys you beat, as opposed to what are you going to do for the people."

"If the first thing that happens is a series of investigations, or committee restructurings, it will clearly sour people on the party and make it more difficult to win in 2008," he said. "As a practical matter would Democrats be able to restrain themselves?"

Bob Kerrey, the former Democratic senator from Nebraska who is president of the New School, put it another way.

"It's going to be very difficult to lead, because the loudest voices in both parties will be those that feel the strongest about their certitude," he said. "That's going to be the left: Impeach him! Investigate him!"
The other outcome of an '06 Democratic victory would most likely be razor thin margins in both chambers. What that would give them is responsiblity but little authority. However it would be they who would bear the blame for any legislative inaction or missteps instead of Republicans:
Indeed, some Democrats worry that the worst-case scenario may be winning control of Congress by a slim margin, giving them responsibility without real authority. They might serve as a foil to Republicans and President Bush, who would be looking for someone to share the blame. Democrats need a net gain of 6 seats in the Senate, and 15 seats in the House. "The most politically advantageous thing for the Democrats is to pick up 11, 12 seats in the House and 3 or 4 seats in the Senate but let the Republicans continue to be responsible for government," said Tony Coelho, a former House Democratic whip. "We are heading into this period of tremendous deficit, plus all the scandals, plus all the programs that have been cut. This way, they get blamed for everything."
That would not be conducive to a good day in November of '08.

Lest you think that the Dems would be able to show the restraint necessary to refrain from investigation overload, one only has to consider a few voices from that side of the fence:
“We will have subpoena power, and that’s why the Republicans are so afraid that we will be able to show the public how they arrived at a (Medicare) prescription drug bill that is born of corruption,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told NBC’s Tim Russert on Meet the Press Sunday. “Investigation is the requirement of Congress. It’s about checks and balances.”
Or how about Henry Waxman?
In an interview Tuesday, Waxman said that if he takes the helm of the committee in 2007, "I would pursue a much more vigorous set of investigations (than Republicans have)…. I’d certainly consider a high priority to investigate abuse of prisoners, manipulation of intelligence that has gotten us into Iraq, I’d want to know about waste of taxpayers’ money by private contractors, whether it’s in reconstruction of Iraq, or work in the Louisiana-Mississippi Gulf region or for homeland security.”
And if you think he'd be a harpy, consider Dennis Kucinich as head of one of the key subcommittees — in charge of investigating national security:
Kucinich said: “We’re in a war we didn’t have to be in. There needs to be accountability about the use of executive power. People need the truth.” He said he would use his new power to “piece the veil of the illusion” of Bush administration policy in Iraq. He hopes his investigations would help build support for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
All of this makes some Democrats nervous. For instance, Democratic pollster Jeremy Rosner:
He added, "Many of us are disturbed by the calls for investigations or even impeachment as the defining vision for our party for what we would do if we get back into office. We need to spend more time not talking about plans for impeachment or investigations, but on what we’d do to hunt down terrorists and secure the country.”
A razor thin majority and investigation mania. Two years of tumult and turmoil with little or no legislative success presented by the Democrats. If you think the American public is disenchanted with the war in Iraq, you haven't seen disenchanted if this scenario plays out.

So with all due respect to Jim Geraghty, maybe it's not such a bad thing for conservatives to get their anger out of their system in '06. And with leftist bloggers whipping the investigation train, the Dems will not be able to resist them:
Democratic blogger Matt Stoller said in an e-mail interview with MSNBC.com, “We have policies we’d like to see passed,” mentioning such items as an increase in the minimum wage and “a fix to the prescription drug debacle.”

But, he said, “the key issue for us is checks and balances…. Until Bush is forced to respect the law, policy talk is somewhat irrelevant. The Constitutional crisis comes first.”
Trust me on this.

