The One Party Rule

Posted: Mar 19, 2007 9:03 AM
The One Party Rule

I participated on a panel with Democratic pollster Mark Mellman discussing what's what with politics at the National Association of Manufactures (NAM) meeting here.

Mellman is a very smart guy who does things like quoting Pericles during the Peloponnesian War. I, not wanting to be outdone, countered by quoting Groucho Marx during a divorce proceeding: "Politics doesn't make strange bedfellows - marriage does."

I didn't actually say that, but I wish I had.

Mellman told the NAM audience how the Democrats had won last November. I told them why the Republicans had lost.

He also said it was not at all likely that Republicans could regain control of either the House or the Senate and that he thought it was also going to be very difficult for a Republican to win the election for President next year because of the "Three Term Rule." According to Mellman, the one term that George H.W. Bush served was, effectively, the third Reagan term, which does not happen very often.

He added that the war in Iraq was not likely to become a victory any time soon; that the economy is not likely to be roaring; that there was a huge amount of pent-up energy among Congressional Democrats to investigate this 'n that; and … some other stuff.

But not enough stuff to make me ask my Blackberry to find the Draft Al Gore web page.

Here's what I said: The House and Senate Democrats are making a strategic error which will lead to a Republican victory in November 2008.

For the last three years, Democrats and their allies in the popular press, have pointed out that having the House, the Senate and the White House under the control of one party is dangerous to our form of government because there is no one asking the difficult questions.

This suggestion became a battle cry in the run-up to the elections last November and, guess what, the voters of America believed them, they decided that it is dangerous to have both houses of Congress and the Administration in the hands of the same party.

I am officially naming this the "One Party Rule."

I said that it was unclear to me how the Democrats - who had driven that one-party business into the national political consciousness - were going to ask everyone to believe that a Democratic victory in November 2008 would somehow, magically, be a good thing.

My mega-strategic thinking is still this: Ideology is going to play a minor part in the thinking of most primary voters in each party. The big issue will be: Who has the best chance of winning?

This will change as the various candidates' campaigns ebb and flow as they certainly will over the next 10 months.

If Hillary loses her lead to Obama; which Republican will GOP voters think has the best chance of countering him?

If Al Gore gets in later this year, does that mean Republicans will look to Fred Thompson?

Before you place your house and kids' college fund in jeopardy by betting heavily on one candidate or another remember the cautionary tale of Howard Dean.

In December of 2003, Governor Dean was the Democratic nominee-presumptive. Then, about three weeks later, the good folks of Iowa went to their caucuses and decided that John Kerry, now Howard Dean was their guy. Three weeks after that, the Dean campaign folded.

Starting today, every Republican should repeat the Democrats' mantra: Giving one party control of both the Congress and the Administration is just … too … dangerous.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The latest CNN poll of Democratic contenders, and a link to the NAM web page about this conference. An amusing Mullfoto which might take you a moment to understand why I thought it was amusing; and a Catchy Caption of the Day.