February 10, 2010
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll is bad news for President Obama: If the November elections were held today, the Republicans would get just as many votes as the Democrats, with 46 percent of the respondents citing a preference one way or the other. No one can seriously doubt that this indicates deep dissatisfaction with the course the President has been leading us on. Whether it translates into actual election victories for the GOP, however, remains to be seen. Incumbents generally enjoy a huge advantage based on name recognition and their ability to deliver "pork barrel" economic benefits to their constituents.
And speaking of moola, don't forget, folks, Obama has withheld a large share of the "porkulus" funds precisely so that they could be released at the moment of greatest political impact, keeping as many Democratic incumbents in office as possible. But given the economic incompetence shown by many of the Obama administration figures thus far, they might end up squandering all that money for pet projects that yield little or no aggregate economic benefit. The American people may fall prey to charismatic sweet talking once in a while, but they are no fools.
The bottom line is, the road ahead is a difficult one, and "taking back America" is by no means assured. It is going to take a lot of work in candidate development for the Republicans to capitalize on their recent upsurge in order to have a serious chance at retaking majority control of either chamber of Congress. (Plus a lot of money.) But it can be done. Electoral success will be much more likely if the proper lessons of Bob McDonnell's huge victory last November are learned. We need strong leaders who can reach out to independent voters by combining principles with pragmatism, not hot-headed zealots. This opportunity once again places a burden on rank-and-file party members not to voice their many long-held grievances about past abuses by certain party leaders, lest the party break apart once again and become too ineffective to get enough voters to the polls.
One potential Republican candidate for the House is none other than Lawrence Kudlow, the former supply-side economist who has become a leading conservative pundit. According to Talking Points Memo, he may challenge Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Kudlow has a lot of baggage and not much charisma, however, so I would rate that possibility as low.
I thought it looked rather tacky when Sarah Palin used notes written on the palm of her hand when answering questions at the Tea Party convention -- especially since she was poking fun at President Obama's over-reliance on the teleprompter. But it wasn't a huge deal. The Mainstream Media certainly didn't let that opportunity pass by, and all of them dutifully got their digs in. But how many of those broadcasters and newspapers called attention to the President's repeated mispronunciation of "Navy corpsman" in a speech last week? Hardly any! (For you folks in Rio Linda, the P and S are silent.) Megan Rhodes pointed out the grossly unbalanced treatment of those two cases, which is of course another example of the "liberal condescension" which Gerard Alexander wrote about.
Likewise, when Bruce Bartlett recently posted a news item on Facebook suggesting that many Tea Partiers harbor racist sentiments (the third type of liberal condescension), I felt obliged to state:
It is no doubt true that SOME anti-immigrant activists are racists, just as some Tea Partiers are, but we should be very careful not to apply a stereotypical broad brush toward either group. I think that fear of being called a racist is one of the big reasons why Congress has been unable to deal with the problem of mass-scale illegal immigration. Tancredo is a crowd-pleasing loose cannon, not helpful to the cause of immigration reform.