Thursday, January 31, 2008

11 months, 22 days ... and counting

There's a political moment when it becomes totally clear that the game is up. Put the bent zlotys in your piggy bank on the other lot, and you'll make a killing.

Such a moment in British politics was the grinding misery of the Callaghan Government in the later '70s. The writing was on the wall, and a lot of good Labour MPs decided to opt out: taking on the IMG and SWP infiltrators was no longer worth it.

Sadly, and memorably, the result was that Labour came close to a melt-down and a take-over by the weirdies; and the country endured the better part of two decades of Tory pomp.

Across the pond, in the last week five Republican Congressmen have announced their intention not to stand again: that makes a total of 28 (including four already out or outed) -- going on for 15%. On top of which, a similar number (30 for the anoraks) were disposed of by the Democrat surge of 2006. It suddenly looks like attrition out there.

As a comparison, there are only five Democrats stepping down.

Something similar is happening with the money:
New fund-raising figures to be made public on Thursday [today] will show that the national campaign committee of the House Democrats ended 2007 with $35 million in the bank and $1.3 million in debt. The Republicans’ committee had $5 million in the bank and $2 million in debt.

Charlie Cook, as usual ahead of the curve, was laying it out last summer, under a heading "The Republican Apocalypse?":
Evidence abounds corroborating the first view that Republicans are in exceedingly bad shape. Even in the best of times, it is hard for a party to win the presidency in three consecutive elections... President Bush's job approval ratings now average about 30 percent--over the last half century only President's Nixon and Carter's approval numbers have dropped this low... When people turn decisively against a President on one issue, their disapproval taints how they see that President on just about all other issues. At a certain point, that President is seen as unable to do anything right, and Americans tend to hit a mute button and hear nothing else that President says. It's pretty clear that Americans have hit that point.

Malcolm believes that the whole of that article (indeed, as any pronouncement by Cook), which goes on to review the Congressional positions, deserves to be read, and marked and thoroughly masticated.

Nearer to the nitty-gritty, Chris Cillizza at the Post has been speculating on similar lines. Last month he was noting how the Alaskan chicken were coming home to roost:
New polling out of Alaska shows that the state's two iconic Republican incumbents are in real jeopardy at the ballot box next year... The problems with the Republican Party in Alaska are myriad and well documented, revolving around a lingering pay-to-play scandal engineered by an oil and gas company named Veco Corp... The implosion of the Alaska Republican party has been years in the making, however, as voters have clearly tired of politics as usual in the Last Frontier.
Cis-Atlanteans might bear in mind that the GOP losing Alaska is like Tories coming adrift in Surbiton. In addition to which the Republican pork-and-gravy has gushed towards the Land of the Woolly Mammoth*. Alas! the electorate are a fickle lot, and refuse to stay bought.

* Which allows Malcolm leave to refer to his favourite Democratic bumper-sticker (which also decorates his daughter's pin-board): Sphere: Related Content

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