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Thursday, October 19, 2006

2006 And 2008

Michael Barone has a great article from a couple of days ago at RealClearPolitics concerning the upcoming election, and the follow on elections in 2008. (h/t Charlie)

He points out, as I and others have, that the worst thing for a Democratic candidate for president in 2008 may well be Democratic control of Congress starting in January 2007. One of his major points is that polling, while favoring the Democrats nationwide, and in many contested races isn't favoring them by landslide margins.

Barone calls the phenomenon that we probably won't see a political realignment; when one party fundamentally changes the landscape by the shear number of votes they win by. 1994's GOP sweep of the House wasn't such a realignment either, when they won not only a lot of seats, but a lot of seats by a lot of votes. But it didn't carry over to the 1996 presidential elections, instead it showed folks, like today, were fed up with a do nothing Congress, but not much else.

Barone thinks, and I agree, that 2006 may well see the GOP pushed from power in the House and Senate, and still able to win the White House in 2008. To him it comes from polling that shows every major GOP contender for GW's job able to beat any of the top Democratic contenders.

I think that's important, but not as important as the agenda of the Democratic party if they get Congress. Many have talked of repealing, before the 2010 expiration, Bush's tax cuts. But the GOP crafted the original legislation pretty well. You have to basically kill the whole package, which would include the doubling of the child tax credit, the raise of the minumum income level to pay taxes, etc. In otherwords, they'd have to put the 30 million low income folks who came off the tax rolls since 2002 back on them, and explain it.

Iraq would cause them another problem. They want badly to leave, but also to avoid the "cut and run" moniker that's been attributed to them. Even a Clinton or Murtha type "redeployment" has already been painted as a way of quitting but claiming to be in the game.

Say they were able to push it through, with a veto proof majority, though. What happens if Syria, or Iran steps in to "calm down the masses", and take control of Iraq? Or another Ba'athist regime is installed, and the Shi'ites and Kurds are slaughtered again?

While the folks on the left will want to holler that it wouldn't have happened if Bush hadn't gone to war, the truth is they'll have to fight to prove it wasn't there fault. Keep Viet Nam in mind, while there were 8 years of Democractic presidents screwing the pooch over there, many people still believe Nixon was the one who started that particular war. John Kerry still refers to it as "Nixon's Viet Nam", though Kennedy and Johnson got us in, and kept us there for twice as long as Tricky Dick.

Their third problem is the economy. Right now, whether the left wants to admit it or not, it's doing quite well, with decent (3.5%) annual growth, low inflation, low interest rates, and crazy low unemployment.

Their biggest problem with it is they've never grasped that economies are cyclic. In late 2007 or early 2008 we will experience either a mild recession, or much slowed growth. Every GOP candidate out there will point to every vote by a Democrat against a Bush proposal as a sign that it was the Democratic controlled congress's fault that the economy slipped. "Congress stonewalled this proposal, that proposal, and every other proposal that would have made it better" will be a GOP rallying cry, and they'll be able to point at 2006 numbers to show they are right.

By the way, they probably won't be right on that issue, but it won't matter, the average voter isn't willing to do the homework to understand the economy. Instead they'll believe which ever soundbite they hear the most often. That recession is going to happen no matter who's in control of Congress, mark it on you calendar, and say you read it hear first.

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Blogger shoprat said...

I've noticed something about all these polls. It seems that the majority of Americans want the DEMs in control but they never ask "Which party will you be voting for?" It's the same with anti-imcumbency; voters want other districts to dump their incumbents while they keep theirs (because he's not as bad as the others.) It is quite possible that voters will want other districts to dump their Republican while they keep theirs. I don't know how the election is going to turn out and I don' think anyone else does either. I think the GOP will lose seats but I am not so sure about a shift in power.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

You make some good points. But I'm still hoping that the GOP will stay in control of congress.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

They may keep the Senate but I think the House is going to move to the left side of the street.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Shoprat, you could be right on that. It's possible many people want another districts rep gone, not theres.

I guess we'll all find out in a couple of weeks.

9:47 PM  

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