Yesterday, I read Bob Novak's column titled "Republican Melancholy," which correctly caught the current depressed mood in GOP circles. President Bush's position on illegal immigration has deeply alienated much of the loyal rank and file Republicans across the country. Key Republican incumbents, such as Sen. John Warner of Virginia and Rep. Debbie Price of Ohio, are announcing their retirements. Sen. Larry Craig's cringe-inducing disgrace only adds to the funereal mood. And, of course, the Iraq War, for all the surge's success this summer, remains vastly unpopular with the public. To top off this GOP discontent, none of our presidential candidates has so far come even close to being seen as our "next Reagan."
It is undoubtedly true that most Republican professional strategists and pollsters are bracing for a potentially grim election night 14 months from now. I share that assessment and that mood.
But it is also true that the mood of an individual, a party or a country tends to be a trailing indicator of reality. A mood is the sum of emotions responding to past and present events. And, just as a 3-year-old child can instantly swing from tears to joyous laughter as soon as he is given previously denied candy or a toy, so can seasoned political operatives and adult voters everywhere switch their moods and their judgments of political events on a dime.
While I am not prepared to predict happy days for the Republicans just yet, let me lay out such a very plausible scenario:
The troika pulling the Republican chariot of despair is composed of: 1. perceived failure or stalemate in Iraq, 2. Bush's position on illegal immigrants, and 3. Republican congressional corruption, big spending and immoral behavior.
While Bush continues to disappoint on illegal immigration issues, at least the failed effort for amnesty is behind us -- and was defeated by a stone wall of Republican congressional opposition. Also, and importantly, the leading GOP presidential candidates are all strongly and loudly for secure borders and against illegal immigration or amnesty. Democratic Party incumbents and candidates for president are mostly on the wrong side of this issue (even for general election voters -- not merely GOP voters). By next November, the politically incorrect opposition to illegal immigration will be a major winner for GOP candidates and will hurt Democrats in competitive districts and states (partially offset by possible loss of a smaller number of some Hispanic votes for GOP).
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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