I Predict 2006?
After yesterday's wins in Vriginia and New Jersey, Democrats are celebrating. This story shows how some Democrats are acting like, well sore winners.
But what was yesterday all about? Does this mean that the Democrats will make some gains come 2006 as some are saying?
Well, probably maybe. I think the odds are about 70 percent in their favor. Why only 70 percent? Because anything can happen between now and November 2006. Political fortunes change on a dime. If you don't believe me, ask the President, who last year was talking about "political capital" and now is flat out of capital.
Second, Democrats have to focus on ideas over simply opposing Bush or Republicans. The lesson to be learned from Timothy Kaine's victory in Virginia to come up with some solid ideas like fixing the state's aging transport system. He also knew what works in "red America" and was honest about his faith. The Democrats who were rejoicing on the Hill are the same ones that seem not to have any idea other than saying Bush is bad and that won't work. If the Democrats in Congress want to win, they need to stop crowing and study this man's campaign.
Third, 2005 is not necessairly 1993, the year when the GOP won Virgina and New Jersey governorships. The Republicans of 1994 were hungry and prepared with ideas on how to govern. That was what brought them to taking the House in '94, not look at the wins in '93 as omens. Again, the Dems need to listen to what the public is saying, how someone like Kaine won and then craft ideas that will lead to a winning platform.
So, what about Republicans? Well, first to Arnold. I think Mathew Pruitt says it best:
We have seen two Arnold's, the centrist who swept into office, and the typical Republican who took the advice of his consultants, opposed a law that would legalize gay marriage, and refused to compromise with the legislature while at the same time referring to teachers and nurses as "girlie men." Arnold the Conservative Republican has failed in enough time for Arnold the Centrist to re-emerge.
If the Democratic Party had any brains they would seize the day by proposing a positive agenda and stop Arnold from gaining any sort of traction. They have done in California what they have been best at for a while, which is to say "no," and now they will have to come up with some ideas of their own. If national trends are any indication, they will be unable to act without first sticking their finger in the air and seeing which way the wind blows, which will give Arnold plenty of opportunity to convince voters he is the independent moderate they voted for.
Scharzenegger was elected as a centrist, a Republican in a "blue state." Somewhere along the way, he forgot that and started to play hardball with the Democrats instead of working with them to find solutions together.
If he wants to win the governorship again next year, he needs to come back to the center and stop trying to take on Democratic strongholds like the public sector unions. I would agree with some of Arnold's views on them, but when you are a GOP governor in a very Democratic state, you have to pick your battles and Arnold picked the wrong one at the wrong time.
Finally, it seems like
moderate Republicans are becoming more emboldened in light of recent events:
House GOP leaders appear likely to drop a provision opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and make other changes to win votes from reluctant moderates for the budget-savings bill set for floor action tomorrow.
Charles Bass, R-N.H., maintained that the drilling provision must come out of the bill (HR 4241) or it will fail. Although some leaders have floated raising fuel efficiency standards for motor vehicles instead of dropping the ANWR provision, Bass said that would not fly.
Michael N. Castle, R-Del., a leading moderate, said deletion of ANWR is only the “starting point” for negotiations with leadership. Moderates also want smaller spending cuts to social programs. “They are the usual suspects — food stamps, foster care, child support, all the things you’ve been writing about,” Castle said.
This bodes well for the moderates. A year ago, people were saying that moderate Republicans were dead, but now we see them flexing their muscle. Good for them.