Republicans on Tuesday managed both to lose their majority in Congress and alienate a fast-growing bloc of Latino swing voters. Other than that, the House GOP strategy of trying to save itself by bucking President Bush and using immigration as a wedge issue worked pretty well.Of course they had to try and buck Bush. Fifty-seven percent of voters disapproved of him, while only 43% approved.
That "fast-growing bloc" represented just 8% of the total electorate on Tuesday. Six years ago, it represented 7% of the vote. Six years ago, the GOP lost the Hispanic vote 62%-35%, this time they lost it 69%-30%. Twelve percent of eight percent comes to a swing of less than one percent of the total vote in a six year period. The GOP was obliterated by a margin of 7.5 points.
The WSJ and other neocon publications zealously try to blame the loss on anything other than the elephant that caused it--the Iraq disaster. The WSJ has the blood of thousands of Americans and the GOP majority on its hands. Better to blame the sinking ship on those in the conservative movement who vociferously called for the ship to change direction. Stay the course! Lose public support, American blood and treasure, and your readership (having dropped 1.9% in the last six months, teetering just above 2 million total subscribers). Good plan, Gigot. Paul wants remaining Republicans to tow the Bush line:
We hope his party lets him, having learned the hard way not to follow Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and the editors of National Review magazine down the garden path to defeat.Smearing Lou Dobbs and Bill O'Reilly (and NR?) doesn't strengthen your unpopular, irrational position. Virtually every major decision Bush has made is both damaging and unpopular.
From the exit polling, it's clear that ethical lapses and Iraq hammered the GOP. Voters considering ethical issues and those involving corruption "extremely important" or "very important" (74% of the electorate) favored the Dems by 55.4% to 45.6%. Voters disapproving of the war in Iraq overwhelmingly threw in with the Democrats. Those who say they "somewhat disapprove" or "strongly disapprove" of the war (55% of all voters) favor the Dems by a staggering 79.7%-20.3%.
Unfortunately, the exit polling data doesn't contain a gem that was present in the 2000 data: A question about what issue mattered most, and how respondents selecting each of the various issues voted. Exegesis would've been even more greatly facilitated by a question along the lines of "Immigration: Should it be increased, decreased, or remain the same?"
Still, voters attaching lots of importance to the immigration issue went for the GOP. Those considering illegal immigration either "extremely important" or "very important" (62% of all voters) favored Republicans 54.4% to 47.6%. Among the 37% of the electorate that felt the illegal immigration issue was either "somewhat important" or "not at all important" went Democratic 68%-32%. The most plausible way to read this is that for those who were passionate about immigration as an issue, Republicans (despite sending mixed signals about commitment to enforcement) were the better choice. For other voters who didn't care one way or another about the question of what to do about illegal immigration, the GOP's atrocious performance on issues concerning foreign policy, budget management, and corruption put them in the Democratic camp.
It is interesting that the WSJ would accuse restrictionists of toppling the Republican majority by supporting a populist position that is opposing a minimum wage increase (an increase is favored by an overwhelming 83% of Americans, while only 14% oppose a hike). Referendums for minimum wage increases were on the ballot in six states and won in all of them. Think this might have hurt the GOP a bit?
While focusing on the losses of Hostettler and Hayworth (the former having excellent on immigration, the latter who has historically been okay but recently having stepped up his rhetoric), the WSJ glossed over the defeats of open-borders Mike Dewine and Lincoln Chafee, as well as the solid Bilbray victory.
The neocons have driven the Republican ship into the shoals. Even after hitting several icebergs, they're still recycling the same failed talking points as the ship sinks. It's time to throw them overboard.