Wednesday, October 04, 2006


If the Dems Do Win This Year ...

... they need to act like they have a mandate. The Foley scandal may be just what tips the election (it's always about sex, ain't it?) -- presuming, of course, FOX doesn't manage to convince the public that Foley's a Democrat -- but it also provides the Republicans the perfect cover in case they loose: "the election wasn't a rejection of our policies, but it was about Foley". The temptation will be for the Dems. to listen to this spin (which, a careful listening to NPR* will indicate is already starting to occur) and be fretful about really having a mandate and thus being too cautious in changing the course of government policies and being a bullwork against Bush & CO.

The Dems. should be extra careful not to be so concerned: in 2000 and 2004 the Republicans did not win an overwhelming mandate, yet they acted as if they did. And it really hasn't hurt them electorally yet, and if the Dems. do win only 'cause of the Foley scandal in 2006, the GOP's acting as if they had a mandate would then not have hurt them electorally even then. Heck, even in 1994, the GOP (and media) acted as if the election were more of a landslide than it really was -- and were there recriminations for the GOP until they became too obsessed with the Clenis?

If the Dems. act as if people voted for a change, then people will figure that's what they did. But if the Dems. try to actually respect a possible will of the people for moderation (as perchance the GOP should have done in 2001 and forward), then how will they run in 2008? As the party of "we know this is a divided country, so we stuck to the middle path"? People will say to themselves "loosers" and vote GOP. If the GOP is able to spin a possible 2006 loss for them as due to the Foley scandal (and the media will be helping them here), then people can too easily be convinced in 2008 to vote for a "cleaned-up" GOP. If the Dems. win this year, they have to make sure the narrative becomes that the Dem. victory was a repudiation of GOP politics and policies, not merely due to a scandal here or there. If they can do this, then 2008 will cary forward Dem. momentum, possibly even to the White-House, but if they cannot, then, since the narrative is the reality nowadays, the GOP can claim in 2008 that it was never repudiated and win back power.

* On a side note: NPR is now referring to the Washington Times as a "conservative paper" -- it's about time ... but why not call a spade a spade and also point out who owns it?

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