Wednesday, August 11, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC – Democrats are already nervous about November’s congressional elections. The bad news for them – and good news for America – is that their defeat may be even worse than they think.
In 1994, Democrats knew the midterm elections would be tough. First-year President Bill Clinton had reversed course from campaign promises and announced the largest middle-class tax hike in American history. He took on, and booted, divisive issues like gays in the military, and tasked his wife with constructing a schmozzle of a health-care package.
Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich’s Republicans offered the country a concise alternative in their ten-point “Contract with America.”
The result, when voters went to the polls that November, was more dramatic than people expected. Republicans captured both chambers of Congress in a nationwide sweep.
In 2010, indicators for the ruling Democrats are worse than they were 16 years ago. The generic ballot, which polls voters’ preferences of Republican or Democratic congressional candidates, was tied on Election Day in 1994, and the GOP only saw its first, slight, lead that autumn. Today, Republicans are ahead in the generic ballot by 6 points, according to the RealClearPolitics.com average, and have enjoyed leads since June of 2009.
Then, there are the issues. This Democratic Congress actually did pass health-care reform, in a monstrous piece of legislation that they did not read, and which a majority of Americans want to see repealed. Unemployment remains high as businesses groan under massive regulation and impending tax hikes. As federal debt surpasses the nation’s GDP, and trillion-dollar deficits are projected for the next decade, a newly engaged citizenry is taking a look at its elected leaders. They do not like what they see.
As the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful legislator on the planet. She is also ridiculous. One could spend a lifetime outlining the absurdity of Pelosi’s positions and statements on issues from the economy to health-care to immigration to the CIA. But a handier approach is to send folks to, say, YouTube, and invite them to watch a clip of the Speaker – just pick one at random – and suggest they make up their own minds. After watching Pelosi opine on any matter, ask yourself – would you trust this person to work an electric can-opener? Now consider that this is the top lawmaker of the world’s sole superpower.
Consider, also, that Pelosi became Speaker because House Democrats looked around and said, “Yep, she’s the best we’ve got” – and, from a group that includes Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, Barney Frank, et al., they may be right.
As for President Obama, Americans are not seeing the brilliant, moderate, outcome-oriented leader they willed him to be, but a hard-left ideologue who wouldn't know the answer to a doorbell if it weren't printed on his teleprompter.
To win the House, Republicans need to pick up 40 seats this November. In 1994, the GOP added 54 but, based on this climate, commentator Bill Kristol calls for Republicans to gain 60 seats or more.
The Senate will be tougher, but political consultant Dick Morris, who helped rescue Clinton’s presidency after the 1994 shellacking, says Republicans should win the 10 seats they need to control that chamber.
A lot can happen between now and November, but welcome change seems on the way.
Theo Caldwell is the author of Finn the half-Great.