Reading today’s NYTimes article on the Repub loss in Mississippi this week seems to have Repubs worried that they will not win and the Democrats are poised to grow their lead in the House and Senate. But something seems amiss here. All we have to do is take our crystal ball (Oh great google search, can you help us?) and look at what was happening just two years ago.
Two years ago at this time, the Repubs were at the top of their game. The Economist back in 2006 were discussing the Republican hegemony, the discussion of a Democratic lead in the House was on the order of 2 seats, and the Senate was comfortably in Republican hands. Then, the departure of one of the most powerful Repubs was announced in April (Tom Delay) and then in July, a little-known Florida Congressman named Mark Foley appeared on the scene. With these two issues, combined by the Repub’s Dennis Hastert looking like an inept keeper of the House, it was little wonder that the Democrats were suddenly seen as the alternative to the poorly performing Repubs.
A short four months later and the world was talking about a Democrat majority in the House of 15 to 30 seats and a potential overturning of the Senate. From what seemed to be a certainty of stability for the Repubs became the Blue Wave that shaped 2006.
So, you think we can win now?
Well, with the Democrats winding up the long march to the nomination and McCain doing a couple of definite different dances on the stereotype Repub issues (did you catch him in Oregon as he stumps this week?) And, with a majority that was not veto proof, the mantle of the “do-nothing” Repub Congress might get handed to the Democrats through no fault of their own. And the question that I wonder about is…
What new story will come from Congress this year?
See, I am not worried about Obama and his past, since he is operating on change, his history and the Dems history is very different and can not be attributed to each other (as the Repubs discovered in the Mississippi election). But, that does not mean the Repubs will not find ways of using the Democratic Congress’s own stories against them – including the lack of performance on the issues of the day that mattered to the people that got them elected.
I wonder what will happen next.