Ken Mehlman is the unflappable efficiency expert who chairs the Republican National Committee. Because he’s not known for histrionics, his warning last week to GOP congressional staffers about this November’s elections caused many on Capitol Hill to bolt upright.
Mr. Mehlman traveled to Capitol Hill to warn the staffers that they risked a disaster at the polls if they didn’t pass meaningful legislation the conservative base cares about. Other GOP strategists go even further. “If the election were held today, I’d say the odds are 90% that we’d lose the House,” says GOP consultant Mike Murphy. ~John Fund, OpinionJournal.com
As has been mentioned before, the time for the Republicans to start panicking was ten or twelve months ago when they still had time to make the necessary changes. Then they might have been able to put together a legislative agenda that could have at least duped enough of their regular voters into turning out for them. Even eight months ago might have been soon enough to get the ball rolling on an immigration bill that will satisfy the disgruntled GOP voter. As it stands now, the GOP cannot push the kind of immigration bill they need to push to whip up the base in the time they have left, and they are left trumpeting such clever things as penalising energy companies for price-gouging. In addition to handling the regular budget legislation, the Congress will have at best three solid months between now and November when members are not on recess or on campaign. Any legislation rushed through in that period of time will probably be unusually poorly written and ill-considered. It is no longer a question of the GOP Congress “performing.” They had the last 15 months to perform, and they failed. Politically speaking, now is the time for them to begin preparing damage control.