The Politics of Winning Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

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Leading the Elephant

AN ELEPHANT SHOULD NEVER FORGET - You can lead a Republican to the seat of power, but you can't make him think. Sometimes the worse that can happen is that you get what you want. Just ask the Dems.

Conventional wisdom says Democrats will be thoroughly trounced in the fall elections. Even the most hopelessly optimistic Democrats concede it. One or both houses of Congress my turn red along with several state posts. The Republicans are salivating at the thought of it.

Some advice the party of the elephant should remember: Barely two years ago, the Democrats were flush with political capital from an historic election. They believed the political tide had turned and the GOPers were headed for the dust bin of history. In true Democratic tradition, they managed to screw it up.

To a degree, the Democrats are victims of getting what they wished for. Inheriting two wars, a faltering economy, and a host of other systemic problems gave them a political environment not easily fixed, even if  The Messiah™ could have walked on water. Regardless of ideology, it’s unlikely anyone could turn things around quickly enough to satisfy a restless electorate.

But, despite the seeming invincibility of the Party of No™, they may also be poised to stumble into a party-wrenching mess.

The Bubba Gump Bump
Part of the GOP bump is the natural consequence of the party in power coming up against the reality of governance. When you’re out of power, you have little incentive to do anything –  just ask any elected Republican. But get the gavel, and you’re on the hook regardless of when the problems started or who caused them. No one’s performance can be enough to soothe the savagely voting beasties – doubly so when expectations are artificially inflated by promises of hope and change.

Crying Liberty

SNIFF, SNIFF - With politics you sometimes have to laugh to keep from crying.

Even worse, President Care Bear retained many Bush policies and fumbled others – like health care – badly enough to piss off his base. He also allowed the GOP to hammer him about his policies even though they aren’t substantially changed from the last regime, thereby creating the teabaggers and offending and confusing much of the remaining electorate.

Anyone who believes America has turned to the right of Ghengis Kahn is mistaken. The average Joe – minus, perhaps, Joe the Plumber – is just as scared by tea-brewing crazies as actual bomb throwing commies. The biggest hope for most Americans is to watch CSI instead of a 24 X 7 oil leak with all the appeal of a televised Yule log. They want a job that pays them enough to cover the basics plus a little left over for a Happy Meal and the newest cell phone. Those seem like low expectations, but they’re mighty hard to carry out. In the end, all that matters is that whoever can provide those things is going to keep power.

And based on past performance, there’s no reason to expect Republicans will deliver any better than they did when the Crawford Craphound was in power.

Republicans Suck at the Big Tent
The Republicans have plenty of crumbling party infrastructure too. They realize the teabaggers are problematic allies. Do enough to placate them and the majority middle will recoil. Please the middle and the teabaggers will go all Sarah Palin on their asses. Plus, the Republicans aren’t exactly renown for their ability to pitch a big tent.

The Republicans are also having problems in areas where they used to be smooth. Internal party politics has resulted in the Whitest Black Man in America being chosen as party chairman, only to be frequently denounced or ignored when he makes the gaff of the day. Conservative moderates are a dying breed, being replaced by some of the stupidest pols ever to swear on a stack of Bibles that they will always swear by the Bible.

Oh, and all those little problems – like economic and environmental disaster and wars – that still need to be cleaned up aren’t going to leave when the Dems decamp to lick their wounds.

It’s probably correct the Republicans will win in November, especially when individual candidates like Meg Whitman and corporate interests like the Chamber of Congress have dropped the pretenses and will spend like, well, drunken liberals, to wrest control of the ship of state. But despite all this, the next election will be decided on the answer to a single question – “Who sucks worse, the Democrats or the Republicans?”

The time when politics was about something rather than against something is long gone. Whoever wins will need to govern positively or the electorate will begin measuring them for a pine box come 2012. If the Republicans win they will learn a hard lesson – governing by refusing to govern is a losing proposition. One day, the ‘Pubs may be asking themselves, “what the hell were we thinking when we wanted to be in the majority.” It’s a tough lesson.

Just ask the Democrats.

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3 thoughts on “The Politics of Winning Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

  1. Pingback: » The Intransigent vs. the Inept

  2. I’m not sure who’ll win in ’10. Democrats suck because they refuse to extend themselves, but Repubs are doing themselves no favors by being such assholes, either. I’m really starting to think that we need to let the GOP back into power because obviously things werent bad enough for our spoiled brat of a nation to pull it’s head out of its ass.

    Also, I am sooo stealing that elephant image.

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