The Corner

Incumbents of Change

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill have come to think that their best shot in the 2008 Congressional elections is to run a classic anti-incumbent anti-Washington campaign, since the Democratic Congress is the only real incumbent (and is deeply unpopular), and since voters remain very much in the mood for change.

In today’s Roll Call Harry Reid seems to agree, and wants the Democrats to run against the Democratic Congress too. Rather than run on a platform of legislative accomplishments (which would of course be rather difficult for this Congress), Reid says the Democrats will need to define themselves as “agents of change” on the Hill, offering a new direction.

The point he wants to make, of course, is that he doesn’t have enough of a majority to do much. But the point such a strategy really risks making is that he and the Democrats just can’t really do much. Reid tells Roll Call:

Have we stopped the war in Iraq? No. have we gotten health care? No. Have we improved education? No. But we have been able to do what we’ve done. We’ve done a lot of things.

There’s a winning message.

The Democrats are very lucky the dynamics of retirements and Senate seats up for reelection are so favorable for them next year, because their leadership certainly seems pretty clueless.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.


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