Republicans Are Hoping That Democrats Will Win - Then Fail
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Last night I had the great pleasure of hearing Rick Perlstein read from Nixonland here in LA. There were many interesting questions and among them, naturally, were some about the current election. One, during the book signing phase, was "do you think the Democrats can possibly win?" which Perlstein deflected to me, explaining that I've been writing for the past year that it's in the bag, "tell him in 25 words or less, why you think the Democrats can't lose..." Since I go into brain freeze at times like that, I think I muttered something about seismic forces and tsumanis, so I'm sure the poor fellow thought I was confused and thinking about the natural disasters in Asia.
Upon reflection, I think the short answer is this: Because the Republicans want to lose.
It's not that I believe the winds of change aren't at our back. They are. And it's not because I don't think that the modern conservative movement is tired and played out. I do. There is a shift happening toward the liberal side of the spectrum which started with the Nader campaign, grew with the Dean campaign and has reached critical mass with the Obama campaign. The broad middle is disgusted by what Bush has wrought (he was never that popular to begin with, you'll recall, and only became so after a terrorist attack.) They too are listening to the Democrats for the first time inmany years. There is fundamental discontent with GOP governance and the people are highly unlikely to reward them for it.
But just as important, I think the conservatives have always taken the long view of politics and they understand the value of a tactical retreat. The Bush years have weakened them considerably and they are going to take some time to count their ill gotten gains, rest up and reengage. The Republicans are all about ressentiment. They understand the value of being out of power and know how to advance their agenda from that perspective. I wrote this a while back: