Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Looking to the future

Democrats seem to be thinking that there's some sort of shift in the air, politically speaking, that Republicans are breaking apart and the Democrats will win in 2006 and then 2008. They point to Katrina/Rita, DeLay's indictment, the PlameGate story, and the Harriet Miers fallout as the main reasons for the GOP problems which will lead to a Democratic victory in the near future.

One very big problem: does anyone think any of those problems will exist come 2006? Let's face it, Katrina/Rita was a huge mistake by the media to overplay, and increasingly the real news about the hurricanes is coming through. Plus, by 2006, no one will really remember the media spin on the hurricane. And it'll be a non-issue come 2008. Oh, as an asides, it HAS done something the Dems don't want to see; the GOP listening to it's base and cutting costs and taxation dealing with the hurricanes. It'll be very hard to run against GOP candidates who are in the process (or would join the process if new nominees) of cutting taxes in the here and the now.

Secondly, there's the Tom DeLay indictments, which the Dems are jumping with glee over, since they ostensibly get to tackle one of the most powerful GOP leaders, and pull him out of the political game. Quite simply, the whole trial is a farce. The charges against DeLay are so thin that the prosecutor had to go fishing to find a grand jury that would press charges- and tried to hide that fact. The prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, has a long history of trying to bring Tom DeLay down, and the current situation that Earle's in is a really bad one- he jumped the gun and realizes that no one (unless the judge is a type) is going to buy it. And he'll be out of a job by the end of the year. It's also had the effect of giving DeLay and the GOP an added incentive to close ranks with one another, rather than bicker amongst each other.

The whole Valerie Plame story is effectively overblown, and I'm not even sure where or what it's doing at the moment. But suffice to say that it doesn't look likely that anyone will get charges pressed against them, unless the Special Investiagtor could produce evidence about who leaked the info about Valerie Plame (if, in any event, that info means she's a covert operative) and smack a few people with conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. But that's highly unlikely.

And lastly, there's Harriet Miers. At the end of the day, I really don't think many GOPers will vote against her in Congress. The only way she won't get nominated is if she completely flubs the Senate committee hearings. And I think that's highly unlikely. Bush will get his way on this- and the GOP knows that if they reject Miers (effectively to have Bush nominate "their" preferred candidate), there's no sure bet that Bush will get any chance to nominate McConnell, Lutting, or Brown. Plus, this issue isn't going to kill the Bush administration, or the GOP. It'll end up as just another media story fizzling.

Well, now that I've effectively taken straw man arguement that the Dems uphold against the GOP, what do I see happening in the 2006 and 2008 elections? Barring another major terror attack in the US, I think we'll see a few things happen:
1) With America once against watching for politics (it's a mid-term year, after all, in 2006) Bush will help the GOP campaign across the US. Bush alone drums up votes; the Dems don't have anything to counter that with.

2) The GOP message will be most likely centered around tax cuts/spending cuts, continue the GWOT, energy issues, and securing the borders. The Dem message? They've effectively admitted that they really don't HAVE any issues, just noisy rebuttals of anything the GOP says. I mean, if the GOP's message is "we like butter" the Dems would follow with the message of "no to butter!" That's effectively where their campaign and platform is at, right now.

3)By 2006, the US will start to pull troops out of Iraq (unless there's an Iranian invasion of Iraq, or an American invasion of Iran/Syria), and that'll effectively take the "no blood for oil!" rhetoric off the table. It'll become a non-issue. Not to mention, if the Dems DO try to use their anti-war rhetoric in 2006, it'll not only feel old, but trite, and piss alot of Americans off, once again. One of the major failings of the Kerry campaign in 2004 was that he could never reconcile his largely anti-war platform with the American people; he could rant about how bad he thinks the Iraqi war is going (and most of the country didn't buy it), but when it came time to substantiate his arguements, he waffled it every time, and ended up being stuck with absurdist statements that amounted to "Put me in office, and not only will I walk on water, but I'll make Iraq grrrrrreat!" And that's not even covering the issues dealing with Iran and Syria. Going into 2006 and 2008, do the Dems want to once again be seen as chickenshit on defense issues? Or, to put it bluntly: if Bush wanted to declare war on Syria, or launch airstrikes against Iran, would the Dems want to risk the political fallout of them holding a Daschle-like (remember Daschle's "Bush is a failure" speech the DAY AFTER combat operations commenced in Iraq? Senator Thune does.) hissy fit with the rest of the nation watching? They can get away with the Mother Sheehan crap now, because no one's really watching. But in an election year? For an example, even Kerry had to give a harsh speech against the Bin Laden tape that came out a few days before last year's election.

4) Mounting energy problems will most likely force this issue to the forefront in 2006 and 2008; Katrina and Rita have already done that (and that'll probably be their lasting impact) to some extent. The rising costs of heating oil this winter will continue it. The country does need an energy overhaul; more domestic drilling for oil and possibly a return to nuclear energy. The GOP will put forth a multi-front arguement for this; the Dems will just let their anti-intellectual and anti-capitalist eco-activist groups speak for them. That'll amount to a non arguement- and it'll completely disregard anything the GOP will say. It'll look like this: GOP- "We want drilling for oil, and new refineries built in the US to offset our dependence on the global oil industry. Also, it could boost GDP twofold; more US money being used in the US, and extra export industry for the US. Secondly, we want a return to nuclear energy- with better safeguards and efficient controls that before." Dems- "No! Don't listen to the Halliburton people! Live for the forests! Protect the wildlife of America- they'll be worth the hit your wallet will take! And down with American energy companies! They are Evil! Evil! Evil!" I know it's a bit overblown, but that's essentially what their arguement will come down to. Alot of hot air. Also, expect NASA to come up, and see how both sides handle it.

5) Possibly the most contentious issue will be illegal immigration. The Dems will fight this tooth and nail, but they'll fail because of a simple reason: The Global War on Terror. I expect the GOP to turn the immigration issue into a terror security threat. That'll take alot of wind out of the Dems' multiculturalist rhetoric that they'll bring forth, simply because the Dems have all but waived a white flag at dealing with national security. And with the polls showing that 2/3rd of the US wants a stronger illegal immigration policy, the Dems really can't win this, even with their media friends helping them.

6) If things continue the way they are, Bush won't have any 2nd term scandals or slowdown to really deal with. Nixon had WaterGate; Regan had Iran-Contra; Clinton had Monica. Bush has....nothing, of yet. And I don't think PlameGate will count for anything but a really osbscure farce. That alone will help Bush to formulate plans for 2006 and 2008.

7) God help the Dems if Rudy Guiliani or Condoleeza Rice run for President. They have nothing (including Hillary) who can beat either of them. Nothing.


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