Saturday, August 15, 2009

Prediction for 2010?

The Great John Hinderaker discusses that here, in a Powerline post entitled "A Republican Congress in 2010?"

Most interesting in his piece is this segment regarding a Republican home run in the next election (bold emphasis mine):

But I think these strategists are re-fighting the last war. That is, they are extrapolating Bill Clinton's story and applying it to Barack Obama. Could things shake out that way? Perhaps. But that was then and this is now, and the current uproar over Obama's government takeover of health care dwarfs anything that happened in 1994. And Obama isn't Bill Clinton. Clinton is, I think, much smarter than Obama. He had a basic understanding of economics that Obama lacks. And in a pinch, Clinton didn't really believe in much of anything, while Obama is a hard leftist, by American standards.
I've had the same thoughts and discussions regarding the difference between Clinton and Obama. Bill Clinton was, to me, first a politician and second an ideologue. Obama, like Jimmy Carter before him, is the reverse. In other words, I believe whole heartedly that Clinton's worldview is centered around his Liberal/Left ideology, but more precious to him is/was political success. Hence, at the conclusion of the Democrats' drubbing in 1994, Clinton took to the airwaves and said to the American people (paraphrase): "I heard your voice in the last election." Case in point: Clinton's constant self congratulation for creating budget surpluses. Anyone with half a brain can figure out that, without Newt Gingrich and the Republican Majorities forcing the issue on Clinton, he'd have never even given it (budget deficits) a moment's consideration.

I think Obama will not be so fickle with his core beliefs. In that sense, he's vulnerable in 2012. Let's pretend that Republicans do take back both houses in 2010, Obama will most likely double-down on his radicalism, rather than go with the flow of voter sentiment.

That said, a 2010 re-taking of Congress is a pipe dream without a unifying strategy. Congressional elections are won on the local level - what did you do for the district/state? - rather than on the national one. That's why 1994's Contract With America was such a powerful concept. When legislators pledged to the nation that they would band together to bring a list of important issues to the floor of both houses of Congress for a vote, it changed the whole dynamic of Congressional elections.

We need something of this nature again if we want to capitalize on voter dissatisfaction with Democrats. Call it "Pledges to America" or whatever, but a list of five to ten things that resonate with voters and offer to bring them to a vote if elected. Some examples:

  1. a pledge to scuttle the "public option" debate as its currently written, and introduce interstate portability options that do not empower the government
  2. a pledge to scuttle cap and trade
  3. a pledge to refund to the tax payer all of the unused stimulus money in Obama's recent Stimulus Bill

I could think of a few others, but you get the drift. Without something like this being advertised and offered to the American People, the fight to retake the Legislature will be difficult.