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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Politico says GOP fearful of 2008

I'd like to step up to the soapbox, and take issue with a Politico report about GOP fears for 2008. Let me cite some of this piece, and answer the fears:

Republicans across the country are warning that increasing public discontent toward President Bush, the Iraq war and the GOP brand in general threatens to send the party's 2008 campaign planning into a tailspin. ...

... Polling data released this month confirm what GOP officials are picking up anecdotally: Swing voters are swinging away from Republicans at high velocity. Most alarming to GOP strategists is a new survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center that found 50 percent of those interviewed consider themselves a Democrat or leaning that way; only 35 percent tilt Republican.

"People are concerned and worried about the party's prospects," said Steve Duprey, former chairman of the New Hampshire GOP and a backer of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the White House race.

"There's a certain nervousness I hear that if the war is going badly and we're still in this intractable fight between a Democratic Congress and President Bush about the course of the war, we may have a tough time."

While I'll admit that swing voters are a finicky lot, the base isn't. Their choices always stay along the ideologucal lines of conservatism. The wrench in the works, especially for president, is Rudy Giuliani, who is a hawk on defense and spending, and on social issues he differs with the base. So why is he surging? I posit the notion that the base recognizes the key issue for 2008 is national security; a point the Democrats are intrinsically weak on. The recent bills in Congress show this. They want the troops brought home, and are willing to ignore the fallout in Iraq from such a move. But when their own colleagues didn't want to play the whip game, the leadership had to resort to bribery. The voters aren't pleased with the GOP in Congress right now. The NRSC Pledge and The Victory Caucus shows that disdain for those in Congress right now. The base understands what the issues are, and when their constituents decide to play games, the base reacts as it did in 2006.

Bush's low approval ratings are an illustration. Some experienced GOP campaign strategists believe that there is virtually no chance that a Republican can succeed Bush if his approval ratings remain mired in the 30s. The Democratic strategy of investigating administration scandals and policy blunders is calculated to achieve exactly that goal -- and the burgeoning controversy over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys has given Democrats in Congress yet another inviting target.

To make matters worse, as long as Bush is unpopular, Republicans on the Hill -- already frustrated at what they perceive as White House indifference to lawmakers' political problems -- are less inclined to defend Bush from attacks.

It's not the president's indifference to Congress, but rather his frustration with a Congress that believes it has some sort of authority with regard to the war. President Bush is trying to win a war on three fronts -- In Iraq, Afghanistan, and here at home -- and when the fifth column rears it's ugly head, his party should beat it back, not stand on the sidelines twiddling ti's thumbs. As for the investigations, especially into the attorney firings, it is the illusion the Democrats are portraying -- aided by their willing enablers in the MSM -- that are causing a good majority of the president's approval numbers to drop. That illusion is that every time the preisdent opens his mouth, makes a decision, or farts int he wrong direction, he's doing something wrong; raising questions regarding the legality of those decisions doesn't help.

While we do have an intelligent base, I can't speak to the vast majority of people who still get their news from the alphabet networks, and commentary from the likes of Chris Matthews, Jack Cafferty, or Keith Olbermann. These guys bluster at the drop of a hat. (Chris Matthews breathless commentary today about a "bombshell" coming out of the Samson testimony before the SJC today is a prime example of how the MSM is manipulating how people perceive the administration.)

Congress's job is to act as a check against the executive, but that doesn't mean they can call for investigations or subpoena administration officials because they believe, based on their blind partisanship, that the president has done something wrong. And the GOP is being viewed with antipathy from the base because it isn't strongly defending the president when it's called for, such as the attorneys being fired; such as the monies needed for the troops still in harm's way.

Ken Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee chairman who now gathers political intelligence for the Akin Gump lobbying firm, said the GOP is in need of urgent rehabilitation, which won't come unless it can defy long-term voting patterns.

"We have to win back the confidence we lost in '06 from swing voters and ticket splitters," said Mehlman. "The way you do that, in part, is by being a party that is less reliant on white guys and expands its support among Hispanics, among African-Americans."

Congressional Republicans, however, are not focused on expanding minority support. In fact, they are pursuing an immigration deal that Mehlman has warned could poison the GOP with Hispanic voters.

Ken's right to a point. But the immigration reform being pushed by the Congress -- especially the former Kennedy/McCain reform -- irked the heck out of voters because it proposed amnesty -- a mistake made by President Reagan in 1986. The base recognizes that problem number one with immigration right now is enfrocement, and they are continually ourtraged when both Republicans and Democrats actively pursue border agents for doing their jobs. A prime example are the two border agents sentenced to prison for shooting a drug smuggler. What sort of message does that send to the base? Not a good one, by any stretch of the imagination.

In addition, what the media flat-out refuses to acknowledge (the media in Arizona was forced to acknowledge this during the Mexican rallies here a year ago) was that the vast majority of naturalized citizens from Mexico residing in Arizona are appalled that the Congress would work towards amnesty for law breakers when they themselves had to jump through the leagl hoops to get here. The immigration issue focuses first and foremost on enforcement, and regularization second.

Overall GOP fundraising for the three major campaign committees was also down during January and February. The RNC, National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee raised a combined $30 million this year, compared with $40 million during the same period in 2005 and $38 million in 2003.

At the same time, Democratic fundraising surged, narrowing the GOP's money advantage.

This is a key sticking point for the GOP's base. Frustrated with their representative's actions in Congress -- failure of solid support for the war, continuing the pork spending, consistent interference with presidential powers -- the base hasn't exactly abandoned their people, but they are choosing to put their money with candidates directly. Fundraising for the NRCC, NRSC, and RNC is down, and rightly so. People are fed up with sending their money to fundraising organizations only to see it spent on people they don't agree with. Meanwhile, we look to the presidential candidates, again, and see that their fundraising dollars continue to roll in. The biggest complaint among members of the base is that when certain members of Congress step out of line, a la Chafee, McCain, Hagel, et al, the GOP refuses to hold them accountable. They base the decision on a need to maintain their seats rather than maintaining the party line and ideology.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said, however, that the painful lessons of 2006 have yet to be learned. "I don't think there has yet been a full appreciation for what just happened" in the November elections, Pawlenty said. "There remains an element of denial about the message that was just sent and the reality we face."

Governor Pawlenty is correct, in part. The hardest lesson for the GOP in Congress to learn from 2006 is exactly WHY they lost. The Democrats have grossly misinterpreted the election results as a mandate against the war. While Americans may be sick of the war (due mostly to the MSM's constant death toll/bad news drumbeat) they can see that the surge is working; a fact the Democrats continue to downplay, and deceive the nation about daily. The GOP didn't lose in 2006 because of the war. They lost because they couldn't control their spending, and that the president couldn't locate his veto pen. They lost because they acted more like the Democrats than the Democrats did. The message the voters got from their representatives in Congress was that the base didn't matter. To hell with us. We responded in a fashion similar to the sweeping of the '94 elections with an opposite effect.

Does the GOP have cause for concern in 2008? Of course, and as much as the Democrats do. The base isn't all that happy with what they're seeing out of key people in the House and Senate. The seemingly lone exception is Mitch McConnell, who has outmaneuvered the Democrats in the Senate since the start of the new session, but one man makes not an army. He can only lead him, and the soldiers are expected to perform. From where the base sits, many haven't. The deciding factor in 2008 will be national security, and as long as that is continually brought up, the Democrats are on the losing end of the debate.

The recent bills in congress prove this point. A withdrawal timetable, even one that has a clandestine date, is unacceptable. The aftermath of a withdrawal would rival the butchery this nation saw from our retreat in Vietnam, and on an almost unimaginable scale. Leaving Iraq to the wolves inside it's borders, leaving it to fend off an emboldened Iran, Iraq would fall into chaos, and into the hands of the enemies of freedom. We worry about creating a new safe haven in Iraq for our enemies when we should be more worried about what Iran might do.

Imagine Hezbollah setting up shop in Iraq the way they have in Labanon. Imagine Ahmadinejad and the mullahocracy setting up shop in Iraq with their WMD programs -- away fromt he prying eyes of the IAEA. Not that the IAEA has much to do with Iran right now as Ahmadinejad has again turned to defiance while the world twiddles it's thumbs, and fiddles while time we don't have burns away. The prospects of defeat not just for the nation, but for the world, looms on the horizon. If the Democrats get their way, that is what will happen. They refuse to look beyond today, and are perfectly happy with blaming those today for mistakes made yesterday.

Who was it that bought Kim Jong-Il at his word that he wouldn't make nukes?? Who was it that sold the North Koreans their power plant in the first place? Who threw a hissy fit when the president started calling on the world to hold Iran accountable for flouting the UN? It wasn't our side. It was theirs. Sure, we had a couple nutters who leapt from the precipice of reason, but it's the Democrats who keep trying make us more humble in the world's eyes. I'd prefer that not happen.

Will the GOP suffer in 2008? Not if they shape up quickly, and start making the case for what a Democrat-controlled Congress and a Democrat in the White House means. It doesn't mean security. It stands for capitualtion and surrender in a war that will determine the course of history for decades to come. Look at Europe, and ask yourselves if that's what you want the United States to be in the near future. If your answer is no, then you, like my wife and I, look to 2008 with hope rather than concern.

Publius II


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