8/25/2005

Daily Kos: What Democrats are Doing RIGHT, Part II: The GOP Ain't That Hot

Who's afraid of the big, bad, elephant? You know what, I'm not. I have never thought Karl Rove was a genius. I don't think Bush is this unstoppable force. I think Bush got lucky, and threw everything the Republican army had to survive another day, and by doing so, wasted their arsenal for years to come. Yes, they have a better message machine, and are "on message" at all hours and show "unity", and they probably will until 2006 comes around and they lose a bunch of seats. Then watch them fall apart.

As anyone who has watched the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, or any reality competition involving teams, you're only unified as long as you're winning and can shove your disagreements under the veneer of victory.

Well, here's what's waiting under that surface, and it ain't pretty.

* VirginiaBelle's diary :: ::
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The Leadership Gap

* "But who shall the kingdom go to?" "To the strongest," replied Alexander, and with that, he died. It is telling that Bush has not groomed an heir. And I'm not simply talking about the fact that Cheney isn't running (despite what Woodward says). If I were a Republican, frankly, I would be offended that my leader has shown a disregard for the future not only of his leadership, his legacy, if you will, but for that of the party. In 2004, the Republicans counted on straight-ticket voting. Congressional Republicans essentially threw all of their eggs into the Bush basket and ran as Bush's men, not on their own accomplishments. This makes them entirely reliant on Bush's training of a standard-bearer. When you take on the responsibility of the party, you best live up to that responsibility. He hasn't. As such, there's going to be something that hasn't happened in awhile: a vicious, open primary on both sides with no clear favorite to win. I believe Democrats benefit from this situation, as any Republican running will be attempting to run as a continuation of the Bush term. It is expected that we have a competitive primary. But Republicans have never been good with open fields. There's a difference in the way we run our parties. Republicans have, historically, picked their nominee from the leadership, often based on whomever came in second in the last primary. Well, that would indicate McCain, but do you really think the leadership will do that? They aren't very on message if that's their plan. They should let Redstate know, for one thing.

* Bill Frist: Watching Bill Frist fall from up and coming GOP star personally picked by the White House to supplant Trent Lott (who was too independent, can you imagine?) to feeble Senate leadership whose presidential ambition keeps kicking his dead campaign has been the highlight of my Spring and Summer, for humor content alone. Watching him sway from appeasing the middle to appeasing the Right, from showing backbone so he doesn't look like a rubberstamp but still eager to show he's a rubberstamp, well, how can that not be satisfying, across the aisle? But I'm not concerned right now with Frist's pitiful presidential hopes. I'm satisfied with the fact that because of them, he has been an ineffective Senate leader. Compare him to Harry Reid and then dare to tell me that Republicans are the better party? I was all for flaying Lott alive (he was too good at his job for his own good), but I understand those Republican senators who sorely regret jumping that ship so quickly. Kudos to the blogs for sticking with that story, by the by.

* Ah! well a-day! what evil looks Had I from old and young! Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung. Oh Tom Delay. Poor, persecuted Tom Delay. Unlike Bill Frist, Tom Delay is good at his job. In fact, like Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich before him, Tom Delay is a little too good at his job, and a little too friendly with the outer limits of what is acceptable, especially in a Good Ole Boys' Club like Congress, where reaching that threshold is damn impressive. The point is, that if your enemies list is longer than Nixon's, you better make sure not to give them ammunition. He didn't do this. He loaded a gun and gave it away. And Republicans need him. They can't abandon him and back off and say, see, we're still ethical, precisely because he is good at what he does. Its a curse.

* Mehlman and the RNC: I can say nothing against them. They do a fine job and we should steal as much of their game plan as we can.

* The Dobsons of the World: I never thought I'd say this, but they should've listened to Barry Goldwater. They went to bed with the wrong branch of their party in 2004, and now they're stuck going to prom with them in 2006 and 2008. The Christian Right has been lingering in the background of the GOP for years, always a useful weapon, but always something to be kept in the background, grounded, and never touted, because that would be the death of the Republican party. I'm trying to think of a Democratic equivalent and can't....especially not one that won't get me flayed alive on this site. Anyway, Dobson et al. got tired of that, with some reason. I wouldn't want to be a party's dirty little secret, either. And 2004 gave them a taste of true power. And now they expect more, and won't tolerate being shoved to the shadows again. Hence the earlier comment about Bush using all his arsenal. The Christian Right is like the nuclear option for the Republican party. And they won't have a leader they can believe in with God-like reverance in 2008 or 2006. I bet quite a few Congressmen are regretting chasing out those moderate and independent Business Republicans right about now.

