Friday, October 24, 2008

Rats. Ship. Sink.

Somebody wins and election and the other guys are losers, there's no good natured sharing in this equation, you are either the winner or you are a loser. The bigger the election the larger the scale of those attached until finally you get to the Presidency. There you reach the stratosphere of political winner and losers. The overhead at campaign staff makes real money during the campaign, but the payoff comes afterwards. Now you are an important person with access, access for sale. If you win.

In most major elections there are coat tails and at the Presidential level the coat tails are long in most elections and an election like this one coat tails are huge. Many not competitive races this time out have turned not only competitive but bad for the presumed favorites. The down party isn't talking about gain or holding its own, it is talking about limiting the hemorrhaging.

NYT Magazine has a story coming out about the McCain campaign and what previews have shown are very sharp knives coming out, internally. A near loss leaves these folks with a pretty good future, access to the movers and shakers, book and article deals, television and radio appearances - not as good as a win, but respectable with only a whiff of the smell of loser. A serious beating leaves the stink of death, they become the untouchables short of deals for finger pointing which soon become very old news. The McCain team will become names known only to the insiders and then as
bad drivers. There is usually an effort to avoid being lumped in with the other losers after the election, this time the odor of failure is coming early and thus the sharp knives.

Down ticket players are horridly vulnerable to forces outside their control. Ordinarily Party identification is sufficient to back the top of the ticket and the ordinary voting patterns of the area will cover shortcomings at the top. Party moderates are somewhat more vulnerable due to the nature of the electorate that elects moderates, but generally previous voting patterns keep them safe. When the top is going down in flames nobody is very safe. This time out the Republican down ticket has real problems. The sitting President is at 28% approval holding only about 3/4 of the Republicans and Congress has abysmal numbers and it is beginning to look like an electoral blow out and possibly over 7% popular vote landslide. The top of the ticket is barely managing to hold the narrow base and is actually alienating the middle.

Sen Gordon Smith of Oregon is only partially illustrative, a mock moderate with an over 90% Bush voting record and no legislative accomplishments in a slightly blue state (if you're not from OR you may not know this) he has run away from his Party this year. None of his ads with political celebrities involve Republican wheels, they are Democrats. Unwilling Democrats. Liddy Dole may be more informative, her latest advertisement features a line that holds her out as a hope to keep the Democrats from running everything. Her state for the first time in a very long time is in play at the Presidential level and her seat is in serious jeopardy, a campaign that just tossed the McCain ticket.

Republican former officials are committing the political heresy of not staying silent with their disapproval for the ticket, they are backing the Democrats. Republican pundits are up in arms, dissenting from the ticket or leaving - quite publicly. They don't want to be associated with the looming disaster. Some are looking to the future, some are looking to their legacies and none look secure with McCain/Palin. John McCain represents himself as having run into a rough patch, observers from his own party see it as a buzz saw.

The McCain Line's Titanic has hit the iceberg named Obama and the folks who've made it into the life boats have no intention of getting sucked down with it. What this will mean post-January 20th is open to question, the Republicans left in Congress will be either the hard core survivors or the Senators out of this election loop. Even the faux moderate Smith is looking unlikely and the actual moderates face disaster. This will soon be a Party not only looking for a way back to power but more importantly for a way to survive as an important player.

This piece will make the distinction between winners and losers particularly vicious. The short term tactic is to obstruct and demonize Democrats but this won't move them forward, their trickle of losses this time out will quickly turn into a flood as the hard edge takes the fore. This could quickly turn into a downward spiral into the hard right and a twenty percent share. The 'c' conservatives will be left with nowhere to go, they are not Democrats, so they may fight and Republicans don't fight like Democrats do. It could get really bloody, rats swimming in open water will climb on anything including other rats and teeth will come out.

It couldn't happen to a better bunch...

2 comments:

KISS said...

And in time the dimmos will be corrupted and the process will start over with the repugs gaining control. Hubris, egregious and greed knows no party singularly. Just maybe a more open government with more parties will prevail and the voters will be more than the bad taste to the grovelling want-a-be elected pols, be they dimmos or repugs.
Anyone happy with today's candidates should be ashamed of the piss-poor quality being shoved on the voters. Another strike against the so called experiment in democracy.

Chuck Butcher said...

OK KISS,
Send me a Word document via email that lays out the Platform of the party you'd join and I'll put it up. Use one to two sentences for each plank. Feel free to make it up entirely since this is the new KISS Party.

If you go much beyond one page of Word it won't get read. I've done this stuff for the Democrats and I know it's not simple but it is possible.

Whether a Party becomes corrupt and out of touch depends entirely on the voters and information. This is exactly what Primaries are all about. Engagement trumps complaints.