The Republican loss in the special election for Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District last Saturday should be a sharp wake up call for Republicans: Either Congressional Republicans are going to chart a bold course of real change or they are going to suffer decisive losses this November.
The facts are clear and compelling.
Saturday’s loss was in a district that President Bush carried by 19 percentage points in 2004 and that the Republicans have held since 1975.
This defeat follows on the loss of Speaker Hastert’s seat in Illinois. That seat had been held by a Republican for 76 years with the single exception of the 1974 Watergate election when the Democrats held it for one term. That same seat had been carried by President Bush 55-44% in 2004.
The Anti-Obama, Anti-Wright, and Anti-Clinton GOP Model Has Been Tested – And It Failed
Republicans Have Lost the Advantage on Every Single-Issue Poll
Some of the the suggested courses of action at the end are pretty comical, though:
Overhaul the census and cut its budget radically.
Implement a space-based, GPS-style air traffic control system.
Declare English the official language of government.
I am interested to see how kos’ contention that the NRCC is going to be completely fuxxored cash-wise come the campaign proper works out. Certainly the GOP is having to play a lot more defense (and spend a lot of money in previously deep-red districts) this year.
Senator McCain is currently running ahead of the Republican congressional ballot by about 16 percentage points. But there are two reasons that this extraordinary personal achievement should not comfort congressional Republicans.
First, McCain’s lead is a sign of the gap between the McCain brand of independence and the GOP brand. No regular Republican would be tying or slightly beating the Democratic candidates in this atmosphere. It is a sign of how much McCain is a non-traditional Republican that he is sustaining his personal popularity despite his party’s collapse.
I’ve never agreed with the assertions on this forum that McCain is the second coming of Bush, and apparently neither does Gingrich.
You don’t agree because you, and whatever unholy alliance the Republican Party has made with its motley crew of rednecks, evangelicals, and laissez-faire economists are looking really hard for a reason to continue voting Republican after the current disaster.
There’s little to be found in McCain’s voting record the last 8 years to suggest he’s any different than any other “vote the Bush slate” Republican. But, hey, if you’ve bought into his “rugged independent” brand, good for you - in the end, we all figure out how to justify voting our prejudices.
The real problem is that rural America’s view of McCain is distorted. He’s probably not the second coming of Bush - he’s probably a more competent administrator (it’d be hard not to). That being said - he’s not at all the independent maverick everyone thinks he is. He’s at least as militaristic as Bush - probably moreso (read Yglesias’s article in TAP on this subject). It’s hard to say where he is economically - eight years ago he rightfully opposed the Bush tax cuts, but now he’s become an absolute panderer to the idiotic supply-sider part of the conservative base.
But if you look at his voting record - with like 3 glaring exceptions (McCain Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, and like one other bill) he’s basically a run of the mill conservative Republican. The idea that he doesn’t toe the party line, the idea that he’s some kind of maverick - it’s just not true. But because he’s buddy buddy with the media they let him get away with it.
Liberals like me know that lots of folks in “the political center and rural America” view Mccain as an independent. Our awareness of this perception is not the problem. It’s the false nature of this perception that’s the problem.
I’m not denying that, but people seem to forget very quickly just how important “values” become when people vote. What did exit polls say was the number one issue in 2004? It wasn’t Iraq. It was the values issue.
Dems who think 2008 is a slam dunk keep focusing on the issues that seem so obvious to them and forget that a lot of people have different priorities. I’m not going to make value judgements about what other people think is important, but many people do and they mistakenly discount those “lesser” issues.
In my opinion the real reason Republicans have been winning is because they positioned themselves as the “values” party. It’s enough of an issue for enough voters that it’s thrown many elections to the right.
Nice, bigdruid. As usual, you mount your soapbox and spew vitriol to the four corners of the earth without bothering to check your facts. “Continue voting Republican”? Hah. Who did I vote for in 2004? Kerry. 2000? Gore. 1996? Clinton.
Fundraising for congressional races is grimsauce for the GOP. And it’s going to be a bloodbath come November. Anyone who says otherwise is deluding themselves. Of course, on the other side of the coin, anyone who thinks it is inconceivable that McCain might win the presidential election in November is equally deluded.
It’s not about individual examples. And even if it was, it’s not as if the Dems are providing an alternative (see Clinton/Lewinsky, Spitzer, etc.) There is a group of voters (not all of which are christian conservatives) who consider social values to be under attack. For them, it is the pre-eminent issue and the Repubs have made it their own.
Just out of curiousity, how is it that “rural” voters equals “center”? Aren’t they, by a large margin, a minority of the population whose importance is exaggerated by the happenstance of our political system?
Who said that rural equals center? However, I would point out that suburbia tends to split with about half following the same path a rural voters and the other half following urban voters. Not that any group is monolithic in it’s voting.
McCain’s maverick image is a perfect counterbalance to the low ratings GWB is receiving, and makes him seem to be something new. In nominating McCain, the GOP picked without question the best candidate they possibly could have chosen. By doing so quickly and decisively, they did it in the best way possible.
Meanwhile, the Democrats punished Florida by denying them any representation (instead of halving it as the GOP did); while one can blame Republicans for that doing, what’s their excuse in Michigan? That these states have no delegates is inexcusable. But worse, you have not one but two very highly-regarded candidates, each representing a faction that the Democrats have historically leaned upon for votes, wasting their ammo on each other. And the dirty tricks the Clintons are pulling are doing to their own party what they once did to Republicans.