The gloom of GOP Foreshadowing

* 2008 is a lousy field, Groomed or not: I've been over this pretty well in Part I, but it is worth highlighting again the lack of a decent nominee in the 2008 batch. Add ontop of that the fact that Republicans are having a sluggish recruiting season. Don't just look at Katherine Harris as an example, as it seems to me that Ms. Harris is somewhat of a special case. Look at the failure to find good challengers for Debbie Stabenow, or Maria Cantwell. Capito hasn't committed. Ben Nelson is going to keep his seat, too. Imagine that.

* Hackett mattered. At least in Ohio: I'm not going to say that Hackett symbolized a inevitable 1994. I can't. But I can say that Ohio has a few GOP seats that are ripe for the picking, not to mention a statehouse. And I will say that Ohio isn't the only place, and Hackett isn't the only veteran on the ticket. The GOP defense for the election is along the lines of, well, she was a lousy candidate. Fair enough, but consider how god-awful Republican recruitment has been. They're running a lot of god-awful candidates in a lot of close and not so close districts. It's like they're not even trying.

* Look yonder to the Statehouses: I have long been failing to get people excited about Tim Kaine and his race to replace Mark Warner (who cannot run for re-election, and by the way, I love him). But I think this off-year election will be pretty damned important in the scheme of things, so watch it. The point is, we're looking to be in good shape of picking up a lot of statehouses and doing well in the smaller, local races. In fact, we did alright on the local level in 2004. If you don't think this is important, ask someone who worked for Kerry on voter protection, etc. in Ohio and compare that with someone who worked for Kerry on voter protection in Pennsylvania how much it mattered to have a friendly face in the Statehouse. The states are a barometer for a feel of the nation. Much of future nation-wide policy gets tested in the states first. And, should Roe v. Wade be overturned, you better believe your Governor is going to be important. We should pick up New York, Mass., and Ohio in the least.

* It's Iraq, stupid: No matter how much we bitch about not having a cohesive and consistent policy on the Democratic side (a point I will delve farther into in Part III, because I believe that strategy shouldn't be laid out until August of 2006), Republicans are in worse shape on Iraq. They have a message. It's just a bad message, and the wrong one. I know, preaching to the choir, but in case you haven't turned around, the choir has gotten hella bigger. They lucked out in that the tide didn't turn against the war until after the election, partially because the president took his eye off the ball with his ill-fated Social Security attempt. Still, it was bound to bite them good and hard in the ass sometime, and methinks sometime is 2006. I've heard the drumbeat, and it's getting louder.

* The Republican Field Strategy is Weak: This was also covered in Part I, but I'll point out some additional weaknesses. Not only are they relying on a frenzy to drive rural voters who have always in the past stayed home to the polls, but they are counting on the support of the very people who have been most affected by Iraq, and are becoming disillusioned with their saviour, Bush. There is a void there that we can fill if we take the time and knock on the doors. We can't leave it to the last minute, but doing the shoe-leather NOW, in my mind, could have huge results. Use Virginia as an example. Warner persisted until Southern Virginia reluctantly elected him, then, once elected, he made sure not to forget him, and they love him for it. Well, it'll take persistance, but don't forget that Democrats are better on the issues and better at governing. If we govern well, it will not be quickly forgotten.

* In the war of the Blogosphere, we're winning It's a pretty bold statement to make, but the right-wing blogosphere has failed to produce the community the left-wing blogosphere has. It's failed to produce the money the left-wing blogosphere has. Look at the numbers. Bush wasn't making his money off the internet like Kerry was. Republicans couldn't raise that kind of money for a special election. And they couldn't get the volunteers and media noise from it. Think of it like this. How is stop her now doing, again? In one cycle, we have been able to develop netroots as deep as the twenty year direct mail program. Pretty cool, huh?

* Lastly, if you forget about the center, it will leave you The election of 2000 was all about the battle for the center. Well, it looks like Republicans have abandoned the center. Look at every poll and ignore the total results. Look at the numbers for independents and Republicans only. Especially for Independents. You can say with a fair amount of consistency that most independents will side with us at this point. This is a good thing. The party that the middle believes is more reflective of it's value is the party that reaps the long-term benefits. Picking up those independents in just five years is pretty stunning. We also have managed to rope all the Greens and a lot of the stay-at-home liberals back into the process. In fact, disputes aside, when it comes down to it, we're more unified than they are. I know about the message. I know. But I'm talking fact. I'm talking about a deep division between business interests and social conservative interests. I'm talking about a massive rift between the moderates and the right that the party is just ignoring. I'm talking about a failure to recognize the needs of libertarians. On our side, we are re-recognizing the needs of populists, and welcoming libertarians. We're welcoming the balanced-budget folk. We're a safe haven for the reasonable. Even if their ship has more guns, ours is a better one to be on if theirs is sinking.

Daily Kos: What Democrats are Doing RIGHT, Part II: The GOP Ain't That Hot

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