By all rights, 2014 ought to be a banner year for Republicans. Only once in over one hundred years have the party in the White House gained House seats in a second midterm election. In the Senate, many senior Democrats are retiring, and all the new Democratic Senators, who rode Obama’s coattails to victory in 2008 face reelection. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the 2014 outlook is not good for Republicans.
The 2012 election was supposed to be can’t-miss for the GOP. By historical standards, 2014 is supposed to be a good year, too. Will the Republicans mess everything up again? Right now, they’re figuring out their options.
Republicans are divided over whether to make attacking President Obama the central message of their campaign, The New York Times’ Jeremy W. Peters reports. Republicans figured out in the middle of 2012 that harsh attacks on Obama didn’t work well. Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS showed ads of moms feeling disappointed in Obama instead. Today, a large majority still thinks Obama’s likable. Those who think attacking Obama harshly won’t work also point to 1998, when, for the first time since 1822, the party holding the White House gained seats in the midterm election of the president’s sixth year in office. "I didn’t want to talk about Clinton at all," former Rep. John Linder, who ran the National Republican Congressional Committee at the time, told the Times. Newt Gingrich disagreed. While Gingrich prevailed in the fight over strategy, Republicans did not prevail in the election, and Gingrich ended up losing his speakership. This time, Linder’s advice to Republicans is "Don’t overreach." The trio of bureaucratic scandals don’t directly trace back to Obama.
But if the scandals won’t work, what about a message of healing Americans’ economic pain? That might not sell either. The economy has improved, making that issue less important, Politico’s Ben White reports. Unemployment is down, housing prices are up, the deficit is shrinking. Obama’s job approval ratings on the economy are better than they’ve been since 2009. "The fact is the economy is probably going to look and feel very good next year," Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics told Politico. "The most likely outlook for Obama and the Democrats is pretty good growth and employment rising strongly. If you step back and look at it, it’s a hugely favorable scenario for them."…
Inserted from <The Atlantic Wire>
The best chance Republicans have is for us to get confident and lazy, expecting a rerun of our 2012 success. That MUST not happen. After all, we only need to look to 2010 to see what happens when Democrats get lazy. Republicans have a unique ability to take advantage, whenever Democrats form circular firing squads.
Fortunately we have something else working in our favor. As long as Republicans continue their endless wars on everyone except the 1% and extremist, pseudo-Christian hatemongers, they identify themselves as the problem, not the solution. With lots of dedicated effort, we can take another step toward putting the GOP where the party belong.