For the better part of the past couple of years most pundits have been predicting huge gains for Democratic candidates in the 2006 elections. Even though the polls, from time to time, have showed bad news for the GOP, I remain unconvinced that a Republican slaughter is inevitable. Several months from the November elections, in politics, is an eternity. Most voters are still vacationing at the beach or buying their kids’ back-to-school clothes. While there are some signs and trends that do not bode well for the GOP, there are others that do provide reason for optimism. It is definitely too early for Nancy Pelosi to be collecting fabric swatches for new curtains in the Speakers’ office.
In politics, perception is it’s own reality. If Democrats and their supporters in the media are successful in creating the impression that Republicans are doomed, eventually voters will come to see them as losers and when a politician becomes perceived as a loser, an actual loss at the polls often follows.
After Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman Tuesday, netroots activist Markos Moulitsas of The Daily Kos posted a list of action items that needed to be accomplished before the election. Item number two is, “Let people know what a sore loser Lieberman is.” Whether or not Democrats are successful in painting their opponents as losers (or as corrupt, or as mean to kittens and puppies, or whatever) congressional races are not voted on a national ballot, but on a state and district wide basis. Voters in many of those states and districts are going to vote Republican, even when the national polls are not swinging that way, but there is no denying that media driven public perception of the parties has an influence on the outcome of elections nationwide.
The perception issue that I see affecting the upcoming elections more so than that of any negative image of the GOP, and the main reason I question the conventional wisdom that Democrats will prevail in 2006, is one of the best things Republicans have going for them. And it is something Democrats continue to hand them a silver platter. Call it what you choose -- the Dean factor, the loony left, or, as Michelle Malkin refers to it, “unhinged” behavior. Whatever you call it, Republicans benefit from it.
Seeing reports of the primary runoff defeat of Cynthia McKinney in Georgia might have given the impression that Democrats were purging themselves of their kooky fringe elements. It might have, that is, until the news report cut to the Lamont victory speech in Connecticut and viewers could see some members of the moonbat posse, including Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, in the camera shot directly over each of Lamont’s shoulders.