Monday, November 05, 2007
I had a friend in college who was a member of a fraternity and their house a specialty drink, the PhiNuke. I forget exactly what God-awful ingredients were mixed to make a PhiNuke, but the joke was "It's not the impact, it's the fallout."
So it is for the Republicans. 2006 was the impact, and 2008 is the fallout. In 2006 the GOP bubble burst. The staleness of incumbency, corruption, and the Iraq War combined to perfect storm that swept away majority in both houses of Congress. The only good news that is Democratic party never closed the sale as anything other than as a vehicle for frustration with the Republicans. Frankly they didn't really try even.
So that leaves an opening. The GOP still has issues that ought to command some support from the voters, eg abortion, national security, immigration. But first they have to survive the fallout. The Republicans have lost their political sinew: party identifcation, candidate recruitment, fundraising, message discipline. These are areas where the Republicans have had an edge for a while, but are now swimming upstream*. If one party is dominating the battle of ideas none of this matters. But that is a dim hope. If the GOP wants to materialize that hope, it needs to get its house in gear quickly.
* Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry have an article in National Review laying out just how much trouble the Republicans are in. Unfortunately the link is one of those lame-ass teaser things. If they ever fix it, I'll update.