…or the DC consultants and gurus who control the Republican Party’s strategy and messaging. In case you haven’t noticed, the GOP hasn’t exactly capitalized on the fact that Barack Obama and the Democrats are flat on their back politically speaking and are falling back on “War On Women” rhetoric and climate change nonsense as a rationale for a continued Senate majority. Rove wrote a piece at the Wall Street Journal last week shilling for checks from that paper’s readers to bring him a wave election; he says your money is basically all that’s needed to pull off a big win in November.
It ought to be easy work annihilating the Dems in Senate races across the country this year…
In his assessment of the atmosphere surrounding the midterms, if not much else, Rove is correct. This is an environment in which there ought to be an electoral decimation of Barack Obama’s political fellows, and with a Senate that is embarrassingly dysfunctional — there are more than 300 bills passed by the House of Representatives sitting on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s desk awaiting a vote — an expectation of a Republican wave is anything but wishful thinking. Needing to gain six Senate seats to retake the majority and consign Reid to irrelevance, it’s virtually assured the GOP will pick up half that number from Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. There are eight other seats — from Louisiana, Alaska, Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan — that Republicans in a real wave election ought to be able to steal away from Reid and Obama.
But right now the modelers and prognosticators are only giving the GOP a slightly better than 50-50 chance of taking over the Senate when it ought to be more of a question of how big a margin they take it by. And why is that?
Rove’s alarm about fundraising might be more self-serving than instructive. The money shortage is but a symptom of a larger disease. The Republican Party, in part thanks to Rove’s actions, lacks credibility and trust with voters and activists — both of which it must have.
After all, how does the GOP sell itself as the party of reform when it’s asking voters to replace Harry Reid with Mitch McConnell? How does it sell itself as responsive to voters when John Boehner inexplicably touts amnesty for illegal immigrants as “good for the economy”? How can it stitch together a broad coalition of voters or present fresh ideas when senatorial fossils Pat Roberts and Thad Cochran can’t even get a majority of Republicans in their states to vote for them?
My piece goes into the war against the Tea Party for which the party’s establishment has done a terrible job of making amends – a war which Rove has played a major part in. It discusses the disgusting tactics used by the Haley Barbour machine in Mississippi to accuse the Tea Party of racism and use black Democrats as ringers to thwart the will of a majority of Republicans in that state. And it discusses immigration policy, which could easily be the ticket to a Senate majority but for the stupid statements of a John Boehner and the continued rumors of GOP capitulation to Obama, the Democrats and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to sell out the American worker in order to pander to a mythical Hispanic vote which is simply waiting for the Republicans to relent on immigration before it will switch sides and become conservative.
The GOP has poisoned its own well in this cycle, when if it had its act together could very well have brought home a net gain of 10 or even 12 seats. But the party’s brand is tarnished, because of so-called political “architects” like Rove and John Feehery who consistently give bad advice and caution against actually educating and improving the American electorate and instead encourage Republican candidates to present as Democrats in purple states. If the GOP would firmly announce it’s against corporate welfare and crony capitalism and for free enterprise and economic opportunity, if it would insist on giving American workers priority over illegal immigrants and if it would demand fiscal accountability and the rule of law, and then prove to its base and the electorate at large that a Republican majority would turn those promises into action, this election would be the wave everyone expected.
But there is little trust and even less credibility surrounding the Republican brand as yet, and that poor image is dragging down even solid candidates like Bill Cassidy here in Louisiana, Cory Gardner in Colorado and Tom Cotton in Arkansas. And I don’t know how that can be fixed in the next six weeks.