With Bush’s bad poll numbers, everyone is talking about the coming Democratic tidal wave in 2006. Joe Klein is gushing over the Democrats "new" plan to become the majority party. He has a conversation with the mouthy Rahm Emanuel and is smitten with the possibilities. Not that I’m persuaded. Klein notes that Emanuel didn’t mention national security. Ruy Teixiera thinks that the vote in Virginia proves that the "exurban voter" is at least up for grabs (he implies that the GOP has lost them, but holds back a bit): "If Republicans continue to pursue an ideologically anti-government agenda that compromises government services while taking a hard line on social issues, they can have every expectation of shrinking margins among these voters."
John Heilemann looks at Emanuel more closely, says that he is the Dems Newt. That is, he has done more than anyone to "crystallize the need for a concrete agenda." The Dems are going to roll out their equaivalent of a Contract With America. It might be called, "Together, America can do better." Will this--and can Emanuel for that matter--tell us what the Democratic Party stands for in a way that compares favorably to what the GOP did in 1994? Even Heilemann isn’t persuaded that the Dems have a positive agenda. And then there is foreign policy. I like the comment by Frank Lutz that the Dems doen’t have visionaries, only tacticians and screamers.
Stuart Rothenberg asks whether the Dems can do in 2006 something as radical as what the GOP did in 1994. "For Democrats to retake the House, they will need to defeat about a dozen Republican incumbents, most of whom have turned back previously aggressive challengers. That’s a tall order." The Senate is also a tall order: "Democrats will need to hold their own seats and sweep the five solid Senate takeover opportunities they currently have in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Ohio, Montana and Missouri to have any chance of winning the Senate. In addition, they’ll need former Arizona Democratic state Chairman Jim Pederson’s challenge to Sen. Jon Kyl to develop here in Arizona, or possibly longer-shot opportunities in Mississippi or Tennessee, to get that 51st Senate seat."