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Sunday, April 16, 2006

DUH: The Republicans are in trouble.
"I think they're in very serious danger of having a very bad election this fall," [Newt] Gingrich said on Fox News Sunday.... "We were sent here to reform Washington, not to be co-opted by Washington," he said... "Are they going to learn some lessons and get their act together?" Gingrich asked.
Dear Fellow Americans: We're the Republicans and we've been running Congress since 1995. We came here to reform Washington, and darn it, we ended up getting co-opted, go figure! Good news: We've realized the error of our ways, and we want you to know we're back to reforming Washington. First and foremost, Tom Delay's gone. Not that there's anything wrong with Tom, but let's not talk about him, let's talk about the issues you care about. Okay, so we're still defending marriage. Abortion? We're still against that, too. Faith? We're against persecution of Christians, yes we are. Spending? Um, er, we're gonna tighten up, just you watch. Immigration? We hear you and ... we're leaving town for vacation. But we'll be back, and you can be sure ... you can be sure ... you can be sure ... you can be sure. That's for darn sure. Politics are cyclical. Even though it's clear that the American people as a whole do not look to the Democrats with enthusiasm, it's equally clear that the GOP base looks at the Republican Congress and feels depressed. Meanwhile, the Democrats are getting a whiff of blood in the water and they will spend mightily to get their voters to the polls — as many times as necessary. This time it's not going to be enough for the GOP to rely on the usual hot-button social issues: gays, abortion, school prayer. The Republicans have 90 days max to make the larger case for why they deserve to remain in charge. Otherwise, the cycle's gonna change. Not because the country has "moved left" but because the Congress fell prey to the oldest political temptation: believing they're giants, and hugging power. The GOP majority in Congress needs to remember why they came to power in the first place. For decades, the Democrat majority had gotten into the bad habit of explaining Washington to the rest of the country. Newt Gingrich figured out that the trick was to convey to Americans that their needs were being heard in Washington — explaining America to Washington, as it were. Now the GOP finds itself explaining Washington to America, and that's a really bad position to be in. So what needs to happen? Speaker Denny Hastert needs to come across to the American people as an agent of fundamental change. Thus the depths of the GOp problem becomes clear. This guy was chosen precisely because he lacks anything resembling leadership ability. Selected because he would stay out of Delay's way. Hastert, who looks like he's gained 20 pounds during his tenure, has all the gravitas of a middle school assistant principal whose primary job is to issue hall passes. Nancy Pelosi, for her part, comes across as the prim head mistress of a private girl's school who spends her days dispensing clichés about "the marvelous challenges facing the next generation." So it's looking like a choice between GOP bloat and Democrat bromides. Bets?