Panic on the Right?

Here’s Republican pollster Frank Luntz, as quoted by syndicated columnist Robert Novak (via Townhall, h/t Instapundit)…

“The Republican message machine is a skeleton of its former self,” Luntz told me. “These people have no idea how the American people react to them.
Luntz sees a disconnect between Republicans and voters that projects a grim future for the party. That contradicts what House and Senate Republicans are saying to each other in closed party conferences. While Luntz views 2006 election defeats as ominous portents, the party’s congressional leaders see only transitory setbacks and now dwell on bashing Democrats….
“The Republican Party that lost those historic elections was a tired, cranky shell of the articulate reformist, forward-thinking movement that was swept into office in 1994 on a wave of positive change,” Luntz wrote. He went on to say that the Republicans of 2006 “were an ethical morass, more interested in protecting their jobs than protecting the people they served. The 1994 Republicans came to ‘revolutionize’ Washington. Washington won.”

And here’s former Clinton political consultant Dick Morris as quoted by the Washington Examiner (h/t Drudge)…
No matter what happens, the situation in Iraq will “assure that the GOP gets massacred in 2008 congressional elections.” In 2010, the Republicans will take back the Congress — “Hillary will give Republicans the same gift she gave them in 1994” — and they’ll win the presidency in 2012, but thanks to demographic shifts favoring Democrats (namely the rising Hispanic and African-American populations), “that will be the last Republican president we’ll ever see.”
Before the 2006 elections, you could find Republican strategists talking about how demography was going to guarantee a Republican majority into the future, since more babies are born in red states than in blue ones. Now, we’re seeing a wave of contrary predictions, ala Dick Morris, forecasting that Republicans are doomed to become nothing more than a regional party. That’s quite a switch in prognostication, more than should be discernable from the results of a single election. Either someone was wrong before, or someone is wrong now (or I suppose, everyone has been and continues to be wrong, all of the time!)
One thing seems pretty clear to me at this stage; Morris’ prediction stands a much better chance of coming true, if the National Republican Party continues its current strategy of totally writing off blue states in the northeast without a fight.
So who do you think is over-reacting, and who’s taking the long view?

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Marc Comtois
17 years ago

Well, at the bare minimum, I think politics will continue to have some sort of cyclical character. The GOP revolution of ’94 was based on a corrupt Congress and somewhat of a conservative backlash against then-Pres. Clinton. The past election was probably mostly a result of both Iraq and–there it is again–corruption. Because of increased scrutiny by old and especially new media, I think the party in power will have a hard time getting away with the sort of things they did in the past.
And remember, the margins in the last “tsunami” left the control of Congress in a more tenuous state than back in ’94. I think it more likely that the difference will continue to be razor-thin and we are all in for a back and forth era of wielding political power. Maybe it’ll be better for all?

17 years ago

I think it’s really dangerous to make broud generalizations from one election. After the huge Dem. gains in 1974 and Carter’s victory in ’76, Republicans were totally distraught and hopeless. Just four years later the party swept into the White House and took control of the Senate.
Morris is entertaining, but his predictions have to be taken with many grains of salt.

17 years ago

Forget Iraq. What will the president’s (and he, Cheney, and the oil comppanies are the only ones who think this is a good idea) war in Iran do to the standing of the Rep party?

Justin Katz
17 years ago

Well, Klaus, we can only hope it comes to that!

17 years ago

Iraq would certainly make a good base from which to attack Iran, but that is conjecture, of course. If Iran wants a war, I’d guess they’d get it. It’d probably also have the effect of putting down much of the Sunni led insurgency in Iraq, if all of a sudden, we were seen as being on “their” side. It’s certainly interesting to contemplate.

Scott Bill Hirst
Scott Bill Hirst
17 years ago

I have NOT committed to a GOP candidate for President in 2008 but plan to run for delegate.
Elections can be influenced by many factors.Iraq at this point seems to be in a political context anyway, a “loser”.That could change of course but I assume it will impact the 2008 elections.
If I was a Democratic adviser which I am not,of course, any candidate on that side should SERIOUSLY look at Bill Richardson,as a potential running mate,part Hispanic,a competitive group with large concentrations in many states;foriegn policy experience,(U.N.Ambassador);cabinet experience,(Secretary of Energy);Congressional Experience(U.S.House);and Gubernatorial Experience(Governor of New Mexico);.If teamed with the leading Dem. candidates arguably is more impressive “on paper” than Hillary Clinton,Barack Obama,and John Edwards,.
Experienced and credentialed candidates may have stay power with voters than just personality.We will see!

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
17 years ago

>>I have NOT committed to a GOP candidate for President in 2008 but plan to run for delegate.
As for me, concerning the de facto front runners for the GOP nomination for President, I’m SO DISCOURAGED!
Guiliani? Hardly a Republican in any sense of the word, except, perhaps, if your name is Chafee. A northeast liberal for President? Puhleez, that last thing the GOP needs is another RINO carrying its banner.
Romney? See above.
McCain? I don’t know what he is, but I know that he’s no (real) Republican. Supports amnesty for illegals. McCain-Feingold. Has shown open disdain for conservatives (and not just evangelical conservatives). MCCAIN IS NOTHING BUT BOB DOLE WITH AN ORNERY STREAK.
No thanks. If any of those three become the nominee, come 2008 I’d be inclined to “”sit this one out.”
Extended minority status, and exile from the White House, might be high price we need to pay to restore the Republican Party to being the Republican Party.
We don’t need RINO candidates or Bob Dole-like candidates, we need Ronald Reagan-like candidates.

17 years ago

As long as the GOP allows Club for Growth and similar elements to torpedo its moderates, Morris’ prediction isn’t entirely off base.
One of the smartest things the Dems ever did is adopt Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy. He worked on building the party even in the reddest of red states, and it paid off with some victories in the South and Mountain West (and who ever thought the Dems would take a House seat in Kansas)? Even in races the GOP won, the Dems put up candidates competitive enough to require an effort in areas Republicans may have taken for granted.
If Kerry had made an effort in more than 16 intensely targeted states in ’04, he would’ve been in position to capitalize on possible opportunities in states such as Virginia and North Carolina where the Dems have made headway in recent years.

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