There’s Trouble (Meters) Ahead!
By: Thomas Lindaman
Cruising the chat rooms as I do (given the extra time granted by not having that thing people call a social life), I’ve noticed there is a lot of chatter about the Republican Party being in serious trouble. Infighting, low approval numbers, and being slow to react to damaging stories have certainly hurt the Republicans, or at the very least reminded them of what it’s like to be a Democrat right now. As you might expect, I have a contrary view, that being that it’s the Democrats in the midst of major turmoil that hurts their chances of regaining control of Congress.
For a while now, I’ve had trouble putting my opinions about just how much trouble each major party is in right now. (You know, aside from pithy statements like, “Bush may suck, but the DNC sucks worse.” So, I created my own index of the amount of trouble they’re in with regards to five important areas. And to add an air of credibility to it, I’m using the same standard CBS uses with its polling.
I’m making it up as I go along.
Actually, I’m basing it on a tried and true method made popular by “The McLaughlin Group.” I’m using a 0 to 10 scale, 0 meaning no trouble (a Mormon spring break would be more trouble), 10 meaning metaphysical trouble (God Himself comes down and says, “Oh yeah. You’re going to Hell.”) So, without further ado, here are the Thomas Lindaman Trouble Meter Readings.
Republicans: 7 These days, “GOP” stands for “Grandstanding Old Politicians.” Anything resembling a cohesive strategy for the midterm elections is secondary to whatever will get reelected themselves. The people want a message, and the message we’re getting from the GOP is “Vote for me.”
Democrats: 9 The only thing the Republicans have going for them in the midterm elections is the fact the Democrats are worse off than they are. The Democrats are splintering worse than the boards used by the Chuck Norris Construction Company. As bad as the Republicans are when it comes to strategy, the Democrats are worse and getting worse by the week. When you have Democrat Congressional leaders complaining about the lack of leadership in the party, two things come to mind. One, the Democrats are almost at critical mass. Two, they don’t have a sense of irony.
Republicans: 4 With the possibility of Democrats impeaching or censuring George W. Bush over the war in Iraq, the Democrats may have given the Republicans the fundraising gift that keeps on giving. Bush may be making political missteps on the Dubai port deal and illegal immigration, the possibility that Democrats would punish the President if they regained control of Congress is enough to make even the most skittish Republican donors open their wallets.
Democrats: 8 Democrats had great hope that Howard Dean would be able to make the party into a money making venture. After all, Dean had a great grassroots fundraising organization going in, so naturally he could catch lightning in a bottle again, right? Not exactly. Something happened and Dean went from golden boy to the goose that laid the leaden goose-egg. Not a good sign for the party, especially if they want to have any shot in 2006 and beyond.
Republicans: 3 The Republicans do have some scandals to contend with, ranging from Duke Cunningham to Tom DeLay to Jack Abramoff. Even Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are implicated in everything from illegal fundraising to not getting enough iron in their diets. But there is still a general apathy that prevents them from taking hold for very long.
Democrats: 0 This is one of the few things Democrats have going for them in the midterm elections. Oh, they’re involved in scandals, but the apathy that keeps the Republicans from being thrown under the bus by the electorate helps the Democrats as well.
Command of Issues
Republicans: 10 The Republicans from Bush on down had control on several issues, but they’ve let it slip away by either being too dense to combat the spin about Bush’s initiatives or too concerned about personal ambitions to care. Now, they’re looking impotent and at each other’s throats. The only saving grace is.
Democrats: 10 .that the Democrats are just as bad off as the Republicans are. And, no, “Bush sucks” is not a serious policy statement. Even their recently announced plan for national security was full of tough language and no details. And in a related story, John Kerry is filing a lawsuit against the DNC for copyright infringement.
The Embarrassment Factor
Republicans: 7 Republicans have their embarrassing figures, and they do surface from time to time. Pat Robertson, Arlen Specter, John McCain, and Rick Santorum may be able to bring a reddish tint to the faces of even the party faithful, and the not-so-faithful like myself. Even so, they’re kept on a pretty tight leash and their ripples don’t become waves of negative press.
Democrats: 9 Charlie Sheen saying Bush was in on 9/11, Russ Feingold’s censure motion against the President that turned out to be a worse idea than hooking up with McCain for campaign finance reform laws dumber than a Jessica Simpson/Paris Hilton debate over their movie careers, and Cynthia McKinney slugging a police officer and blaming it on.racism and a makeover that made her look like a cross between Macy Gray and Bozo the Clown???? How Democrats get by without having to have a press conference every time Bill Clinton’s fly is down in public is beyond me. And for the record, Clinton’s fly is always down.
So, there you have it. Neither major party has much going for them and a lot going against them. At this point, the winner of the midterm elections may not be the party that puts out the better ideas, but rather the party that sucks less. That may be the most competitive race out there this year.
Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also Publisher of CommonConservative.com.