Lots of ink has been spilled over how hard the 2008 environment is going to be for Republicans. This mostly focuses on Bush and Iraq. While most of this is correct, I wonder how overwhelming this will be. Gallup underscores the argument:
The percentage of Americans with a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress is at 14%, the lowest in Gallup’s history of this measure — and the lowest of any of the 16 institutions tested in this year’s Confidence in Institutions survey. It is also one of the lowest confidence ratings for any institution tested over the last three decades.
Now, there have been discussions for a while about why the numbers for Congress have been falling. The most recent collapse appears to be due to the loss of faith in their own leaders by the left, especially over Iraq Other people are alleging that the immigration issue is the problem, but that appears to be an ideological position, not one supported by the data.
What is clear is that there will be a strong anti-Washington sentiment. This clearly won’t help the GOP in maintaining the White House. It won’t help in the Senate either. Just look at which seats are up. Looking locally, it might help in the House, however. This was the argument made by Tom Cole to a bunch of conservative bloggers at the NRCC on Tuesday.
Now, what to make of this? One scenario is that the election will nationalize. This would be a 2004, 1980, or 1952 model. If that is the case, it is likely to be a very bad year for Washington. However, another model in 1992 where there is a disconnect and a malaise. Then, Ross Perot was capable of expressing that malaise. I don’t see any candidates or movements on the horizon that are capable of speaking to the anger and frustrations of the people. But the entrance of Nader expresses some of the distaste on the far-left, while the more
In any case, look for candidates of all sorts to push anti-Washington agendas. That is why Mitt Romney says, "I can’t wait to get my hands on Washington." (Never mind that his campaign is stuffed to the gills with lobbyists. I know what they would do if they got their hands on Washington) And why Thompson says, "After eight years in Washington, I longed for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood."