Democrats have a secret weapon for next year's election in the person of Sen. James DeMint, a South Carolina Republican who heads the GOP policy committee in the Senate.
DeMint characterizes the election as the difference between "European style socialism" (read Democrats) and a "free America" (read Republicans). This comes from currently the most conservative member of the GOP minority, whose voting record surpasses even that of Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a rigid reactionary.
Note that DeMint makes no reference to continuing the policies of President Bush or of the war in Iraq. At last he recognizes those two points as losers. For example, we now know that the war is costing even more than we thought. It is over $600 billion and climbing about $10 billion every week.
In tandem, Bush and Vice President Cheney are the most unpopular figures in modern-day politics. As their head-in-the-sand approach to the war continues, it will only get worse.
We can assume DeMint also tied the Democrats to his definition of socialism in an attempt to solve the country's huge problem with health costs. Poll after poll shows Americans highly concerned about fixing health costs and expecting the government to play a larger role.
DeMint will presumably argue that we can't have the federal government anymore involved than it is already in Medicare. If he is for the status quo on this issue, the GOP is in for a huge drubbing in 2008.
In the Senate, DeMint is the new Dr. No in seeking to obstruct any legislation pushed by Democrats. On immigration reform, he was a leading ranter against even fellow Republicans and the president.
DeMint's role is compared to that of former Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, the rabid conservative of yesteryear who compared compromise to near treachery. Helms headed that same policy committee.
Democrats should be praying for a DeMint-style strategy next year. If followed, a lot of Republicans in Congress can start packing their bags for home right now.