And the winning Democratic strategy? It may be to pick up a few seats in '06 but stay in the minority while letting the Republicans bumble along for the remaining 2 years of the Bush presidency. And then, counting on the popularity of both Bush and the Republicans to continue to slide, work toward a complete takeover of the government in '08.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
What’s really stunning is this absolute certainty of angry conservatives that A) Republicans will learn the right lessons from the defeat, and not, say, respond in a panic by embracing their inner RINO and flailing around for MSM approval and B) that the Republicans can easily win back Congress in 2008, just by stiffening their spines and pledging to return to their conservative roots.
Let me get this straight. The last two times the GOP won really big was in the 1984/1988 presidential elections and the 1994 congressional elections. In both cases, the driving force in the party was conservatism.

Reagan was unapologetic in claiming that government was the problem. None of this mamby-pamby "when people are hurting, the government’s gotta move." Bush, Sr. was elected as a second helping of Reagan. (And as soon as he moved away from that, he failed in re-election.)

The 1994 Contract with American was an ambitious plan to shrink government. And the GOP won, if I recall correctly, forty or fifty House seats on it. Since then, after abrogating that "contract", they’ve slowly but steadily lost seats.

So what’s so stunning to Geraghty about conservatism winning elections? And would the GOP politicians really be so stupid as to draw the lesson that they should turn RINO, when anybody with an ounce of brains can see that their success is almost in direct proportion to how much they move in the other direction?

If the Democrats were not the most inept political party since the GOP in the 40’s, or maybe even the pre-Civil War Whigs, then the GOP would have lost control a couple of cycles back. But if both political parties descend to the same level of idiocy, then it effectively becomes a random election. There’s no strong reason to choose either one, so minor, symbolic, inconsequential issues become the differentiator. No one benefits from that, not even the political parties involved.

What the heck is wrong with these people?!?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I agree with the skepticism concerning our president. I am sick of his being more concerned about Vincinte Fox than American tax payers. It is the Federal Government’s responsiblilty to protect the border and I believe the only reason Bush is doing it now is because of mid-term elections approaching. Well I am not voting Republican anything. I am glad to find a blog or paper I can agree with. Some lying papers indicate that 63% of adults want amnesty for illigal mexicans.........well they have not talked to me or any one I know. Because I/we DO NOT want amnesty for those here illegally. Send them all back.

Randy
 
Written By: Randy Wilson
URL: http://
Right, so the shorter "advice" for Republicans: don’t worry, even if the Democrats win, it’s really just a step to you winning.

And the shorter "advice" for Democrats: if you’d really like to win, you should probably avoid winning. Because, even if you win, the voters are sure to hate you and you’ll end up losing.

Put this way, it kind of looks like advice to Democrats given by Republicans, especially strategic advice, is hopelessly skewed towards benefitting Republicans, not Democrats. Makes sense, of course. The best thing for the Democratic party was to do the opposite of whatever the Republicans suggest they should do.

Jim Geraghty is right: conservatism’s problem is that it has failed to understand that very often, the policies it wants are unacceptable to the majority of the public. Implementation of them brings electoral failure and retreat. Punishing this retreat will only lead to further retreat.

This is of course the same thing that conservatives tell liberals.
They’re both right.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Jim Geraghty is right: conservatism’s problem is that it has failed to understand that very often, the policies it wants are unacceptable to the majority of the public. Implementation of them brings electoral failure and retreat. Punishing this retreat will only lead to further retreat.

This is of course the same thing that conservatives tell liberals.

They’re both right.
Question: other than tax cuts, name a single thing that has been implemented one could call "conservative" during the Bush administration?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Question: other than tax cuts, name a single thing that has been implemented one could call "conservative" during the Bush administration?
With the exception of 2 SCOTUS appointees (and one of them coming only after a debacle) and other judicial appointments at all levels, the conservative items implemented have been mostly on the small and minor side: funding for faith based groups, the "ethical" approach to science funding, that sort of thing. Ok, CAFTA got through also.

