Friday, November 03, 2006

Let's Party Like It's 1994?

There is much anticipation about the possibility of an anti-Republican tidal wive in next week's election that takes away GOP control of the House and maybe the Senate too. Comparisons are being drawn to 1994, also a midterm election, when the GOP swept into power ending years of Democratic control of Congress. But if such a sweep occurs (and I hope it does), I hope it's clear to everyone that it's not a Democratic sweep, but rather an anti-Republican one. It is truly a sorry state of affairs that even at this time of extreme GOP vulnerability, the Democrats are offering nothing, other than "we're not Republicans".

Granted, some will argue that in terms of election strategy, it is in the Democrats' interest to make it a "referendum election" (i.e., voting based on approval/disapproval of the present administration), while Karl Rove would like to make it a "choice election" (i.e., deciding between the two parties). But when the opposition has nothing better to say than "look how horrible they are, and we're not them", and the party in power has nothing better to offer than throwing up scary straw men and saying "imagine how much worse they would be", that in itself belies an agreement by both parties that the administration is doing a lousy job. Notice that you don't find many Republicans asking us whether we're better off now than we were four years ago. The real problem for the Republicans is that it's getting harder and harder to imagine how much worse it could be than it already is.

So there's clearly rumblings of dissatisfaction. But this is so not 1994. That year, the centerpiece of the campaign that swept the GOP into power was not "we're not Democrats". It was the Contract with America, a positive vision and substantive program of policy. Flash forward 12 years to the present. With the GOP in a shambles, if the Democratic party had any vision at all to offer, any compelling proposals, they would shine like the shining city on the hill in contrast to the Republican wreckage. But where is the Democratic equivalent of Dick Armey or Newt Gingrich? Where is the Democratic contract? Nowhere. "We're not Republicans." Pathetic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. The Dems rans on "We hate Bush" but they seem a little timid about actually coming up with a plan themselves. It's time for them to come up with the goods---and unfortunately I don't think they have any.