August 19, 2005

GOP 2006: Copying Dems Playbook of 2002?

Is Rep. Tom Reynolds copying the Democratic playbook of 2002 of ignore the war and focus on domestic issues?
Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the Republican Congressional campaign committee, said he believed that the war would fade as an issue by next year and that even if it did not the elections would, as typically the case, be decided by local issues.

"I'm not concerned," Mr. Reynolds said. "Fifteen months away is a long time, and I don't see it. It's going to get back to the important issues of what's going on in the district. When it gets down to candidates, it's what's going on in the street that matters."
Noam Scheiber of the New Republic see parallel between Democrats of 2002 and Republicans of 2006.
Reynolds seems to think the path to victory for Republicans is ignoring national security. But, given how unpopular the war is, and given people's concerns about terrorism and how the war may be exacerbating our vulnerability to it, that's a disaster waiting to happen. The only way Republicans can turn this liability to their advantage is to use Iraq as a culture-war wedge issue, a la 2004, wherein they accuse Democrats of lacking the steel and resolve to defend the country. (No permission slips from the U.N., that sort of thing.)

In some respects, Reynolds's plan for 2006 is a mirror image of the Democrats disastrous plan for the 2002 elections, which involved getting the war "off the table" with a quick vote in order to talk about Social Security and prescription drugs, when in fact all people wanted to talk about was national security. We all saw how successful that was.
Republicans are not going to copy the Democratic playbook of 2002, for one thing most of their domestic policy is not popular and they rather keep American people dumb about their corporate agenda but Noam Scheiber is right on with this analysis of Republican strategy of accusing Democrats of lacking the steel and resolve to defend the country. It is there bread and butter.


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