Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Gloom And Doom Time?

I woke up this morning to a strange alarm, in a strange bed. Must mean there's a USA Today at my door ... and there was, with this graphic and headline:

Of course the story is much less sensational than the headline, which is based on a national poll on national politics, and anyone with a rudimentary understanding of politics knows people vote differently locally than they think nationally.

This poll appears to have been structured to generate an emotional response, or a response from an emotional segment of the electorate, as evidenced by a first-time-ever conclusion that a majority of voters (not necessarily frequent voters) believes the Dems will be better at fighting terrorism than the GOP. Not just a majority; a big majority: 46% to 41%.

More evidence: The USAToday poll's gains for the Dems are about twice those found in ABC, CBS and Newsweek polls. Check out the RCP home page.

There is scant connection between the Foley scandal and the execution of the war. The Dems are still the party that stands for hampering success through withdrawl, polite interrogation and a dearth of intelligence.

Note that the swing occurred over about the time between now and the election, which means that there is enough time for it to swing back, given some adept politicking by the GOP -- and some perceived progress in the war. Osama, where are you?

Bush could also help keep GOP control by dealing very forcefully with NoKo's nuke test ... something terribly lacking in yesterday's milquetoast statement. Here's a suggestion: Ring up Beijing and tell them to stop providing NoKo its lifeblood of energy and food by next Tuesday, or sayonara to China's Favored Nation trade status.

Let the Dems try to foil that.

But what if it doesn't swing back? What are the GOP's contingency plans should they lose Congress? Here are a few modest suggestions:
  • Introduce Mr. Bush to the veto. He'll have to use it much more than once every six years.
  • Build some instant leadership structure in Iraq. Put our best-ever general in charge and make it a long-term assignment. Force the Dems take him out in order to change course. Unfortunately, the way the war's been managed, there is no Schwartzkoff; we need someone of that stature.
  • Set up instantaneous hard decisions for the Dems. Their first Congressional session must be one where the GOP forces them to make highly visible decisions about national security, executing the war on terror, gay marriage, taxes and other divisive issues. 2008, Baby.
  • Keep pushing on pages. Scratch this surface and you'll find dirty Dems, and that will cause a lot of emotional voters to regret their votes.
Job number one is to salvage November, which will take Hastert's cooperation. As in, "See the door, Mr. Speaker? Goodbye." But the prize to keep our eyes on is November 2008.

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