Things are looking rather good right now for the President.
I’m sure he has been savoring this steady stream of good news. With some new, talented faces behind him in the West Wing, a powerful and resurgent White House team is welcoming a string of successes here at home and in Iraq. There is a new, unmistakable bounce in the President's step. Bush is confident, he is on message, and he is fighting the good fight.
In short, he has regained his mojo.
Not everyone is happy about these developments. Those poor Democrats, they don’t know what to do with themselves. In between all their bickering, they just can’t seem to figure out what to do about Bush’s momentum and success.
Look no further than national security. In our critically important war on terror, without a doubt the most pressing issue of our time, the Dems have not changed their tune one bit. They remain off-key and more than a little suspect in protecting our safety and freedom.
Take this latest welcome blow to Al Qaeda, with the well-deserved death of their murderous leader/thug/enemy of peace and fomenter of violence, Al-Zarqawi; or the growing cohesion in Iraq’s nascent government, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s cabinet shows increasing signs of promise. Observe the surge of American support for our vitally important Iraqi campaign in the polls.
All of this is great news. Or so you’d think.
But not for the Democrats. These positive developments have them wringing their hands, lost somewhere in outer space.
Instead of praising our progress in the war on terror, instead of getting firmly behind our Commander-in-Chief and signaling their commitment to finishing what we began, all we get is more bad ideas and a lot of head scratching from these folks. Just look at their leaders:
John “Flip-Flop” Kerry has raised the rhetoric for troop withdrawal;
Harry Reid too—he gave a talk at a lefty blogger convention this past Saturday echoing Kerry’s cut and run call;
(Murtha? Well, you know where he stands);
Hillary Clinton thinks a timetable is a bunch of nonsense (good for her). But Hillary is a minority in the party. The Senator from New York was greeted with a chorus of thunderous boos yesterday by a bee’s nest of Democratic activists. (In case you were wondering, John Kerry, who also spoke, was cheered wildly when he advocated his cut and run plan.)
The point here is that the wishy-washy Democrats still don’t have a real message. They are still running for cover. At this pivotal time in our nation’s history, a time when strong, effective leadership is needed to defeat these enemies of peace and democracy, the Democrats offer no game-plan, no leadership, and no consensus. They are defeatists.
Things don’t look much better for the Dems on the economic front. (No real surprise there.) Try as they may, they still can’t manage to kick their tax and spend habit.
As Karl Rove reminded everyone in New Hampshire yesterday, Democrats want to raise our taxes; Republicans want to reduce them. Democrats want an increase in spending; Republicans want a reduction. And, until they move towards pro-growth tax and spending reform, Democrats are not going to win elections.
The fact is that the Laffer curve tax-cut paradigm remains the most powerful policy weapon in American politics. When you tax something more, you get less of it. JFK and LBJ both adhered to this principle, as did Ronald Reagan. Papa Bush deserted it and got whooped. Bill Clinton originally opposed it, and the Dems lost Congress as a result. When Clinton finally embraced it during his second term (with a cap gains tax cut) he did well.
George W. Bush successfully used tax cuts in 2003 to re-ignite the American economy, and lead the GOP to big election victories in 2002 and 2004. And the President and Karl Rove are going to use it again in 2006. But, as long as the Dems keep banging their heads against the Laffer curve brick wall, they are doomed to defeat.
There is still a lot of time left between now and November. But, given Bush’s resurgence, Democrats’ dissension, continuing good news from Iraq and our war on terror, a continued strong economy with historically low unemployment, and the fact that Bush is on message and looking stronger than ever, well, you’ve got to reassess the conventional wisdom about the Dems picking up any seats in November.
Sure, the Dems have an opportunity to gain some ground, but it is an opportunity they will likely squander. Their message remains poor. As John Kasich pointed out recently on “Kudlow and Company,” nobody ever won a close race by promising tax hikes. And, as the President correctly stated at his news conference, this is exactly what these guys will do.
No matter how they dress it up, no matter how they cut it, Democrats are angling yet again for tax hikes.
The stubborn fact remains that the Republican Party is the party of optimism and growth, while the tentacles of pessimism are still tightly wrapped around the Democrats. It remains the party of defeat and decline. They lack Ronald Reagan’s sunny vision of America and the policy ammunition to effectively nationalize these races with an attractive message. This is the real political problem for the Dems. And until they get a new message, they’re toast.
It's only June, but right now, with the way things are shaping up, it's looking more and more like a GOP Congressional hold to me.
Did I mention that the President regained his mojo?