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Peering into my crystal ball

Last weekend, Stephen McCracken of Willisms.com hosted the regular Pundits Roundtable. This time, though, instead of inviting bloggers to comment on a question or two, he invited anyone to e-mail him their entries.

I've been invited a couple of times, and participated once, so I thought it would be fun to join in again, so I e-mailed him a prediction for 2006.

Unfortunately, nearly everyone else ignored his instructions and posted them in the comments. And my own prediction, e-mailed as he requested, got lost in the shuffle.

But I'm not one to bear a grudge. Much. Well, OK, maybe a small one. (Ken stinks!) There, I feel better.

But when life hands you lemons, choke on 'em and die. Er, make lemonade. I'm gonna take that prediction I sent in and expand on it a bit.

By the end of September 2006, at least one major figure in the Bush administration -- cabinet-level or very nearly -- will be forced to resign in disgrace. The Democrats will attempt to use this to taint the entire administration, and run with it very strongly in the congressional elections.

However, it will not work. The Republicans will either keep the current balance in Congress, or make very small gains.

Now, before anyone argues with me on this, I will repeat one of my favorite aphorisms: you cannot reason someone away from a position they did not reach by reasoning. This prediction has very little analytical thought behind it, beyond that nearly every two-term presidency eventually loses at least one high ranking official to scandal. Hell, even most single-termers suffer this sort of thing. But the rest of it is pure gut instinct, hunches, and other unquantifiable, unjustifiable speculation.

OK, there's a little more thought behind it. There's an old saying that you can't beat someone with no one, and likewise you can't beat something with nothing. The Democrats have yet to provide a viable alternative to Bush's plans on any major issues beyond "we wouldn't do anything" or "we'd do the same, but better," and that's been soundly rejected by the American people -- and I don't see that changing much any time soon. Like an alcoholic or a drug addict, the Democrats have yet to hit rock bottom, and in many cases that's what it takes to begin the turnaround. A couple more election cycles ought to do that for them.

I hope it does. I get very uncomfortable when one party starts to think it "owns" the seats of power, and there are signs of that happening with the Republicans. They need to be shaken up a bit, to be reminded that they don't have a divine mandate to rule. Bad things happen when you take people for granted.


Comments (9)

I am not sure about the mid... (Below threshold)
berlins:

I am not sure about the mid-second term election results. As you may know , historically, the party holding the office of President has lost seats in mid-term elections for whatever reason. Since, in the first mid-term election the Republican party pick up seats in the House and Senate, I would thibnk the odds are against a gain or a wash. Not alot of thought put into this prediction either.
As far as the high ranking offical goes, that sounds right. The Democrats will use any issue to taint this administration, some may even have some truth behind it, but even without someone to skewer any issue will do.

"[The Republicans] need to ... (Below threshold)

"[The Republicans] need to be shaken up a bit, to be reminded that they don't have a divine mandate to rule. Bad things happen when you take people for granted."

How true. Our current condition stems more or less exclusively from the fact that the GOP has no serious competition today.

Two-party / winner-take-all systems such as ours are prone to the convergence of the parties around a common "ethic" of power uber alles and positions chosen pragmatically rather than from sincere conviction. America's current political turgidity, where even the massive swing from Democrats to Republicans these past few years has had little effect on the practice of governance, indicates that we've entered a "deep" condition of that sort.

Correctives will be hard to find. Third parties are almost always futile. Perhaps recall provisions at the federal level would do, but that would take a Constitutional amendment. The problem will require a lot of very hard thought.

As you may know , histor... (Below threshold)

As you may know , historically, the party holding the office of President has lost seats in mid-term elections for whatever reason.

1998 was a recent exception -- President Clinton's party picked up a very few seats that year -- which makes the GOP gains in 2002 a little more interesting to contemplate.

The fact is, historical trends exist under certain common circumstances -- and those circumstances appear to have changed fundamentally in the last ten years or so.

Hmmm.My prediction... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

My prediction for 2006:

Conservatives will stay home.

So this will be an opportunity for moderates to shine.

Conservatives will stay ... (Below threshold)

Conservatives will stay home. So this will be an opportunity for moderates to shine.

That was what happened in 1998, and one of the consequences is that a couple of years later Jumpin' Jim Jeffords was able to flip the Senate all by himself.

I wish my fellow conservatives would figure out that passive-aggressive politics just doesn't work.

Hmmmm.I w... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

I wish my fellow conservatives would figure out that passive-aggressive politics just doesn't work.

And voting for Republicans got us the Prescription Drug Plan and an indoor rainforest in Iowa. So what, pray tell, is the difference? Voting for Republicans doesn't get us Republicans, it gets us Democrats with an "R" in the title instead of a "D".

And may I point out that people have been complaining about "squishes" for decades now and still nothing has been done about them. What? Am I to vote straight-line Republican and then act all shocked when they screw conservatives yet again? And if I'm not going to be shocked, as in "I know this is going to happen", then where is the inducement?

Why vote Republican?

Ed,Staying home or... (Below threshold)

Ed,

Staying home or voting Perot because of Bush 41's "No New Taxes" fiasco got us Bill Clinton. You really want to toss us to Hillary over the Medicare Drug Plan? Let the hard left of the Democrats finish imploding before jumping ship.

Ed, your problem is not a l... (Below threshold)

Ed, your problem is not a lack of options, but a lack of imagination.

Hmmm.Ed, ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Ed, your problem is not a lack of options, but a lack of imagination.

You're right. I cannot imagine how much worse the Republican party can get, but I'm sure I'll be astonished shortly.

Look at it this way. Moderates, for years now, have been harping about how critical they are and how conservatives must kowtow to them. Well now it's the moderates turn to show off. Personally I've had more than enough nonsense from the Republican party. If what it takes to reform the GOP is a hard smack in the face in an mid-term election, then that's what it takes. If it takes being made a minority party again, then so be it.

The Republican party has done nothing to deserve re-election or maintenance as the majority party.




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