Tuesday, November 14, 2006

2006 Election Myths

National Review's Rich Lowry has a good, short piece on the conventional wisdom that is gaining currency among the pundits which is inaccurate and dangerous--especially for conservatives who want to hold the Presidency and re-take Congress. They are:

1. Republican losses were typical for the sixth year of a Presidency.
Wrong. Much more severe - Reagan and Clinton only lost a handful of seats.

2. Discouraged conservatives didn't show up at the polls.
GOP lost the independents who broke heavily for the Democrats.

3. Republicans lost because they weren't fiscally conservative enough.
See 2.

4. GOP was too socially conservative for voters.
Gay marriage bans passed 7/8, outperforming GOP. Dems were smart not to make this an issue this cycle.

5. Election was a great victory for conservative and moderate Democrats.
Heath Shuler and Brad Ellsworth doesn't balance Conyers, Rangel, Waxman et.al.

6. Election was an ideological rejection of conservatism.
Perfect storm of Iraq, Katrina, Foley and Corruption.

7. President Bush must give up on the Iraq War.
Less than 1/3 Americans want immediate withdrawal. NYTimes calling for more troops!

The Real Lessons? (work in progress)

A. Though a hefty number of races were lost very narrowly 2008 will be A HARD SLOG FOR THE GOP. In the Senate the GOP has to defend 21 out of 33 seats. It's a strong GOP class but retirements could weigh.

B. Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer did a very good job getting viable candidates for this cycle. Rove and Mehlman need to do the same starting IMMEDIATELY.

C. While Dems can't expect another perfect storm, progress must be made in Iraq. Rumsfeld's departure helps but 'ware realists (Baker, Gates) cutting deals.

D. New congressional leadership for the GOP - Hastert and Frist frankly were not up to the job.

E. This was a significant setback for the GOP. It can be reversed but needs to be done quickly before the advantages of incumbency set really entrench the Democrats for another long period of control.

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