A Denuded Victory


If the polls are to be believed, the Republicans are more likely than not going to regain control of the Senate next year. Probably, they will increase their margin of control in the House. These are good things, I guess, in the sense that all elected Democrats are pro-abortion and removing one from power is always a net positive. So a week from Tuesday I will go out and cast my vote for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Lamar Alexander48%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard48% and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Marsha Blackburn73%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard73% and will do so without much complaint.

But that’s an idiomatic reason that appeals only to me and the relatively small slice of America who thinks like I do on that issue. With respect to the vast majority of the rest of America, I’m at a loss as to what benefit they are supposed to receive from a Republican victory on election day.

This Republican failure of messaging is astonishing and dismaying to me. Democrats, and President Obama in particular, are unpopular and the American public dislikes almost everything they have done since taking power. The Republicans seem content to rest on the sizzling platform of not being the Democrats and ride this to a marginal victory. The one actual policy position they are unified on – repealing Obamacare – remains implausible while Obama himself occupies the White House.

Republicans could be poised to make even bigger gains a week from Tuesday, if they could actually articulate a positive vision about something – anything – that America could be excited about. But instead, they are so scared to make a mistake by sticking their neck out on anything that they are hiding in foxholes and hoping the wave carries them over the top into control – however narrow – presumably so the lobbyists will once again view them with more favor.

Republicans are hoping for a victory on par with 1994 and they may get one that is close, at least in terms of numbers of seats won. But this victory, if it is achieved, will almost definitely be comparatively hollow, and it is their own fault. In 1994, the country was likewise sick of the Democrats, but the Republicans …read more    

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