A series of things that should make for some sleepless nights over the next few weeks, and in some cases, years.
Jack Abramoff, the lobbying scandal figure, has become such a chatty rat that probe insiders say he’s been given a desk to work at in the FBI. We’re told he spends up to four hours a day detailing his shady business to agents eager to nail more congressmen in the scandal. And when cooperative witnesses spend that much time inside, they get a desk. As a result of his help in the ever expanding investigation, we hear that the Feds hope to keep him in a nearby prison after he’s sentenced on his conspiracy admission.
Tim im’d me the link to this yesterday, and stated: “All I can think of is Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2.”
2.) America’s unfriendly relationship with the Republican party and the nationalization of the elections:
For months, Rep. Tom Reynolds, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee and who himself is in a tough race, has insisted that GOP candidates would survive a difficult political landscape because House elections traditionally turn on local issues, not national ones.
However, in the new poll, 43% of likely voters say national issues will make the biggest difference in their vote; 24% say local or state issues. That’s the first overwhelming edge for national issues since the question was first asked in a Times Mirror poll in 1994.
A cascade of Republican misfortunes, including a string of ethics scandals and escalating violence in Iraq, has set the stage for a Democratic resurgence. Only an event as dramatic as the capture of Osama bin Laden or a terrorist attack could reverse the trend toward Democrats, analysts say.
“Nobody’s listening to the rhetoric anymore,” says political scientist Gary Jacobson of the University of California, San Diego. “They’re responding to the news.”
When the public stops paying attention to the rhetoric, the GOP is screwed, as the Republican party has been operating in a fact-free fantasy land for a few years. Glenn Greenwald spots a perfect example of this in Hugh Hewitt’s discussion of why he doesn’t believe polls:
How do Bush followers respond to this onslaught of data? With the same methods they used for several years (and still do) to pretend that things were going “remarkably well” in Iraq — namely, by simply refusing to accept facts and insisting that they are the by-product of liberal bias. From Hugh Hewitt:
I get a lot of e-mail asking me why I point to polls like the one favoring Steele when I discount some polls favoring some Democrats.
Because this question comes mostly from lefties, I will pause to explain in as uncomplicated a fashion as possible.
Polling methodology and models favors Democrats.
So polls that show Republicans tied or ahead I see as indicating a race in which the Republican is in the lead.
Polls that show a Republican within striking distance I see as a poll indicating a dead heat.
It shouldn’t be that hard to grasp, even for a lefty.
That is the mindest that has been running our country for six years now. That is how we heard for so long that violence in Iraq was wildly overstated by a Bush-hating media that exaggerated the bombings and the kidnappings and failed to report on the much more significant stories of all the school houses that were being painted and the candy dispensed by Marines to smiling Iraqi kids.
Speaking as someone who bought the party line for far too long, you would be amazed what you can believe if you keep convincing yourself the press, the libs, the universities- hell, everyone but a few on the religious fringe and big business- are out to get you. I was lucky- I started to snap out of this a couple of years ago and hopefully will now apply to both major parties the same skepticism and cynicism I had in the past reserved for Democrats.
3.) Bush’s rock-bottom numbers and what people think of him- a majority think impeachment of Bush would not be out of line:
Other parts of a potential Democratic agenda receive less support, especially calls to impeach Bush: 47 percent of Democrats say that should be a “top priority,” but only 28 percent of all Americans say it should be, 23 percent say it should be a lower priority and nearly half, 44 percent, say it should not be done. (Five percent of Republicans say it should be a top priority and 15 percent of Republicans say it should be a lower priority; 78 percent oppose impeachment.) Rolling back some of the Bush tax cuts would be contentious too: 38 percent of Americans say the Dems should make that a top priority; 28 percent say it should be a lower priority; and 28 percent say it shouldn’t be done at all.
Of course, as we all know, polls are biased and, as one of our esteemed readers stated, “Figures lie and liars figure.” In general, I don’t support impeachment, in large part because I still believe in the power of the Republican spin machine. If the Dems come into power, the spinmeisters will try to portray them as ‘crazy Bush haters,’ and I would hate for the Dems to blow a shot at 2008. I really think we need the Dems to win in ’06 and ’08 so the GOP can have some good time out of power, clear out the rot, do some soul-searching, and get back to the basics. Howver, if the Democrats win, and become as ruthless and nasty as the Republicans have been for the past ten years, it will be well-deserved, and I can point to my friends on the right that I warned you all repeatedly. Will it be good for the country? I don’t know, but considering this GOP has not cared about the good of the country for a while, it won’t be much of a change for most of us.
4.) The growing dissatisfaction with the GOP from former supporters. Libertarian and former Bush supporter has had it and explains why he voted for the Democrats in 2006 (*** Update*** Bill writes to note he did not vote for Democrats, but, rather he chose not to vote for Republicans), Patterico, who has no love for Democrats, is showing signs that he refuses to swallow the administration bullshit anymore (and in fairness, Patterico has always been his own man- but now he is overtly rejecting the spin), Andrew Olmstead is tired of the administration nonsense (and has been for a while) and is assuming a Democrat victory in a few weeks, and even Tom Maguire is mocking the administration.
Attention party hacks and spinmeisters- you have even lost John Derbyshire:
Look, we’re not ever likely to get a govt. that follows a purely conservative line on all issues. We are an influence, that’s all, and that’s all we can reasonably hope to be. But when faced with a GOP government intent on massively expanding the welfare state, on open borders, and on “nation-building” in remote places, we should acknowledge that we are being no influence at all. We have gone from being an influence for good policies to being an enabler of bad policies.
The only thing we can usefully do then is to assert our existence as a voting bloc in the one way that’s available to us: by not voting. That lays down a warning to any future GOP administration that might be tempted to go as badly wrong on important conservative issues as this one has.
This nation survived Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton; it will survive Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel. Ten, fifteen, twenty years from now, when our kids are voters, some GOP administration and Congress might be tempted to violate core conservative principles as egregiously as this one has. But they will hear key voices, the voices of party elders and wise commentators, warning: “Remember the Great Congressional Massacre of ’06! Let’s not risk that happening again!” And Congress and the admin. will then turn the wheel to the right.
5.) Entirely anecdotal, but I have gone through the sample ballot and have chosen my candidates. I will be, for the first time in my life, essentially voting straight ticket Democrat.
Senate: Robert Byrd, (D)
House: Alan Mollahan, (D)
State Senate: Mike Oliverio (D)
House of Delegates: Bob Beach (D), Charlene Marshall (D), Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D), Alex Shook (D)
County Commissioner: No candidate I like
Magistrate: Darris Summers (D)
All Democrats, and the only Republican I would have considered (County Commissioner) I don’t know enough about and am choosing not to vote. Should I learn more about him- probably, but I am willing to punish him for the sins of the national party. Petty and unfair, but a message needs to be sent.
All of those signs point to what I hope will be a real bloodbath for the GOP. I hope we get wiped out in the election, and I look forward to the circular firing squad, because I have a lot of ammunition and a flak jacket in the form of my archives (with four years of “I told ya so’s.”).
We need to get rid of the authoritarians, we need to get rid of the big-spenders, the religionists and the gay-bashers, the liars, con-artists, crooks, and thieves, and we need to start over. I really look forward to the day where I have the high ground on tax related issues because my party is not spending us into bankruptcy. I look forward to the day when my party, when faced with difficult scientific questions, turns to the experts (rather than turning on them) instead of Sen. Inhofe and James Dobson and Randall Terry. I look forward to the day when my party once again has enough of a moral standing that we should even be allowed to discuss human rights and torture in foreign regimes. I look forward to the day when we can, with a straight face, argue that we are the party of small government- after, of course, we get rid of the religionists who are trying to dictate who we can love, who we can sleep with, who gets to determine what we watch on tv, and who gets to determine our end of life decisions. I look forward to the day when it is once again the Democrats who look crazy.
But for right now, it is the GOP that is out of touch, out of control, and drowning in it’s own hubris. It is time to throw them an anchor, and it looks like there are a lot of people lining up on the docks to do just that.