Friday, March 28, 2008

The Death Of The Elephant As We Know It

Editor and Publisher is reporting that the Sunday Magazine in the New York Times is going to address an important political issue. Is time up for the Republican party? This isn't a piece that Republicans can whine about to their conservative or neo-conservative friends. The article examines the 2006 election and takes insights from influential Republicans such as Ken Mehlman and Rich Bond, former chairman and consultant respectively. Basically, it doesn't look pretty for the GOP.

From Editor and Publisher:

“Karl Rove had a plan to realign American politics for generations. Now GOP leaders are struggling to prevent another 1964,” reads the rest of the cover tag. The article was penned by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, who also writes for Rolling Stone. Ken Mehlman, the former party chairman, says in the massive piece, “What is concerning is that we lost ground in every one of the highest -growth demographics” in 2006. “If there are Republicans out there who think that 2006 was a year that could be changed by a few votes in a few districts,” he adds, “they need to wake up.” Much of the article examines the plight of Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who is in charge of turning around the GOP’s fortunes. But the article notes, “In their intimacy with the numbers, many Republican operatives now worry that crucial segments of the electorate are slipping away from them." For example, “Republicans had traditionally won the votes of independents; in 2006, they lost them by 18 percent….Suburban voters, long a Republican constituency, favored Democrats in 2006 for the first time since 1992.” Says longtime GOP candidate/consultant Rich Bond: "Tom was dealt an almost unwinnable hand." Many more Republicans than Democrats are stepping down this year, making it almost impossible for the GOP to make gains, the article relates. The influential Cook Political Report offers an even worse assessment, projecting that 12 of the 14 seats most likely to change hands now belong to Republicans. But Cole sees fully 75 seats in play and feels John McCain at top of ticket will help in many. “Cole’s strategy is not complicated,” Wallace-Wells observers, “but it does contain an essential difficulty: at a moment when Washington is deeply unpopular, he wants his candidates to run as insurgents, but voters still identify Republcians with that they don’t like about Washington.”

And that is what the primary problem is for the GOP. They held power in Washington exclusively from 2000- 2006 and the Congress going back to 1994. In that short time they became more corrupt than any Congress in a long, long time. Their ideology sounded good to many independents in theory fifteen years ago, but now seeing it in practice has shown the fallacy of neo-con thought.

Cole may have a simple strategy, but that will translate into a simple outcome, the further destruction of the Republican party, not only in Washington, but in many states and regions across the country.