First, sorry for not posting in a couple days. Mid-term exams and term papers have claimed an even greater share of my limited resources. As a result, even this posting is a bit rushed and scattered.
First, a gut-call prediction: The Republican Party will continue to hold on to control of both the House and Senate. I expect this for the following reasons:
1. The Republicans have been admittedly timid about pursuing a truly Conservative slate of legislation, which is the primary reason they are in trouble at all. The Democrats, however, still refuse to submit any sort of concrete and detailed plan for the issues which Americans want addressed;
2. The Democrats have thrown a great deal of effort into making this election about Representative Foley, abandoning other issues to focus on a spectacular bit of slime which they may well have timed to be released just now. This is incredibly stupid, as I will explain in a moment;
3. The Democrats have bought their own hype, thinking that large portions of the voting public can and will be swayed in a short time. In reality, just as there were always people who would never vote for George W. Bush in 2004, there are many people now who will refuse to consider changing their Congressman or Senator. For good or ill, the impetus of incumbency is a real force, and rhetoric does not sway it.
Here’s the deal. Somewhere around 35% of those people who vote are Republicans, and another 35% of those people who vote are Democrats. That’s as in they usually identify with one party on most issues. That leaves 30% of people who do not regularly support one party, and those who do not regularly vote. Now, you won’t find that in any media guides, because when people are polled they are pushed towards picking one party, and remember that more and more, people find polls intrusive and do not answer them. So, for my numbers I prefer to go see how people actually vote. Now that can and does get sticky very fast; a Republican in New York is a whole lot different from a Republican in Georgia or Oklahoma, and the same for Democrats. The thing about a national party is that they operate effectively as coalitions, even though they purportedly have a platform and leadership.
With that in mind, there are really not very many national issues which sell in Congressional races. People tend to think of America, sure, but always in the context of their state and district when they are voting on Congress. So the first blunder by the Donks in playing up the Foley story, is that it has no personal meaning to most people. Sure, no one wants to re-elect a creep, but Foley already resigned and there is no evidence that any of the people running for office this election have that same proclivity for misdemeanor.
The second mistake of the Foley story, is the way the Donks jumped off their original tacks. A reasonable person might wonder why the Donks want to go on about Foley instead of Iraq, Jobs, or Gas Prices. Of course, that would lead to consideration that gas prices are plunging, so is the deficit, the Dow just set a record high, Unemployment is at a level awfully close to that classic definition of “full employment”, and even so more and more jobs are being created. As for Iraq, the antics of North Korea and Iran have reminded Americans that our military stands for something, something important and noble, and the Democrats have not exactly done much to support their claim that they back the troops. In fact, once folks start thinking about it, they could easily decide that the Donks are using the Foley story to avoid having to discuss how well the Bush Administration is doing.
That’s the third mistake. For years now, Democrats have tried to lay every sort of nasty event at the feet of President Bush. And sad to say, it’s worked to some extent, so that the President of the United States is blamed for every failing of any department anywhere, anytime. Responsible for everything, but gets credit for none. I mentioned above that with things as they are now, the Donks want very badly to avoid Bush getting noticed. The key to Dubya is that like Reagan, the Donks fear him. To the point of panic, I kid you not. Why? Think back to 2002. The Donks figured they were about to reclaim control of Congress, but Dubs pitched in and made a few appearances and did some campaigning, and instead of a loss the GOP gained seats. The Donks don’t bring it up, but analysts later determined that the 2002 Mid-term elections were clearly won through the efforts of the President. The Democrats really, really worry about that happening again, so they are doing everything they can to make the President look bad and convince Republican candidates that they would be hurt by close connection to President Bush.
But the Donks overplayed their hand, and ignored what would happen if – as happened – Bush was right and his policies led to success and prosperity. The sudden silence about Bush will lead some people to consider why the Donks don’t want to talk about Dubya. And everyone who gives some thought to how Bush is doing, will lean just a little bit towards his party, an imperfect part to be sure, but the only one that seems to want to do the job properly.
Will this be 2002 again? Probably not, but it won’t be 1994 either. For the Democrats to win on a level that would gain them control of the House or Senate, they need to be charismatic, clear, optimistic about America and honest with the public. And the Donks of this moment simply do not rise to that level.
Something more original later. For now, I have to get back to work, get some more coffee, and figure out how to answer those EBITDA and debt ratio problems.