Friday, March 10, 2006

2006 a Face-Off Between Two Failed Parties?

An interesting article from the LA Weekly and Marc Cooper, reporting on what Cooper calls “Fear and loathing set in among Republican foot soldiers”:

But listening carefully to the handful of serious pols present — those more interested in securing the current conservative majority than in mindlessly pandering to the paying guests — I heard a radically different message seeping out. A sense of fear and loathing seems to be creeping in among those Republicans who prefer to think in cool, strategic terms rather than in purely ideological ones. Maybe even a sense of foreboding that among the many lesser accomplishments of the Bush administration — creating the morass in Iraq, the racking up of record deficits, the mucking about in corruption scandals — we will soon be able to add one more Mission Accomplished: the definitive scuttling of the 1994 Gingrich Revolution. The overturning of Republican rule, and maybe as soon as this November.

Cooper was attending the annual David Horowitz hosted Restoration Weekend. He provides quotes from some of the speakers that I think have merit and that Republicans should spend some time considering. I don’t know if I agree that things are as dark as Cooper seems to retell at times in his article, but there are real issues out there for Republicans and dealing with them correctly will be critical.

Pat Toomey per Cooper:

Some of the darkest vibes were carried by Pat Toomey, a former Pennsylvania congressman………. Toomey had recently commissioned a poll in the 20 most vulnerable Republican congressional districts. And the results, he said, were alarming. By a margin of 62 percent to 29 percent, the respondents said the country was “on the wrong track.” The Democrats topped Republicans by a margin of 42 percent to 36 percent in overall favorability ratings. President Bush scored a rating of 40 percent favorable to 52 percent unfavorable. Congress fared worse, at 35 percent favorable to 45 percent unfavorable……………….. “We have to acknowledge we have a president who is not popular,” Toomey added. And this was said a few days before the new CBS poll placed Bush’s popularity at an all-time low of 34 percent. “We also have a war that is not popular, and there is also that whiff of corruption.”

A Toomey sponsored poll showing those results are not good, and because it is a Republican sponsored poll you can’t shrug the results off as resulting from a biased MSM.

John Andrews per Cooper:

“I feel the Republican Party in my state and nationally is a party that has lost its way. Colorado is purple and in danger of turning blue,” he said. “It could be the harbinger for a very stormy 2006.” And unless the party starts offering up a reason to vote Republican this fall, “It’s going to be a very grim year for us.”………….

Missouri’s own Lt. Governor Pete Kinder per Cooper:

Like some of the other analysts, he was mostly worried about a low Republican turnout this fall — something that pollsters call the “intensity gap.” Democrats may now be more motivated to vote than Republicans. Citing a growing concern over spending, special-interest earmarks on legislation, and the Abramoff-like corruption scandals, Kinder said, “The demoralization of the party is real. I hear it everywhere.”……………………..

Kinder went on and took Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo to task – hard:

Tancredo, who was one of the few elected officials to stand with the Minutemen, has repeatedly attacked Bush for proposing a guest-worker program and has opened up a visible rift inside the GOP………… But Kinder scoffed at Tancredo as someone “who will take us back to minority status by replicating nationally what happened in California,” referring to Pete Wilson’s ill-fated support for Proposition 187. “I’m warning you,” Kinder told the crowd, continuing his thrashing of Tancredo. “His tone is going to turn a lot of people off.”

Kinder made me proud by doing the following per Cooper:

“I want to make sure you get it right on Tancredo,” he told me. “So write this down as a direct quote from me: ‘Reaganism was sunny, optimistic, confident and forward-looking. Tancredo is angry and defensive. The difference couldn’t be clearer. If we go down that latter path, we lose.”………..

Kinder is the man……………….Here is what I think and you can directly quote me………Strong……

John Shadegg per Cooper:

“We’re literally whistling by the graveyard, facing the stiffest of headwinds,” Shadegg said, referring to the Abramoff scandal……………… “I believe these scandals are probably the end of the 1994 revolution,”………….. Congress does two things well: overreacting and doing nothing……….

Those two things do seem to be areas that Congress has historically performed best at, overreacting and doing squat……….

I also like this line by Cooper:

Other panels, on the future of the Democratic Party — including one I participated in as a speaker — found little to be optimistic about. The face-off in 2006 seems to be a confrontation between two failed parties, and the tension will be generated by seeing which one fails more. ……………..

It’s sad but I think Cooper’s observation has some real truth to it, and wise insight I think as to how the 2006 election is going to unfold. The Dems who stand for nothing, can’t lead and were kicked out of power 10 years ago, and the Republicans who year after year seem to have been in an evolution cycle that is giving them more and more of some traits of the party they replaced………………………….

I think the general sentiment of the average moderate voter is neither party is an appealing choice. It will come down to picking the best of the worst for many voters. Voter turn-out will probably be very low given many voters will be simply disgusted with politics in general. There probably has not been a better time in years for a qualified third party candidate to run considering the current sentiment of many voters from both parties to just “throw all the bums out”…………………….