Red-Faced GOP Turns Blue Over Mississippi Loss genre: Polispeak

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I don't believe in crystal balls or tarot cards...but the fact that the Democrats have now won three congressional special elections in stronghold Republican districts doesn't bode well for the GOP in November. The most recent loss took place tonight in the solidly red 1st. district in the state of Mississippi.

Democrat Travis Childers won Tuesday's Mississippi special election runoff for Sen. Roger Wicker's ® former House seat, handing Democrats the biggest of their three special election takeovers this cycle and sending a listless GOP further into a state of disarray.

Childers led GOP candidate Greg Davis 53-47 with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting. Turnout increased substantially over the 67,000 voters who cast ballots in the April 22 open special election, with more than 100,000 voting in the runoff.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), issued a somber and self-reflective statement following the loss, saying Republicans were "disappointed" and that they need to prepare to run against Democrats campaigning as conservatives.

Cole added that "the political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward-looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our presidential nominee, but time is short."

Now I understand that Rep. Cole has to respond to the defeat and I'm sure it's difficult to craft a palatable rationale. Regardless, it's hard to imagine the words "forward-looking agenda" and GOP in the same sentence.

After all, they have John McCain, a supposedly kinder, gentler version of George W. Bush, running as their presidential nominee...and he bills himself as the man who intends to keep his predecessor's endless war racing full steam ahead. If that's their notion of a forward-looking agenda, they might as well pull out the "mission accomplished" banners and see if they're more effective the second time around.

The GOP also faces a campaign cash disadvantage that leaves them in a position they haven't experienced in modern times. This, coupled with a disenchanted electorate, provides the Democrats with an arsenal of weapons that is both formidable and foreboding.

Both national party House committees plugged more than $1 million into the race, and spending by the candidates and outside groups like GOP-backing Freedom's Watch pushed the race over $5 million total.

The NRCC's investment was particularly painful given its stark cash disadvantage with less than six months to go until the November election.

The NRCC had just $7.2 million in the bank as of March 31. It spent $1.3 million in Mississippi.

Notwithstanding, it's too early for the Democrats to let down their guard or uncork the champaign. While there is reason to be hopeful that the party will take back the White House and increase their majorities in the House and the Senate, a lot can still happen between now and November.

Needless to say, I suspect the GOP may be contacting Nancy Reagan's astrologist in hopes of having something to look forward too. Hey, perhaps astrology could be the cornerstone of their forward-looking agenda? Nah, come to think of it, the first Bush already tried selling "A thousand points of light".

Tagged as: 1st. District, 2008 Election, DCCC, Democrats, DNC, GOP, Greg Davis, Mississippi Special Election, NRCC, RNC, Travis Childers

Daniel DiRito | May 13, 2008 | 10:30 PM
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