Simon is the President of the New Democrat Network.
Jonathan Singer's post this am about why progressives should be excited about our opportunities this year is a good one. Let me add some thoughts.
The President starts dropping just a few weeks after an ineffective State of the Union. In some polls he dips below 40 percent, truly dangerous territory. It seems like their years of bad governance has finally caught up with them, that the American people are focusing more on deeds, not words. But can the ruthless pols running the GOP these days turn this thing around and snatch a victory from what could be a near-certain defeat?
Looking at how the year is likely to unfold, it is very hard to see how they turn this thing around.
The Tribune-Review says Bush is "Running on Fumes." They are published by Dick Scaife, who is Ken Starr's sugar daddy. So you are seeing Scaife turn on Bush. Scaife financed much of the "get Clinton" conspiracy groups who claimed that Bill had assasination squads killing women he'd had sex with. Dick spent about $30M on various anti-Clinton projects.
Now we see the Reaganauts publishing books like "Tyranny of Good Intentions" and "Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America." They are lashing back against people like Cheney and others who originally worked for NIXON for Christ's sake. It is these Nixon staffers who bring the obsession with war, paranoia, centralized control, and wiretapping. But Nixon was by todays standards somewhere between flaming liberal and homo commie.
So the Bushites claimed to take Reagan's conservative agenda and Supply Side economics and merged it with Nixon's twisted pathology and contempt for the Constitution. The Reaganauts now see the Bushites as having not only confirmed all criticisms of "voodoo economics," but having dug a hole so deep that it will no longer work. And they have squandered the public support that Grandpa Reagan built up in his first term (before he went senile and Ollie North and the other 6 dwarves started piling up the felonies).
So now we the various wings of the GOP are calling each other "traitors."
There is a lot of talk these days about how to best clean up Washington. The answer seems obvious - make a very public example of those who have broken the law, showing that even powerful players in Washington are not above the law. Our message to the American people should be a simple one - we will do whatever it takes to find the lawbreakers who have betrayed the public trust and bring them to justice. We should put the bad guys in jail.
I was riding DC's subway the other day and saw why Republicans may well solidify their electoral realignment in the next couple of years.
An advertisement in the subway car was making the pro-life case. I wondered why was this ad up now in January, when abortion is not the issue du jour (even though it never goes away). There was no big media campaign focused on abortion during the month, no big message to get out to the public. The ad, unlike many political ads, was not connected to any one immediate need, no immediate advocacy to change minds for a vote or an election. The only thing I could come up with was that this ad was planting the seed for a longer term, more strategic effort to change hearts and minds on abortion.
The same thing is going on in Spartanburg, South Carolina is going on with homosexuality.
There are multiple takeaways to last night's win for Governor Rick Perry in the Texas GOP primary. To begin with, as Nate Silver points out over at FiveThirtyEight at least in Texas, anti-Washington beats out anti-incumbency. I'd temper that point somewhat by noting that Deborah Medina, the über-conservative Tea Party candidate, received over 270,000 votes, just under 20 percent of the vote. Combined with Perry's 51 percent share, the radical right took 70 percent. And I'll add that for the Tea Party set, yesterday's results did not exactly demonstrate