Dem Strategists Have It Wrong

Dick Morris and  Eileen McGann
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Posted: Apr 07, 2010 12:01 AM
Dem Strategists Have It Wrong

Stanley Greenberg and James Carville claim that the Republican Party has peaked too soon. Incredibly, Greenberg says, "When we look back on this, we're going to say Massachusetts is when 1994 happened." Stan's only claim to expertise in the 1994 elections, of course, is that he's the guy who blew it for the Democrats. Right after that, President Clinton fired both of the flawed consultants and never brought them back again.

Now, their latest pitch is that the high point of the GOP advance was the Scott Brown election and that, from here on, things will "improve slightly" for the Democrats.

Once again, Carville and Greenberg are totally misreading the public mood. Each time the Republican activists battle, they become stronger. Their cyber- and grass-roots grow deeper. The negatives that attach to so-called "moderate" Democratic incumbents increase. And each time Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi defy public opinion and use their majorities to ram through unpopular legislation, frustration and anger rises.

Were Obama's ambitions to slacken, perhaps a cooling off might eventuate. But soon the socialist financial takeover bill will come on the agenda, followed by amnesty for illegal immigrants, cap and trade, and card-check unionization. Each bill will trigger its own mobilization of public opposition and add to the swelling coalition of opposition to Obama and his radical agenda.

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And, all the while, the deficit will increase, interest rates will rise and unemployment will remain high.

Meanwhile, the political process will generate more and more strong Republican challengers. We have yet to see if former Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin or Dino Rossi of Washington State will emerge to challenge Sens. Feingold and Murray. Better House candidates will decide to capitalize on the momentum and jump into the race, and Republican donors will come out of hiding, their efforts catalyzed by the growing optimism about GOP chances.

Presaging the Republican sweep that looms ahead is the shift in the party ratings on various issues. Rasmussen has the Republicans ahead by 49-37 on the economy and 53-37 on health care. His likely voter poll shows GOP leads on every major issue area: national security (49-37), Iraq (47-39), education (43-30), immigration (47-34), Social Security (48-36) and taxes (52-34).

When Republicans are winning issues like education, health care and Social Security -- normally solidly Democratic issues -- a sweep of unimaginable proportions is in the offing.

Will the rise in economic growth and job creation -- if they continue -- offset the Republican gains? Not very likely. Remember Bill Clinton's 1994 experience. Even though the recession had officially ended in the quarter before he took office and he proudly pointed to 5 million new jobs that had been created during the first two years of his presidency, Clinton got no bounce from the jobs issue or the economy.

Even in the election of 1996, the economy was only marginally a source of strength for the Democratic president. It wasn't until impeachment that the job growth that had been ongoing since he took office began to work heavily in his favor with the public. The hangover from a recession, certainly from one as violent as this, lasts a long time. A very long time.

And all this assumes that things will, indeed, improve. Worries about inflation loom large, and concerns that higher taxes and interest rates will trigger a new downturn also abound. As long as the deficit is as high as it is, there is no solid foundation for a sustained period of economic growth.

Finally, Obama is now responsible for health care in America. When premiums rise, it will be his fault. When coverage is denied, it will be on his watch. When Medicare cuts kick in, it will be Obama who gets the blame.

Carville's last book touted "40 more years of Democrats." Now he dreams of a loss of "only" 25 seats in the House and "six or seven" senators. But these are pipedreams. Republicans will gain more than 50 House seats and at least 10 in the Senate, enough to take control in both Houses. That's reality.

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