Saturday, September 02, 2006

Republicans losing traditionally winning issue

President Bush may go down as one of the worst stewards of the GOP the party has ever had. Republicans have nearly lost their edge on what has traditionally been the party's strongest issue:
The public's patience has frayed as the Iraq war grows bloodier in its fourth year, eroding confidence in Mr. Bush's stewardship of national security. ...

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in June, buttressed by other polls since, suggested Democrats have gained significant ground. It gave them a three-point advantage on the question of which party can best deal with Iraq, erasing Republicans' 30-point edge of October 2002. Democrats had a nine-point edge on handling foreign policy, a swing from Republicans' 18-point advantage in June 2002. Republicans did retain a 24-point advantage on "ensuring a strong national defense" -- though that was down from a high of 41 points just before 9/11.

Right after 9/11, Republicans held a 4-to-1 advantage over Democrats in regards to which party would do a better job in the war on terrorism. That this was prior to any ostentatious political wrangling at a time when both parties were in unanimous agreement in overthrowing the Taliban illustrates the inherent Republican advantage on questions of national security. But owing almost entirely to Iraq, the American public is nearing the point of political deadlock:
Republicans' edge on the question of dealing with terrorism has been slipping for four years, according to Journal/NBC polls -- from a 36-point advantage over Democrats in October 2002, to 18 points in December 2004, to six points in June.
Neocon policies have squandered this Republican strength. The longer the Iraq quagmire drags on, the more the GOP's advantage on its strongest issue will suffer erosion. As the initial invasion recedes further into history, Americans will see more clearly how Iraq served as a check against Iran, how alienating European allies who enthusiastically supported us in Afghanistan was counterproductive, and how 150,000 troops tied down in a place that is spinning into civil war costs a lot and makes us less able to commit elsewhere wasn't been worth the nothing we got in return.

The failure in Iraq is troubling not only in spite of being a 2,600-plus Americans, $300 billion-plus blunder, but also because the GOP has to carry the immigration reform torch if anyone is going to. The demographic growth of an unskilled, welfare-using, urban-concentrated, big government-accepting, ethnic minority is too suculent a prize for the Democratic Party to snatch up for it to rally behind the restrictionist cause. That would be as dumb as the Republican Party intentionally growing the size of the aforementioned demographic while making family formation, the key to creating Republican voters, more difficult!

If the GOP loses the House, as it probably will in November, movement on immigration dies. Or worse, a version of the S2611 disaster is signed by an eager President after being sent up by a Democratically-controlled Senate (unlikely given that more Democrat seats are up than Republican ones this cycle but certainly a possibility).

Not that GOP Congressional retention is anything to get excited about. Fancifully taking over Rove's mind:

"New strategy, George. No more Hispandering. See how poorly blacks have fared recently? During the economic recovery, the black unemployment rate increased almost a full point. New Census data shows that blacks are suffering median wage reductions. While whites, Asians, and Hispanics all saw income increases, black median income dropped .8% from 2005. While natives enjoyed only a .2% income increase, the foreign-born increased 3.3%. You look confused. Just tell blacks that you're not going to let Hispanics depress wages and take anymore of their jobs. Tell them that the Democrats have been ignoring them on the issue.

"We're going to grow the groups that vote for us instead of the ones that grow against us. See, people who can buy houses and have kids vote for us. And places with lots of unskilled immigrants have low wages and expensive houses that are hard to buy, let alone raise a family in. So we're going to try to get back to the ownership society thing we forgot about.

"And people who make money vote for us. So instead of bringing in people who don't make money and lower the wages of other Americans, we're going to encourage businesses to invest in new technologies to increase productivity so everyone makes more money instead of using wage slaves who vote for the Democrats."

(Politics and Religion)


JSBolton said...

This election will turn on who appeals better to 'Reagan democrats' which is to say blue collar whites, and, to a much lesser extent 'soccer moms' in the literal sense of parents of white male children, with education and social prestige.
The contested seats are largely in the industrial belt from Connecticut to Wisconsin. The hispanic vote is negligible and not a swing one, in those areas under contest.
How surprising is it then, that the administration has now taken a strong position against racial manipulation in the current high court cases? It works for both their large and small swing vote groups, as would immigration law enforcement, though less effectively on that smaller soccer mom group.
Smashing up international agreements would energize the Reagan dem's, as would almost any America First policy change of magnitude and seriousness.

crush41 said...

The Bush team is doing that smashing, by baiting the ignorant Democrats into trying to win a battle of secret CIA prisons and NSA surveillance, an absolutely losing strategy with the soccer moms and Reagan dems. I hope it works, for no other reason than that a Democratically-controlled Congress and a Bush administration portends an immigration disaster worse than '65 and '86 combined.