Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Politics of Forgotten Politics Past


Everything is coming up roses for Democrats these days. The President is loved. Americans are uplifted by his words and change is poised to spill across the land--nothing is going to stop us now! Except, such exuberance is part and parcel of any new administration and history always has something to say about such matters. These days feel similar to President Bush's election in 2000--sans the goodwill among Americans--but Republicans were similarly glib. Karl Rove was planning to make the GOP the dominant party in the U.S. for generations. He would even went as far as attempting to exterminate the Democratic party. The tide has turned, though.

Democrats are in a fog of triumphalism that cannot possibly continue. Political luck goes only so far. To latch on to the remote possibility of doing what the GOP attempted to foist upon the Democrats is a waste of energy in a time when grave circumstances hover over the Capitol.

Here's a bit of the liberal naivete going around: Two respected bloggers, Alex Koppelman at Salon's War Room blog and Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic envision a Republican Armageddon in today's Gallup story culled from 2008 election data which says only four states (all in the wild West) are overwhelmingly red. Koppelman adds, "This is most likely not the kind of thing that gets fixed easily." Really?
How quickly the past eight years are forgotten-specifically 2002-2005--when the tables were turned. After fearing a Democrat would never win another presidential election and flubbing two straight, we have left-leaning journalists falling over themselves in glee.

Both bloggers padded their arguments with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments to the RNC today where his fear of the party's collapse was not as fearful as other may view it--as John McCain might say, "the fundamentals" of the party are sound. The Gallup map shows only Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Alaska as solidly Republican. Shockingly, the data puts Texas in the competitive column.

Now, really! There are an infinite amount of occurrences that can change the map and attitudes in a hurry. The data based on party affiliation and skewing sharply towards Democrats is going to continue to grow as it has for the last 10-15 years, but to have a blanket of Bible Belt states in competition is highly improbably once you attach a conservative candidate to the polling. No matter who is in the White House regions like the inner West and the South where the post-industrial economy ha not penetrated the workforce, these areas will continue to vote for a Republican candidate.

The easiest way for Republicans to remake the map without changing the way they do business is simply to wait for President Obama to falter in alleviating the failing economy. If he does it poorly enough, House Republicans for one could easily siphon off large chunks of the Democratic majority Nancy Pelosi presides over by 2010 or 2012.

Indeed, the country is trending to the left and will continue with new young voters and immigrants, but touting these results so early in the new administration is kind of like saying the Yankees will, without a doubt, win the World Series after spending a third-world country's GNP on three superstars. There is much time to for everything to change and it is guaranteed to happen. Besides, the Three G's--gays, guns and God--have a way of stoking conservative fears around the country, too.

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