John Gizzi, veteran Political Editor of the conservative weekly HUMAN EVENTS, normally is an optimist. Over the years I have watched him find the one possible thread to explain the rationale for the election of a conservative Republican. John knows more about politics than any ten political junkies combined have forgotten. If there is a way to see a possibility for a Republican victory Gizzi makes the case. And that is as it should be inasmuch as he is writing to give conservatives hope. He and his paper’s message are always the same: “Shoulder on.”
You can imagine my shock and surprise when Gizzi, writing in the current week’s edition, makes the case that Democrats just might win enough swing seats in the House and could topple enough Senators to regain control of the Congress for the first time since 1994.
I can tell you, if the e-mail and snail-mail traffic I receive is any indication, lots and lots of people are telling me they do not intend to vote in the 2006 election. Others are saying they will vote for third-party candidates. I hear that every election. Little comes of it. But staying at home is a huge problem for Republicans. To say that the grassroots are discouraged is an understatement. It is not difficult to understand why. Our movement is comprised of hard working men and women who find it tough to make ends meet and who labor at raising a family. When they don’t have enough money to buy what they want they largely go without. Then they look at the government. It spends and spends and spends.
Not doing without at the federal level is unheard of. No veto of an over-the-budget spending bill. In my earliest years being a part of the grassroots I well recall how demoralized Republicans were following the election defeat of 1958. Then President Dwight D. Eisenhower began to veto bills - one after the other after the other. All but one of the dozens upon dozens of Eisenhower vetoes were sustained. That so boosted the morale of grassroots Republicans that Vice President Richard M. Nixon nearly won (and probably actually did win) the 1960 election. The same for President Gerald R. Ford. Had President Ford not vetoed all of those over-the-budget spending bills Ronald W. Reagan would have been the GOP nominee in 1976. Again those vetoes almost enabled Ford to be elected that year despite an inept campaign and an equally inept candidate.