June 5, 2006
Deriding Ms. Pelosi to Republican Victory in NovemberBy Noel Sheppard
Summer is about to begin, but according to the drive—by media, it is winter for Republicans who almost certainly will lose one chamber of Congress, if not both. In fact, you can't swing a Democrat pollster lately without hitting some press member waxing gleefully about left—wing gains in the House and Senate in November.
This giddiness has become so pervasive that 'impartial' media representatives have accidentally referred to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader on the air.
Yet, the tea leaves are actually looking much redder than such folk are asserting regardless of President Bush's slumping poll numbers, and a rather simple formula for Republican success in five months is becoming as clear as the gin—blossomed nose on Ted Kennedy's face.
But before we get to that, one of the popular conventional wisdoms emanating from the usual suspects is Americans are just as fed up with Congress as they were in 1994, and that this will lead to a similar reshuffling of the deck that culminated in a surprising Republican landslide that November. Predictably, such comparisons conveniently ignore the differences in the political ethos between then and now.
To best understand what occurred in November 1994, one first has to look at the 1992 presidential elections which, though responsible for forcing a Republican out of the White House, laid the groundwork for a conservative revolution two years later.
The catalyst for both was named Ross Perot, who in 1992 set off a groundswell for a fiscally responsible government that almost 20 percent of voters immediately identified with. His Reform Party ideologies quickly gained such respectability and notoriety that they spawned a political ethos for smaller government and budgetary restraint amongst a large enough percentage of the population to be a force in upcoming elections.
Enter Newt Gingrich and the 'Contract With America' two years later.
As a result, the 'Contract With America' not only energized Republicans displeased with two years of Clintonomics — fully adorned with tax—hikes and HillaryCare as opposed to campaign—promised tax cuts — but also many Reform Party members as well.
Finally, is our political condition today really akin to 1994 as the Democrats and the drive—by media have been claiming? Not even close.
Instead, what we have is an admittedly high level of disgust for members of Congress. However, neither side as yet appears to be benefiting from it, or even attempting to capitalize.
According to a recent ABC News poll on the subject, 33 percent of respondents approved of the job Republicans are doing in Congress versus 39 percent for Democrats; disapproval numbers in this poll were 64 percent and 58 percent respectively.
This is no indication that Americans are any more pleased with Democrats than they are with Republicans, and somewhat controverts polling data by many organizations suggesting that voters are more likely to swing left in November than right. Quite the contrary, it suggests a strong disenchantment with both parties that might create a condition in five months wherein many Americans vote almost exclusively for the lesser of the two evils on the ballot in front of them as they tightly hold their noses.
Assuming this will indeed be the case in November, with the controversial Tom DeLay and Randy Cunningham both out of the picture, Republicans actually have the stronger hand to be played in depicting their opponents as less palatable. Why? Because Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and John Conyers are potentially the three easiest targets for negative campaign attacks the Republicans have had since Michael Dukakis in 1988.
For those that don't recall, the defining moment in George H.W. Bush's victorious presidential campaign was negative ads depicting Democrat candidate Dukakis as being weak on crime due to his convict furlough program and its release of Willie Horton. This same strategy appears to be the perfect answer for today's Republicans to compensate for their currently weak position with the electorate as well as the dismal polling numbers of their president.
For example, take any district or state where the Republicans have a vulnerable candidate. In that area, television ads should focus almost exclusively on the deplorable activities of Pelosi, Reid, and Conyers, and strongly assert that a vote for the Democrat candidate in that district or state is a vote to make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House, Harry Reid the Senate Majority Leader, and John Conyers not only the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, but also to preside over impeachment proceedings for President Bush.
To be sure, the imagery here is quite powerful, so much so that even The New York Times is noticing its potential. An article published by the Old Gray Lady on May 30 portrayed Republicans as licking their chops to campaign against Pelosi:
Certainly, Pelosi is one of them, and conservative columnist Robert Novak agrees. In his June 3 column, Novak not only wrote about Republican zeal over using Pelosi as a national campaign rallying cry, but also of talk
If Novak is right, Republicans have a marvelous win—win national strategy that is sure to resound with an overwhelming majority of conservatives and moderates who are expressing displeasure with their elected officials:
Can you think of anything that will better energize the Republican base than the thought of demoting this woman from her current position of power?
Now, throw in a couple of pinches of 'Just Say No to Majority Leader Reid' and a few dashes of 'Cancel Conyers' Impeachment Proceedings,' and the Republicans have a recipe for victory almost as delicious as Walter Mondale telling Americans that he was going to raise their taxes.
Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and contributing writer for the Business & Media Institute. He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org. Noel welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.