September 7, 2010

Republicans are holding all the cards now

In the high stakes poker that is political power, the latest hand - the mid-term elections - has dealt the Republicans a golden opportunity.  In fact the Democrats have provided Republicans with a great hand to play in these mid-term elections by dealing them card after card to play. Instead of an ace, the GOP has at least four.  The only way the GOP can blow it is to misplay the great hand they've been dealt.

Ace of hearts: Health care reform is not only underwater in terms of popularity, but the way the Democrats were willing to wheel-and-deal within their own party to buy votes was downright ugly.  Worse still, was the way they used procedural maneuvering to get the votes passed -even  after the people of the liberal state of Massachusetts voted in a Republican Senator to replace Ted Kennedy (of all people).  The signs were there that this was not a good gamble on the part of Democrats but they forged ahead anyway. Now the GOP has health care as an issue on their side this cycle.

Ace of diamonds: The economy hasn't recovered yet.  The Democrats were looking the other way - at health care reform - when the biggest play should have been on creating jobs and getting the economy out of the recession.  Not only did they pass a stimulus bill (ARRA) and then the omnibus bill for a combined $1.2 trillion in recovery spending, but because that spending didn't work, now they are going to try to roll out another $50 billion in infrastructure spending.  Excuse me - wasn't that ARRA spending supposed to be for shovel-ready projects?  And what was Recovery Summer?  A bluff? In summary, they haven't solved the recession, and after nearly 20 months in unimpeded power, Democrats have not just failed on the economy, they didn't really even show up for it. 

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Ace of clubs:  Deficits and national debt. EVERYTHING the Democrats touch turns into spending. What doesn't touch on spending touches on taxes to subsidize spending. The health care reform and the attempt at Cap and Trade are two illuminating examples. Deficits under the President have been astronomical, and will inevitably get worse.  People are pulling back on their own spending but seeing the government out of control and questioning why it isn't doing the same.  That means that on fiscal responsibility, people might not trust Republicans but they sure don't trust the Democrats any more.

Ace of spades: The Democrats are in disarray and seem to have moved too late on the things that mattered to voters.  As a result, with no real solutions and no game plan, they are resorting to tactics like blaming Bush, and running as anything but Obama Democrats.  That disarray is likely to counterbalance their current financial advantage and it won't enable them to overcome the enthusiasm gap between the party supporters.  If you think about it, their biggest moves have been procedural and stealing votes (and 'voters' like Arlen Specter).  That's not strategy, it's tactics and it's certainly not vision. Or likable. 

Four aces.  That's a pretty good hand, the GOP could blow it, but with only two months left, it isn't likely.

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