In looking at the 2014 mid-terms, the New York Times‘ Nate Cohn is incapable of seeing beyond a Democrat-centric point of view. The result is his completely missing the point as regards what’s most likely happening on the ground in 2014: Four Reasons the G.O.P.’s National Edge Isn’t Translating to Senate Races.
Every single scenario Cohn posits has to do with demographics, or what Democrats, or Democrat voters may, or may not be doing. That’s the equivalent of a sports analyst only looking at one team in an athletic contest. The piece may confirm which team the NYT’s views as its home team; however, it does nothing to enlighten, or inform as regards the broader and bi-partisan (whether the Times likes it, or not) national political landscape.
What 2014 is poised to go down as is the year, and not the first one, that Republicans blew it – every bit as much as they blew it in 2008 and 2012 by running largely uninspiring candidates and campaigns based upon little more than, … hey at least we aren’t the other guy, or team.
And worse, they are doing it after a bitterly divisive primary season in which their own leadership vowed to destroy the single most active elements of it’s own base. How out of touch does the GOP have to be to think that something like this can be merely forgotten?
And, why on earth do they actually believe rank and file conservative Republicans will be out there beating the bushes every day to make a Mitch McConnell Majority Leader?
The fact is, many aren’t and likely won’t be before election day and this current crop of Beltway-centric Republicans doesn’t seem any more interested in intra-party fence-mending, than they are serious about erecting one anywhere along America’s southern border.
It’s as if the current Republican Party is afraid to lead on anything, let alone stand for much beyond some highfalutin rhetoric with little if any genuine substance behind it.
In effect, a mostly leaderless GOP is trying to win a Senate Majority to go along with a majority in the House of Representatives based upon a ‘we don’t like Obama anymore than you do right now’ strategy. Not only will it most likely not be enough to capture their much coveted Senate majority, no one would, or should confuse it for anything akin to leadership, or even statesmanship, for that matter.
The GOP appears content to let some number of voters wander to the polls in November with but one thing on their mind – how upset are they, really, with the Democrats. If you doubt that, ask yourself, what is one unifying theme or issue you can identify today for which the current GOP stands, one which they’ve vowed to fight for should American grant them that desired Senate majority?
Other than perhaps being the party of not Obama, I doubt very much if you can name a single one, aside from a fleeting campaign commercial moment in this state, or that.
Wave elections do not just happen. Certainly, a groundswell to be capitalized upon must exist – and it has this year, just as it has in past years for both parties to seize upon. But that groundswell has to be capitalized upon, momentum needs to be built around it, not merely taken for granted. Observers should take note, the 2010 wave election did not originate in the halls of some Beltway Republican strategy firm. It began with comments from Rick Santelli of CNBC.
Unfortunately for a lackluster and seemingly directionless GOP, no television personalities seemed interested in stepping up to provide the type of vision and energy Republican establishment organizations like the RNC and NRSC should be providing as part of their charter.
Instead, today’s GOP orgs appear to be staffed by largely self-promoting wonko-crats more interested in trying to coast along on some presumed wave, as opposed to creating one for their party the way Democrats routinely can and do.
The greatest accomplish for that sort tends to be they get to keep their job after a so-so year.
Consequently, in what should be a banner year for the GOP – giving them commanding majorities in both Houses of Congress, they’ll no doubt hold onto one and be very lucky to eek out a majority in the upper chamber. And even that’s in serious doubt in a year when it absolutely shouldn’t be.
Make no mistake, given the overall political landscape going into 2014, even if it does happen, just barely winning a Senate majority for a hugely unpopular Mitch McConnell will not be a sign post for some new, resurgent GOP. What it will represent to many is a mere pause at an otherwise unremarkable way station on the road to what most continue to view as today’s establishment GOP’s ongoing and inevitable decline.