Oh, baby! This could be it. This could be the year when Republicans harvest the fruits of the crop they sowed when they signed on to the Junior Bush agenda. All the neoconservatives, objectivists, fake patriots, corporatists, and wing-nut evangelicals are starting to realize that they are in for a beating this November the likes of which most of them haven't had since the night they knocked over their daddy's gin bottle.
I'm talking slaughter.
There have been three special elections for Congress this year. All of them have been in heavily "Republican" districts. And in all three cases, the Republican candidate has been rejected, to be replaced by a Democrat.
The first seat to fall was that of the former Republican House Speaker, Fat Denny Hastert. Hastert retired his seat, after holding it for 21 years. He was allegedly despondent after the GOP was crushed in the 2006 mid-term elections under his leadership. The district had gone for Junior Bush in 2004 with 55% of the vote. Well, despite the Republican Congressional Committee spending $1.3 million to hold the seat, on March 8th, Democrat Bill Foster won the special election to replace Hastert, thoroughly repudiating not only the Republican party, but Fat Denny as well.
Then, on May 4th, in Louisiana's 6th Congressional district, a seat that had been held by Republicans for 30 years went to Democrat Don Cazayoux. The Republicans, true to their nature, tried to play up racist and anti-gay sentiments by tying Cazayoux to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi... to no avail.
And, to complete the trifecta, on Tuesday, in Mississippi's First Congressional district, Democrat Travis Childers won a seat that had been held by Republicans since 1974. This last race really stung, apparently. The Republicans again tried to link Childers to Obama with some borderline racist ads; Dick Cheney and Mike Huckabee came to Mississippi to campaign for Childers' opponent in an effort to save the seat. Fat lot of good that did them.
In the wake of these three omens, even John Boehner sounded morose: “The results in MS-01 should serve as a wake-up call to Republican candidates nationwide. As I’ve said before, this is a change election, and if we want Americans to vote for us we have to convince them that we can fix Washington." Well, John, good luck with that!
And here's a quote from NRCC Chairman Tom Cole:
Hang on....let me wipe my eyes....sniff. There! That's better. Here's what Cole is really saying: The Titanic's hit the iceberg. Every man for himself!
“We are disappointed in tonight’s election results. Though the NRCC, RNC and Mississippi Republicans made a major effort to retain this seat, we came up short.
“Tonight’s election highlights two significant challenges Republicans must overcome this November. First, Republicans must be prepared to campaign against Democrat challengers who are running as conservatives, even as they try to join a liberal Democrat majority. Though the Democrats’ task will be more difficult in a November election, the fact is they have pulled off two special election victories with this strategy, and it should be a concern to all Republicans.
“Second, the political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short.
“I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election.”
Cole and Republicans all over the country are realizing, (much too late, of course) that the Bush administration is poison. The empty talk about fighting terrorism and tax cuts has worn thin; it no longer provides a screen for their corruption and for their assault on civil liberties. It's panic time at GOP Headquarters.
Here's the kicker: there is not a damn thing they can do to fix it. The Karl Rove tactics of smear and divide have lost their magic as people all over the country are being ruined by rising mortgage interest rates, high gas and food prices, and the moral burden of a criminal military enterprise in Iraq. It's not going to be enough for Republicans to shriek about gays, terrorists and Mexicans anymore. And that is really all they've had to offer for the last 8 years.
Now, all they can do is stare at the shotgun barrel pointed at their faces and wait for the electorate to pull the trigger. I wonder, will they finally see what fools they were to ever trust in the leadership of inferior human beings like Junior, Cheney, Fat Denny, Bill Frist, and Tom Delay? Probably not. But it doesn't matter, in the end.
As Bob Dylan says: It's a hard rain's gonna fall.