After 2006, most observers thought that those results suggested a onetime event, a so-called wave election, and predicted that come 2008, Republicans would reclaim some of those seats, the usual correction after a wave like this passes. But now, seven months before the 2008 election, that does not seem likely. The influential, independent Cook Political Report recently concluded that 12 of the 14 districts most vulnerable to change parties in this election will belong to Republicans, suggesting that Cole’s party is likely to end up in an even deeper hole. ~The New York Times Magazine
Ten months ago, I was talking about Tom Cole and the thankless job he had taken on at NRCC, observing that Cole’s optimism about regaining lost seats was misplaced. Recruiting candidates was a problem back then, and it is still a problem, and the same goes for fundraising and party ID. This has not been helped by the complete lack of anything resembling a message, coherent or otherwise. That is why the Democratic bloodletting in the presidential race is so significant, and why McCain’s current polling is so remarkable. By all rights, the Democrats should own this year, and in the Congressional races they do seem set to make another big sweep, but it is not coming together as it should be in the presidential polling. After the last debacle of unified government, I think a lot of McCain voters are not going to be terribly interested in increasing GOP numbers in the House or making Mitch McConnell the new Senate Majority Leader.
P.S. At least Cole is smarter than John Boehner, who never stops yammering about the dreaded earmark:
“Earmarks are not the reason that we lost the election,” Cole told me. “I can’t find a single seat we lost because of them.”
This is obvious, but in a party where connections to reality are rare this is a small, hopeful sign for the Republicans.
P.P.S. Cole also has some common sense when it comes to the fratricidal ways of the Club for Growth:
“The problem I have with the club is I think they’re stupid,” Cole said. “I think they’re politically inept. They spend more money beating Republicans than Democrats.”