Should Republicans Keep Hope Alive?

Scott Elliot, whose dad would have been 63 today had he not been murdered along with his mother in Iraq two years ago, has an impassioned plea for Republicans not to give up hope just because there has been a spate of bad news.

The task for our opponents, then, is to win the war of emotional energy. So much of what we are seeing and hearing now from the talking heads in the media and the Democratic party is designed to accomplish two things. First, they hope the never-ending dirge of bad news and scandal will squeeze whatever small number of votes it can from a diminishing pool of fence-sitters. Second, and many times more importantly, they seek to demoralize and deflate the conservative faithful. For they know that every vote not cast by a disgruntled and despairing Republican Eeyore is one less vote they have to overcome in their quest for control.

There’s no doubt that the turnout game is important and that letting despair over losing keep you from voting can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Still, even Scott’s own projections show that the GOP is in serious trouble.

He projects a Senate with 49 Republicans, 49 Democrats, and 2 Independents. Given that the two “Independents” are going to caucus with the Democrats, that’s a flip and a 5 seat loss for the GOP. He sees the Republican losing twelve House seats and thus holding on to a slim 220-215 majority.

Aside from the turnout issue, though, the main reason that the Republican are so distraught by the Foley scandal and myriad other bad news is not just that they fear a Democratic takeover but that they genuinely wonder whether the Republicans deserve to keep power any more. The leadership in both Houses has failed to live up to the Party’s core principles on issue after issue.

What’s so dispiriting is that the Republican base just might lose either way.

FILED UNDER: 2006 Election, Congress, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Cernig says:

    What’s so dispiriting is that the Republican base just might lose either way

    Which base? The neocon base? The religious right base? The paleocon base? The “moral values” base?

    They don’t all want the same things – often the things they want are contradictory – and each has been inevitably disappointed by a machine designed to keep the leadership in power by promising much and delivering little to each in their turn.

    All have good reasons to not want to be fooled again.

    Regards, C

  2. I see it as an ultimate expression of what it means to be a conservative. You don’t get to make your choice from the array of choices you wish you had, but the reality that faces you.

    You have to take individual responsibility for you voting decision, whether that is to not vote, to vote republican, democrat, libertarian or whatever, including the consequences that flow from your decision. If I vote for the democrat for rep in my district then I have to shoulder my responsibility for the result of a Speaker Pelosi. If I don’t vote and the democrat wins, I am just as culpable for a Speaker Pelosi. If I vote for a third party and the democrat wins, I am just as culpable for a speaker Pelosi unless the third party candidate had a legitimate chance of winning.

    If I vote for the republican, then I am just as culpable for a speaker Hassert.

    Maybe not the array of choices that I want or the array of outcomes I would like to see, but that’s reality.

  3. Steven Plunk says:

    While the Republicans may not deserve to keep power I don’t see the Democrats deserving of gaining power. It is the typical lesser of evils choice at the polls.

    As much as the opinion polls show trouble I keep hearing about the long term get out the vote machine of the Republicans. Predictions of a change may be true but I wouldn’t bet hard earned cash either way.

    Given that politics is a good amount of compromise and elected officials tend to move toward the center an evenly divided house and senate would seem to represent the country fairly well. The problem is neither side gets to implement the reforms they crave and put them to the test.

    Whatever happens in November I expect the average American to yawn and go to work like any other day.

  4. just me says:

    Cernig if the Dems get the senate, the one thing the whole GOP base wants most-SCOTUS appointments turns ugly, and we get to see the senate bork every candidate Bush nominates as being too extreme.

    So on judges the GOP base loses big time.