Which Way Did They Go?
Monday, April 10, 2006 :::
Via Andrew comes this John Fund piece on what some see as the growing parallels between 1994 and 2006. This was a particularly ripe observation regarding the special election to replace Randy Cunningham in San Diego:
Republicans claim to be confident that Ms. Busby [the Democratic candidate] won't reach the 50% barrier and eventually will lose a runoff to the top GOP vote-getter. But they said the same thing just before Democrat almost won a special House election for what should have been a safe seat in Ohio. Should Ms. Busby win in a district where only 30% of registered voters are Democrats, it "would set off political shock waves," says GOP pollster Bill McInturff.
Indeed, even a Busby showing in the 45% range could touch off panicked responses from Republicans--similar to those from Democrats when they lost a series of key special elections in the spring on 1994. "Panicked politicians are not a pretty sight," says GOP pollster Whit Ayres. "They usually run in the wrong direction."
How true. And then, John sticks the knife in deep:
So far that's exactly the direction that Republican have chosen to run in the last year as their national numbers and President Bush's approval ratings have softened. From their scramble to ram through a national legislative solution to Terri Schiavo's plight, to their overreaction to Hurricane Katrina, to their failure to recognize the public's disgust with pork-barrel projects, to the Dubai Ports deal, Republicans have appeared to the world to be as unprincipled and rudderless as the politicians they campaigned against back in 1994. Unless they change course dramatically in the seven months between now and Election Day, they may well find themselves facing the same fate as the Democratic political dinosaurs of that year that they replaced.
I sense that to at least some degree, Virginia Republicans understand this (at least those in the House). Having run pell-mell in 2004 toward the tax raising exist, and watching in 2005 as their panic helped sink the Kilgore campaign, they have, for now, decided to hang together.
But that provides precious little comfort to Republican members in Northern Virginia, where national passions seem to have more sway in electoral outcomes than events in Richmond. If so, they should be looking on with horror at what their congressional counterparts are doing...to themselves and everyone else.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 4/10/2006