Friday, November 09, 2007

Rove's read...

Karl Rove's read of the 2008 landscape - at least as it pertains to Congress - is worth keeping in mind.

Why is Rove's take worth remembering? Let's lay it out: When he and President Bush were running the game plans from 2000-2004, the GOP made electoral gains.

After pledging a "Congress that strongly honors our responsibility to protect our people from terrorism," Democrats have refused to make permanent reforms of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that the Director of National Intelligence said were needed to close "critical gaps in our intelligence capability." Their presidential candidates fell all over each other in a recent debate to pledge an end to the Terrorist Surveillance Program. Then Senate Democratic leaders, thinking there was an opening for political advantage, slow-walked the confirmation of Judge Michael Mukasey to be the next attorney general. It's obvious that this is a man who knows the important role the Justice Department plays in the war on terror. Delaying his confirmation is only making it harder to prosecute the war.

Democrats promised "civility and bipartisanship." Instead, they stiff-armed their Republican colleagues, refused to include them in budget negotiations between the two houses, and have launched more than 400 investigations and made more than 675 requests for documents, interviews or testimony. They refused a bipartisan compromise on an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, instead wasting precious time sending the president a bill they knew he would veto. And they did this knowing that they wouldn't be able to override that veto. Why? Because their pollsters told them putting the children's health-care program at risk would score political points. Instead, it left them looking cynical.

The list of Congress's failures grows each month. No energy bill. No action on health care. No action on the mortgage crisis. No immigration reform. No progress on renewing No Child Left Behind. Precious little action on judges and not enough on reducing trade barriers. Congress has not done its work. And these failures will have consequences.
In essence, I think AJ-Strata has been right - the American public is going to look for a problem-solver in 2008. The Republicans have two of them competing for the nomination, and ranking 1-2: Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

The 2006 midterm defeat is now looking like a great boon to the GOP. In essence, the GOP now has the chance to shake some of its strident fringe on issues like immigration and abortion, instead focusing on winning the Global War on Terror and getting the economy in shape. The Dems will be beholden to their strident fringe, which bitterly opposes the war.

Shades of 1988, anyone?

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