Speaking of gloom and doom, Morris says the GOP is going down - maybe Posted by: McQ
on Thursday, June 15, 2006
Seems like each time I cite Dick Morris I use my standard disclaimer: "no matter what you might think of Morris personally, he knows politics". To which a commenter will invariably say "he's a piece of (pick your favorite type of offal and insert here)."
Can we skip that this go 'round?
Current surveys show a tendency toward the Democrats but do not show a rout as of yet. But any Republican strategists who take comfort from that did not live through 1986 or 1994, the two most recent years when a party trend swept through Congress like a plague, killing the deserving and the undeserving alike.
In both of those years, the trend toward the party that eventually won manifested itself only in the last week of polling and really only in the last few days. So it will be in 2006.
Whether there will be a rout or not is anybody’s guess — mine is that there will be and that the Democrats will win both Houses of Congress. But you won’t see the process one way or the other in today’s polling data.
Two things. As those of us who follow this stuff know, the "Generic Democrat" is kicking ass. But Generic Democrats can't go to Congress. Real Democrats have to do that. And they also have to win real races. So while the trend is there, translating it into wins is still something Democrats haven't successfully done lately. And there's still no proof they can pull it off in November either, at least not yet.
Second thing, he's precisely right about when to pay attention to polls. My theory for years has been the vast majority of Americans pay scant attention to political races until it is about time to go actually pull the lever. So the week of the elections in November is when the real trend for that election will begin to emerge. And this is especially true in off-year Congressional elections.
But all that said, he still thinks the Repubicans are in trouble even though he says it's still to early to know for sure. His "whys":
So what is the state of play of the congressional handicapping now?
A bit less than half of all voters say that the country would be better off if the Democrats ran Congress, while a bit more than one-third say they would like the GOP to remain in charge. Bush’s ratings are regularly below 40 percent, and his profile on the issue that voters care about most, energy prices, is virtually nonexistent.
The main GOP issue is terrorism, but as we succeed in the war on terror its saliency is dropping every month. Corruption has become a one-party issue, and the blame is falling squarely on the Republican leadership in Congress.
That a Kennedy fell off the wagon and Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) flew off the handle are not enough to besmirch the Democrats. Rep. William Jefferson’s Louisiana larceny — keeping $90,000 in his freezer, a new definition of frozen assets — is also not enough to offset the spectacle of Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) resigning and the House leadership running for cover.
So Morris is saying that a bit fewer than 50% of the country believes that a Democratic Congress might be better while 33% say it is fine the way it is. Not a particularly good snapshot for Republicans, but hey, November is still a long time off in political terms. But I still think they're whistling past the graveyard.
The next point, though, is important. While the GOP is celebrating some pretty good news this past week in the war on terror, success causes it to become less and less of an issue nationally. In a perverse sort of way Republicans would be better off if some terror group could manage an "event" some time in October because it would resurface an issue in which they are acknowledged to have a clear edge.
As terrorism slips in relevance, other issues obviously rise to take it's place. Morris thinks corruption is the key. Not me. Most Americans already assume politicians are corrupt. Nope, to me immigration is the issue. And, as I've been saying all along, nothing is going to happen on immigration this year. Now I know we have naysayers here that want to claim that a Republican Congress failing to pass an immigration bill before November won't hurt that Republican Congress, but I ask, does that logically track?
Top that off with increased gas prices and make sure you don't strike a match because you have a very volitile political mix which may cause a Congressional inversion.
We gridlock lovers will most likely be pleased to some extent (well, unless the Dems take the entire Congress ... but even if that happens, it will be blogging heaven). But, like Morris says, it's still just a little to early to tell.
That said, his record when it comes to predictions is laughable. He’s admitted as much.
He’s not really making a prediction here, I was being a bit facetious in the title. But he does point to some interesting numbers and trends and he does give you some good background on other elections you can compare to the upcoming one.
Hey, right now, this is all political junkie play time. Blog fodder. Fun to talk about stuff. Not much more.
Now I know we have naysayers here that want to claim that a Republican Congress failing to pass an immigration bill before November won’t hurt that Republican Congress, but I ask, does that logically track?
Well, "passing a law" is not the same thing as "taking some action". I’d be happy if the executive side of the government would start enforcing the immigration laws which are already on the books.
Maybe the Congressional Republicans could start doing some oversight on immigration law enforcement. That would look like they really were doing something about the problem as well as possibly really doing something about the problem. (Oversight might not actually change anything, but one can hope.)
The piece missing from the less then 50% for dems and 33% happy with the repubs is folks like myself who wish the houses moved more conservative then they currently are. If I was asked "Are you happy with the way congress is?" I would answer NO. That does not translate into a positive for the dems.
As far as I am concerned y’all can wake me up in September (primary season here in MA). And my congresscritter, Bahrnee Frank, will be running effectively unopposed so there’s not much I can do to affect this election season even then.