Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A shift to the left?

I have to confess that I don’t find this argument convincing. I agree that a reputation for incompetence has hurt Republicans and the Bush Administration; and that may be enough substantially to harm Republican prospects in 2008. But almost everything hinges on how Iraq looks and the confidence voters have that a candidate can deal with it.

Of course, this assessment is subject to revision if there’s a substantial economic downturn associated with slowness in the real estate market.

The other shifts in public opinion that the authors identify--a modest movement back toward the welfare state and a modest uptick in secularism--don’t, I think, shift the political ground substantially, at least not on their own. I’m not convinced, for example, that young seculars will remain secular once they marry and have children. Of course, that won’t likely happen by 2008, but it’s also highly unlikely that Republicans will nominate someone as closely identified with religious conservatives as is GWB.

A concern with the fate of the least among us isn’t restricted to the political Left, and there continues to be room for debate on how best to proceed in these matters. There are certainly those in the Democratic Party who’d like to roll back (almost) everything Republicans have accomplished since the Reagan years, but I don’t think they command the kind of support necessary for such a radical change. And I think that any Democrat elected in 2008 will have her hands full with Iraq for quite some time. What’s more, I’m not convinced that Congressional Democrats will be able to muster the numbers and the political acumen to assemble a record compelling enough to confirm and solidify this modest shift in public opinion.

In sum, I think that the likeliest outcome in 2008 is a closely-fought victory for one or the other party (with the situation in Iraq determining the winner); I doubt that the Congressional split will be more than marginally different from what it is now (leaving Republicans with at least the power of obstruction). In other words, I’m no more than moderately pessimistic about 2008, and actually fairly confident that Democrats will not succeed in bringing about the kinds of long-term changes they desire.

Update: Here’s one basis for the authors’ argument.

Discussions - 10 Comments

A Democratic president would be dangerous even with a Republican Congress. With any Democratic Congress, he or she would be very dangerous. With a Congress more strongly Democratic than it is now -- say, with 55 instead of 51 Democrats in the Senate, a not-unlikely scenario for 2009 -- it could be extremely dangerous. To say that little would change just because there wouldn't be large changes in Congress ignores two things: 1) the ability of a Democratic president with Hillary's ruthlessness especially, protected by the old media (still the media that matter most), to wield power in frightful ways. 2) the willingness of some congressional, and especially Senate, Republicans to go along with Democratic positions. The parties are simply not equal in their ability to use power, or in the unity and strength of will in their congressional caucuses.

The column, in fact, reports some very disturbing polling data about the country moving to the left. The reference to perceived GOP incompetence is not what it's about. It's about a general decline in conservative beliefs. Saying we don't believe it doesn't help much unless we can make a case that it's wrong. And that might be hard to do at this point.

"Almost everything" in the '08 election does not hinge on how Iraq looks. It will remain a significant factor, but several others will be important as well. A bad situation in Iraq will not doom the Republican candidate. Although it would doom Bush if he were running next year for a second term, he isn't. No Republican nominee will be the man who got us into Iraq. The American people aren't stupid enough to reflexively do what the Democras want: Punish the Republican candidate for a lame-duck president's decision five and a half years earlier. In regard to Iraq, they are intelligent enough (and it doesn't take great intelligence in this case) to focus on what we should do NOW, not on a backward look. And, on the other hand, a greatly improved situation in Iraq would not at all doom the Democratic candidate. The Republican party needs to fight this campaign across-the-board, not just come up with a strong message on Iraq and hope that things over there are going OK in Sept.-Nov. of next year.

That Iraq will matter the most doesn't mean that it will only help Democrats. And I'm not suggesting that Republicans not fight the election across all fronts. I am, however, not at the moment persuaded that the leftward creep is genuine. A very successful Democratic President could make it so, though I'm not convinced that conditions will be in place for that kind of "realigning" success.

And, by the way, to the degree that people do in fact care more about the poor, a candidate like Sam Brownback probably would stand a better chance of appealing to them. But of course, Brownback couldn't win a Republican primary.

I think ">">"> this links to the complete report.

Liberals and neoconservatives say there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into ALL white countries and ONLY into white countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for ALL white countries and ONLY white countries to assimilate, i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, liberals and neoconservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

There is no doubt that the country is moving left. In 1993-4 the country thought Hillary and national health care were the craziest liberal ideas going. Now Hillary is a moderate and national health care is even a GOP issue. The country is probably in an endless shift to the left, barring a great leader of Washington's proportion. How optimistic is that?

Who states Hillary is a moderate and national health care is a GOP issue?

MSM and their consistently biased, weighted polling data?

Come on, the media, in general, is a shill for leftist ideas and for Democrats, with exceptions of course (AM talk radio readily comes to mind)

Hillary's coming off like a moderate compared to some of the Democratic contenders, and the administration really yielded a lot ground with its Medicare prescription drug giveaway.

My prediction is that we'll have socialized health care within the next twenty years. Instead of recognizing that there's a problem with soaring health care costs (largely thanks to Medicare), and coming up with market-friendly solutions, the GOP has either ignored the problem or proposed solutions that meet the Democrats halfway (or more). As a result, the problem gets worse instead of better, and the chorus grows steadily louder for comprehensive national health insurance.

I agree w John Moser, as I indicated in a post I just made. And I also agree that there's a real liberal/soft libertarian drift; the Pew study is a real study that shows stuff. Insofar as the election turns on Iraq, it will be anti-Republican. The slim chance of a Republican victory hinges on highlighting other issues, and I have little confidence that any of the leading Rep. candidates are up to that task. My own view is that things look pretty bad, and Republicans are in the same sort of denial they were in the spring and summer of 2006.

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