Media pundits have just about given this year’s election to the Democrats — at least in the House of Representatives and perhaps in the Senate as well. They might even be right, for a change.
Some are saying that this could be like the 1994 midterm election shocker when the Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. If so, the Democrats will win by following the exact opposite strategy from that which brought the Congressional Republicans to power in 1994.
The Republican strategy, crafted by Newt Gingrich, was to spell out their stands on key issues and to promise to bring those issues to a vote in Congress. They called their agenda “The Contract with America.”
It is now clear to all that this year’s Democrats are deliberately avoiding spelling out any coherent policy program of their own.
Their strategy is to second-guess, denigrate, and undermine Republicans instead of offering an agenda of their own. Rather than having a contract with America, they are seeking a blank check from America. Moreover, they may get it.
How did the Republicans manage to bring themselves to this dire condition, just two years after winning both Houses of Congress, the White House, and most of the state governorships?
It wasn’t easy — and it wasn’t new. It was the same thing that caused the first President Bush to lose his bid for reelection in 1992, after having had sky-high approval ratings in 1991. It was betraying the trust of supporters.
Back then it was the betrayal of the “No new taxes” pledge. More recently, it was the even worse betrayal of trying to legislate amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, combined with insulting our intelligence by saying that it was not amnesty.
Add to this the Republicans’ runaway spending and the fact that the war in Iraq has been going badly, and you have all the ingredients of a political debacle.
One of the ironies of this election is that it is the Republicans in the House of Representatives who seem most likely to pay the biggest price for the disaffection of Republican voters — when in fact it was the House Republicans who stopped both the Senate Republicans and the White House from making mass amnesty the law of the land.
Senate Republican leaders deserve whatever happens to them. If this election were about the fate of one political party rather than another, it would hardly be worth thinking about.
But elections are not about which politicians get to keep their jobs, though the media cover the news as if the political horse race is the issue. Elections are about the fate of 300 million Americans and the future of this nation.
That fate hangs grimly in the balance as two irresponsible regimes in North Korea and Iran seek to gain nuclear weapons. Neither leader of these regimes can be deterred by threats of nuclear retaliation, as the Soviet Union was deterred.
Both are like Hitler, who was willing to see his own people decimated and his own country reduced to rubble rather than quit when it was obvious to all that he could not win. If you can imagine Hitler with a few nuclear weapons to use to vent his all-consuming hatreds in a lost cause, you can see what a nuclear North Korea or a nuclear Iran would mean for America and the world.
It is obscene that our media should be obsessed with some jerk in Congress who wrote dirty e-mails to congressional pages — and was forced out of Congress for it — when this nation faces dangers of this magnitude.
It would be worse than obscene for some voters to cut off their nose to spite their face by either staying home on election day or actually voting a blank check from America for a party with a decades-long history of irresponsibility on national defense.
Even today, Democrats are arguing for more talks with North Korea and Iran, as if talk is going to stop such regimes from going nuclear, any more than talks with Hitler in the 1930s deterred him.
This is no longer about hawks and doves. It is about ostriches who bury their heads in the sand — and about those voters who are prepared to give a blank check to ostriches.
–Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. www.tsowell.com.
Copyright 2006, Creators Syndicate, Inc.