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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Election 2002: What Does It Mean?

First, a few rays of light for Democrats:

1. The Dems picked up a few key Governorships.

2. OK, Bush and Rove are geniuses. But if a few states had swung by 2%, Gephardt and Daschle would be geniuses.

3. Maybe the Republicans will lurch right, alienate the electorate, and self destruct. I think this is a very slim reed - this victory is being hailed as a triumph for Bush, not the NRA or the Christian Right. Republicans need simply to unite behind a proven winner. Does Trent Lott have an agenda? Does Tom DeLay? Who cares? When Bush walks into the room and announces a decision, their job is to shut up and say, "Yes, sir".

Beyond that, Rove and Bush were criticized for recruiting moderate Republicans for key races. Coleman in MN was a former Dem who is not going to imperil his seat by a crazed lurch right. In fact, he and other new faces will probably plague Dems for years, as Orrin Judd explains. We will arrive shortly at the mechanism which placates the Restless Right.

Reasons for Terror amongst Dems:

1. Well, Gore doesn't win in 2000 with peace and prosperity. Bush doesn't lose in 2002 with war and recession. Wait for floods and plague in 2004?

2. Does McCain-Feingold really help the Dems?

3. Dems need to unite. Great advice, but behind who, and with what message? Does this unity message of "We hate Bush" seem to be working?

Two "soccer moms" managed to blurt out five second sound-bites before my harangue reached full volume. Their thought - these Democrats are so negative. Probably not the image Dems want. Maybe Dems should re-read Kristof's last column. And re-read it again.

4. Will Dems lurch left? I will now predict Karl Rove's sinister plan to placate the Right and disorient the Left: nominate a series of sensible conservatives to the Federal courts. Dems will need to show they are spirited, aggressive, and ready to fight, fght, fight for Barbra Streisand and her money. Oppose Attilla the Hun! Let the Battle Royale begin, reflexively rather than reflectively.

The Right will figure, hey, if they hate Attilla, we must like him (or her). And when Attilla gets 65 votes in the full Senate, it is a big win for Republicans and the Right. The public at large wonders why the Dems are so shrill and disorganized. And the Left gets even more frustrated. Hey, its Just One Plan, but it could happen.

5. To be the champ, you have to beat the champ. Underestimating Bush and Rove has not been a winning ticket so far.

6. We had the Southern realignment, when conservative Dems defected or were replaced by Republicans. A symmetric shift in the Northeast seemed to be inevitable, as Rockefeller Republicans gave way to Dems. Now we have newly elected Republican Governors in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. New Hampshire elected a Republican Senator (replacing a Republican). Chuck Schumer in NY, contemplating a run in 2004 against either Pataki or Giuliani, must be nervous. Not only will Sen. Chafee (R, RI) not be switching (see below), but Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia might go Republican. When does the Northeastern re-alignment occur?

Well, the sun will come out tomorrow. But there is a good chance it will shine on Bush and Rove.

UPDATE: Thoughts for the Dems from Pandagon: "Stand for something, or you'll fall for anything."

Even more from the prolific and terrific OJ.

Jeff Cooper tells McAuliffe, Daschle, and Gephardt what he really thinks.

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