By Scott Galupo, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Republicans think—cautiously anticipate—that this year's midterm elections will resemble 1994, in kind if not degree.
The more interesting question, to my lights, is whether next year will resemble 1995, when Bill Clinton called the electorate's bluff and more or less saved his presidency. Minus 9/11, Republicans may have met 2006 several years earlier.
This was in the back of my mind as I read Erick Erickson's post at RedState.com touting Sean Hannity's new book Conservative Victory.
I have not read, and don't plan to read, the book. I'd frankly rather watch Access Hollywood with my eyes pried open, Clockwork Orange-style.
But I care about what it says (or at least what Erickson says it says), for this reason: It gives a glimpse of what follows Republican electoral victories.
Sean actually has done a very good job and is willing, despite what his critics often say, of addressing the very real problems within the GOP and clearly differentiating conservatives from the Republican Party.
There is a whole chapter titled "How the Republicans Lost Their Way." In it, Sean does blame a lot of it on the failures of the Bushies and GOP to defend themselves against left-wing attacks. ...
But Sean goes beyond that. ... "At the behest of President George W. Bush, the Republican Party also lost its way with the sweeping education reform bill Bush proudly called 'No Child Left Behind.' The bill was President Bush's baby, but in spirit and in reality it was contrary to a fundamental conservative belief—that top-down federal control is to be avoided and that throwing money at problems does not solve them." And this came after an indictment of the prescription drug benefit.
Full disclosure: I worked at the House Education & Workforce Committee in 2001 when the NCLB law was debated and enacted into law. My goal here isn't to defend it from the likes of Hannity and Erickson but, rather, to alert my fellow Republicans of what might happen when the shouting over Obamacare dies.
Times may be bullish now for the party that stands against "socialism" and "government takeovers."
But when electoral push comes to legislative shove, that anger will dissipate. (Jon Chait flags polling data bearing this theory out here.)
I wish we lived in a country that would actually consent to be governed under Paul Ryan's Roadmap. We don't. I wish the kind of silent majority of rugged individualists that Glenn Beck believes is waiting to take back its country was real. It's not.
The majority of the public that now appears to despise Obamacare could very quickly be stirred into an altogether mood—one that's rather favorably disposed toward the government that pays for their prescription drugs and runs the GPS network that feeds our fancy smartphones.
In short, 1994 becomes 1995.
By running as a "compassionate conservative" who would not "balance the budget on the backs of the poor," and by promising to add a prescription drug entitlement to Medicare, Bush—by the skin of the Supreme Court's teeth—won an unlikely victory in 2000.
In part because he made good on the Medicare promise, Bush won re-election in 2004.
The Hannity-Erickson-Beck-Palin-Breitbart industrial complex pretends otherwise.
Remember, Republicans: They feel good about you now. But when you face reality, they will throw you under the bus.
Their ratings and book sales won't suffer.
But your ability to govern under the yellow sun will.
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