September 15, 2006

More Gratuitous Political Observations

I've been reading a few articles from conservative writers wondering if a Donk takeover of the House would be so bad for the GOP after all. The theory seems to be that such a shift would work as a welcomed cluebat to the base of the GOP skull as well as forcing the Donks to put their money where their collective mouth is, the result perhaps leading to actual GOP gains in '08.

Well......color me dubious. In ordinary times, I might have some sympathy for this point of view. But IMHO, the next couple years are going to be pretty important in terms of the GWOT and especially (as Krauth notes today) Iran. It strikes me that having Speaker Pelosi biting him in the behind 24/7 would be the last thing Dubya would need.

Jonah today paints a rosier picture:

But a Pelosi-run House could so horrify voters that it would probably prepare the soil for a Republican presidential candidate in 2008. Pelosi is, if anything, a moderate in the Democratic caucus, but she is indisputably far to the left of the American center, in part because she and her colleagues mistake passionately angry bloggers for the mainstream. Letting voters see this crowd try to have its way for two years would only help the GOP in the far more important 2008 election.

Moreover, it could very well boost President Bush’s popularity in his final two years — popularity he would need to conduct foreign policy, which tends to dominate the final years of all presidencies.

It’s one thing to carp and snipe at the president as the party out of power. It is quite another to use congressional power to hobble a wartime commander in chief. When the economy was strong and the world was deceptively peaceful, perceived Republican overreach kept Bill Clinton’s poll numbers up. It’s entirely possible that similar behavior — behavior the Democratic base will doubtlessly demand — would have a similar effect on Bush’s popularity, especially with troops fighting overseas. A Speaker Pelosi couldn’t get left-wing legislation through, and nothing too terrifying could survive in the GOP-run Senate or be spared Bush’s veto pen, which, sad to say, still has plenty of ink in it. One exception might be immigration, but that would hand conservative Republicans a dream issue for 2008.

As for Iraq, antiwar liberals also would discover that having a majority within a party is not the same thing as controlling it. Democrats would not be able to force a withdrawal from Iraq, but they’d look even more McGovernite in the process.

It isn't often that I think Jonah gets things wrong but this might be one of those times. Not only would a constant stream of investigations, hearings, impeachment attempts, etc., play havoc with public (and international) perception, the shear amount of energy the White House would be required to squander just fighting them off boggles the mind.

As I say, in normal times, this might not be such a bad thing. But now? I'm not sure the country needs this kind of distraction.

Posted by Robert at September 15, 2006 09:29 AM | TrackBack

I'm with you, Robbo. This is crazy talk. The stakes are WAY too high here.

My fear is that Goldberg and some of the other folks in the Conservative Pundit Glitterati are losing touch.

If the Left wins, the will be emboldened and attacks on our anti-terror policies with only increase. And many might actually succeed.

Posted by: Gary at September 15, 2006 09:52 AM

Include me in, too. The Repubs in Congress are bad enough. We absolutely do not need these distractions at this stage of the war.

Posted by: Rachel at September 15, 2006 11:05 AM

I'm with The Victory Wing. Losing is for losers!

Posted by: The Colossus at September 15, 2006 12:58 PM