Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In 2005, I cautioned Bush and the GOP from getting too giddy over Bush's re-election, arguing that it was less an endorsement of Bush and his policies than a repudiation of Kerry... and Bush didn't listen, totally misreading reality by claiming he had 'political capital', only to watch the GOP lose its majority in the next election.

In 2009, I cautioned Obama and the Democrats from getting too giddy over Obama's election, arguing that it was less and endorsement of a liberal agenda than it was a combination of McCain being such a terrible nominee and a repudiation of Bush... and Obama and the Democrats didn't listen, attempting to push their policies on a public that really isn't interested, and now has suffered three high-profile losses in a row and is in danger of losing a whole bunch of seats this November.

And in 2010, I caution Republicans and conservatives from getting too giddy over Brown's win of the Massachusetts Senate seat. This was a repudiation of Coakley and Obama and what the Democrats are trying to do... it isn't an endorsement of Republicans and conservative programs (note that in Brown's victory speech, he claimed this a victory for independents, he didn't claim a victory for either the GOP or conservatives). The key to Brown's victory was his winning the independent vote and they voted for him as a counter to the Democrats and not because they have all decided they're really conservative Republicans.

The GOP has benefited from 'not being liberal Democrat' in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races as well as in the Massachusetts Senate race... and being the opposition can win one some seats, especially when the party in power so misreads public sentiment.

But at some point, GOP candidates are going to have to be 'for something' as opposed to simply being against whatever the Democrats are trying to do... and it is critical that the GOP offer up programs that appeals to independent voters and not just the far right slice of the electorate. As much as conservatives hate to hear it, they're going to vote for the Republican come heck or high water, the real battle is for the independents - who, by definition, don't completely agree with the conservative agenda - and the GOP will remain in the minority if they insist on pushing a hard right agenda.