The 2012 guessing game continues. There are so many thoughts about who the Republican nominee will be in four years that New York magazine compiled a list of online punditry predictions.
2010 was bound to get jealous in all of this extrapolating. It does come first.
So someone, somewhere, today (forgive me if I don’t link to whoever this was — it’s hard to keep track of the million things I want to link to here everyday) talking about the GOP’s rosy Congressional chances in 2010. The reasoning for this: with a near filibuster proof Democratic majority in the Senate, but not quite, 3 or 4 moderate Republicans will be cajoled into crossing the aisle to pass big government, liberal loving bills. Conservative anger will be so great that the Republican electorate will rise up en masse and vote in a new majority of Republicans in 2010, ala the Democrats in 2003, 2004.
To which I say: huh? Because the last time I checked Dems didn’t secure majorities in Congress until the 2006 elections. What I think this person meant: liberal Democrats were none to happy with all of the capitulating to the Bush Administration among moderate (and even liberal) Congresspeople during the early 00s, and were revved up by the likes of Howard Dean in 2004, promising to bring a pair of balls (excuse me) back to the Democratic spirit.
The real problem with this argument, though, is a complete underestimation of the Republican wilderness right now. I’m not sure there is going to be any sort of cohesive GOP message in four years, let alone in two. You have swaths of moderate young (and old) people who have no intention of following the Palin contingent down into the Rush Limbaugh night. They are the face of a new Republican Party, a pseudo-liberatarian grouping, basing their path forward on Grand New Party, by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam.
To add insult to injury, this theory relies on the Democratic Congress in the next two years legislating something as nefarious as the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq. As I see it, those were two things that should make all Americans queasy, not just liberals. Even if Dems controlled Washington and got away with passing a bill to prevent Fox News from airing any and all content, conservatives couldn’t possibly be as angry as was the post-war backlash. Or, maybe I’m underestimating conservative ire.
I will concede that the only thing I can see calling up such a GOP victory would be the passage of an amendment to secure the right to an abortion in the Constitution. Let’s just try to replace Ginsberg, Kennedy and Stevens quickly, with good, smart, left-leaning Justices.