The column itself is excellent, bringing up some points that I would’ve never stumbled across. Then again, I might be a bit biased in what I consider the most important issue of the day, as you may have noticed by the large map of the Middle East hovering above this post. Mr. Barnes correctly figures that for the time being, Republicans are in trouble on both the congressional and presidential election level as we head toward 2008.
Something that I think isn’t being stressed enough is voter fatigue. As far as I can recall, we’ve never seen a political season last as long as the 2008 presidential campaign is supposed to go on for. Candidates have been pouring money into their bids and holding almost weekly debates (that have been worthless from a substance standpoint on both sides) since the week after the 2006 congressional elections. I just don’t think that if voters are even paying attention yet that they’ll be able to keep up the steam until that Tuesday morning, more than a year away. So the catastrophe being quietly predicted by some on our side shouldn’t climb out onto the ledges just yet.
This is a point that Mr. Barnes makes throughout his piece, in addition to being adamant that Republicans shouldn’t wait for Democrats to trip themselves up. I agree with this. People were upset enough with the Republicans to give control back to the Democrats (that most newly elected Dems were relatively conservative is an aside) and we shouldn’t be looking for the Democrats “showing their true colors” to the American people as a path to victory. The non-politically motivated among our public isn’t going to pick up on the Democrats raising your taxes, or your boss’s taxes, and they certainly won’t recognize the economic theory that relates higher class tax hikes to pain in their wallet without some real explaining from our side.
That being said, Iraq is one issue where the Democrats can provide our side with some fodder for the 2008 campaign, so long as things continue to have some positive progress. They’re going to be tempted to politicize the Petraeus report, and you can bet that the far left will be pushing for them to introduce more retreat legislation, even as General Petraeus reports real military progress. Fred mentions this, but doesn’t give it enough weight, as from what I’ve seen our best asset in recapturing the (positive) attention of the American people about the War in Iraq are the nutroots. Those hardline peace at any price leftists who are as adamant about their beliefs as we are about ours, perhaps even more so.
It’s easy to agree with Fred, and don’t think that I doubt his insight, but another major disagreement between those Republicans “inside the beltway” and those of us our in the real world remains immigration. Mr. Barnes worries that Republican stonewalling on the grand amnesty scheme will hurt us in the 2008 elections. I don’t think he could be more wrong on this point. Look at the percentage of the American populous that absolutely hated that legislation. It cut across party lines, and in this case the numbers were too stark to ignore. So while Fred thinks that immigration alienates us from voters (as if Republicans would ever garnish a solid majority of Hispanic voters, of which 50% disagree with amnesty anyway) it is one of the only saving graces of our side’s current congressional record.
The rest? Pork spending, earmarks? Yes, Fred is right. They have to stop it. If they were really serious about it, and made a show of it, the American public would eat it up. We’ll just have to wait and see if any of our representatives actually wake up and smell the offense.
Gateway Pundit has something related. Mel Martinez, RNC ineffective extraordinaire, playing pattycake with Ted Kennedy on “immigration reform”. What was I saying about those inside the beltway not getting it?
Hot Air is picking up on this as well; there are few nice words for Barnes there.