Not exactly sweeping reforms.....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
...conservatism’s problem is that it has failed to understand that very often, the policies it wants are unacceptable to the majority of the public...
I’m sure President Mondale and Majority Leader Jim Sasser would back you up on that. Oh, wait...
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I think that the most fun to be had would be watching these Democratic-controlled committees EXONERATE Bush when they came up with exactly d*ck-squat to pin on him. Everyone knows Bush didn’t "lie" about Iraq’s WMD capabilities. Everyone that is except Democratic BDS sufferers in foamy mid-convulsion. Yes I say! Put it on TeeVee!

Thanks McQ, now I have one more political outcome to pray for.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Put this way, it kind of looks like advice to Democrats given by Republicans, especially strategic advice, is hopelessly skewed towards benefitting Republicans, not Democrats.
Perhaps. But even Kos said after the ’04 election that a Kerry presidency would have been a disaster. There is some merit to the idea that timing matters.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Maybe nobody sees it now, but the economy is going pretty good. Ahead it will get worse. The future according to these guys is a recession. The winning party in 2006 will probably see the worst of it.

 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
You know, even if not voting for Republicans sends the wrong message, and puts big bad evil lefties in power, I will still do it because there is such a thing as principal. If you lied to me, called me a sexist because I didn’t support an unqualified female for Scotus, called me a racist, because I didn’t like the idea of xenophobic religionists running our ports, and called me a vigilante because I want our border laws enforced, and called me ignorant, because I want less government spending. Then, I really don’t know why you would want such a neanderthal as I to support your party.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Well, McQ, I would agree that we have mostly not seen massive structural changes geared towards implementing various forms of conservatism. However, this reinforces my arugment that said changes are politically unpopular and self-defeating.

There have been several big conservative ideas on the burner that have essentially stayed there, despite total Republican dominance of government, including:

reform of social security, or, to usually by eliminating or reducing guaranteed fixed benefits.

passing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

The neoconservative doctrine of hegemonic pre-emption isn’t looking so popular in practice, and it’s only being implemented to a tenth of what a pure interpretation would suggest.

One could also argue that the conservative (or, to use another frame of reference, corporate-over-friendly, anticonsumer) aspects of the Medicare Drug Program have been the biggest part of its unexpected general unpopularity - not among conservatives, who I am aware consider the basic concept unconservative. I agree. However, I’m not at all sure that providing no prescription drug subsidy of any kind would have made them more popular.

That’s my off the head list. I don’t know what from among Shark’s list has made GWB popular among the electorate as a whole, either.

The immigration argument is the only bedrock-hard-right conservative issue I can think of that has serious resonance beyond the 20% conservative movement, and that’s only on the existence of the problem - certainly not the most conservative solution - mass deportation. Even the wall is in that twilight zone of disputed, could-go-either-way popular acceptance along with, say, domestic spying.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
reform of social security, or, to usually by eliminating or reducing guaranteed fixed benefits.
Conservatives aren’t the ones talking about means testing glasnost. And reform of that system certainly isn’t a conservative issue (Clinton was all over it when he was in office).

Privatizing it, however, is ... and a claim it was unpopular isn’t that well supported by fact. A great many people would simply love to be given the option to opt out ... but that’s more of a libertarian solution. But since it’s never been implemented it doesn’t fit your template.
passing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
We agree here ... this certainly is a conservative issue (well at least social conservative) with few legs. Same point on implementation.

These are ideological wet dreams, of which both sides have many.
The neoconservative doctrine of hegemonic pre-emption isn’t looking so popular in practice, and it’s only being implemented to a tenth of what a pure interpretation would suggest.
Yeow ... no loaded terms there. Review the "Monroe Doctrine" and tell me about how "hegemonic pre-emption" is a recent conservative thing.
One could also argue that the conservative (or, to use another frame of reference, corporate-over-friendly, anticonsumer) aspects of the Medicare Drug Program have been the biggest part of its unexpected general unpopularity - not among conservatives, who I am aware consider the basic concept unconservative.
More likely it is the bureaucratic maze which was created which has much to do with its unpopularity. That’s not a conservative problem, that’s a government problem.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Yeah,

Look at what happened to the last idiot party who started a string of investigations into the sitting President when they gained the house...

Oh... Wait, that was the Republicans.
 
Written By: John Barberio
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider