Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Danger of High Expectations

The wave is coming, says the Washington Post -- echoing the numerous stories appearing in the media in recent weeks about how the Democrats are on the verge of sweeping Republican incumbents from office and taking control of a least one house of Congress.

"This is going to be a wave year," said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia in the Wash Post story. "The only question is whether it will be medium-size wave or a high wave for the Democrats."

So there's the prediction. But here's the question: what if he's wrong?

What if he and all the other political pundits -- as well as the news media -- are wrong and the wave doesn't materialize? They've been wrong before, with some frequency and regularity.

And there is the danger for the Democrats, riding high on the fumes of their own overheated rhetoric, stoked by the predictions of the analysts.

If they win, the best they can hope for is to stalemate the Bush adminstration for the next two years. They won't have the votes to push through anything on their agenda. So they'll go into the 2008 election as the party of obstruction and partisanship.

If they lose, I'd suggest that one of two things could happen.

They could end up losing not only this year's mid-term Congressional elections, but possibly the 2008 presidential election as well -- thrown back into the continuing disarray and denial that has plagued them for the past six years. Held in the thrall of the leftwing extremists who dominate their party.

Or, they could take stock. Suck it up. Fire Howard Dean as party chairman. Move the party back to the center and seek candidates more aligned with most Americans, who stand a little right of center these days. In other words, candidates who actually stand a chance of winning in 2008.

That's what they could do. I've long since given up predicting what they will do, although I'd say scenario #1 is the better bet.


Nate said...

It's a cycle -- whoever stays in control for a specified length of time is necessarily exposed to scrutiny for whatever people are unhappy about... It sucks for the guy holding the bag when the water starts boiling...same thing we heard from Newt and the gang a little over a decade ago.

JBlog said...

Yeah, Nate, I agree.

But I think the difference is that in 1994, the Republicans came out of nowhere to take Congress -- no one expected it.

This time, if you listen to the hype, everyone is expecting the Democrats to sweep at least the House. So if they don't, big loss.

And the Dems may not have as easy a time as the GOP did in '94 -- 12 years ago, there were many more open seats being vacated by retiring Democrats in very Republican areas -- that's what gave the GOP the edge.