My thoughts on 2010: GOP picks up 54-62 seats in US House. If it’s a tidal wave…maybe they get to 70. Depending on the size of these gains, GOP Leader John Boehner could face a challenge for the Speaker’s gavel. Incoming Freshman are a factor. Boehner wasn’t the only guy out there on the campaign trail, recruiting new candidates and raising cash.
In the US Senate, my best guess is 7 seats are picked off easily. Latest polls indicate that the momentum is tightening the races in West Virginia and California. That gets us to 9. If they take out Harry Reid…that’s 10. Because this year is unlike any other, I’ll say this: anything can happen. And I really hope that the NRSC folks step in and take credit, audibly enough for the Tea Party folks to understand. They heard the message and did what needed to be done.
Which leads me to my final 2010 observation and my first on 2012. Tea Party folks, grassroots, grasstops and the “Establishment” have to find a way to turn down the rhetoric in their “hate-off.” It’s undignified and unhelpful. In the 2008 campaign, more than Three Million registered Republicans and evangelical conservatives stayed home because they were dissatisfied with John McCain as the GOP nominee. Well, we have them (many of whom are now Tea Partiers) to thank for President Barack Obama, an additional 2 years of Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid. We have them to thank for the exploding debt, the passage of the healthcare bill and weakened national security. That’s the consequence of staying home.
Establishment folks must understand that these same voters are out in droves RIGHT NOW. They produced a field of dynamic candidates who beat establishment folks, fair and square. They mobilized thousands and thousands of independents. They excoriated the media for liberal bias. They got the donors excited again. They did it. Without the Establishment, who offered the same menu they always offer, until 60 days ago when they realized that the Tea Party and Independents were driving the train.
This election isn’t an endorsement of the GOP. It is a rebuke of President Obama and his policies. Obama and his loyalists believed they achieved a huge mandate in 2008. Voters are telling them across the board that ain’t so. Proving that the Democratic establishment is as out of touch with reality as their GOP counterparts were.
We the People isn’t just some antiquated phrase. It holds meaning, and is a cause to champion to most Americans. This election isn’t about choosing one partisan agenda over another. It is a wholesale rejection of Congress and the President.
Voters are in charge. No one will have a free pass come January when the new session of Congress is sworn-in.
In 48 hours, the 2012 presidential primary for the Republican party begins. And this is where the establishment holds a clear advantage. To get through the process isn’t just about the right here, right now – unlike the last two years. It is about safety, security, preservation of freedom – and opposition research.
My prediction is Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney ain’t seen nothing yet. You want negative media? Oopsie-daisy damaging voice mail? shady financial dealings? blatant conflicts of interest? Good. You’ll all get it.
Primary battles are about vetting. The only candidates that will survive will be those who lay all their ugly business bare – before the opposition does. Sarah Palin won’t employ every Tea Partier. And Tim Pawlenty can’t employ every new media strategist in the GOP. Mitt Romney can’t rely on paying off consultants at $15K a month, as he learned in 2008.
Voters want someone with courage to be authentic. If it looks like a candidate has thrust themselves into our living rooms for the paycheck, then the bloom will be off that rose.
My prediction on 2012: the nominee isn’t on anyone’s short list. Except the Billionaire Boys Club in California that funds, or generates, One in Four presidential campaign dollars. Every cycle for the last 25 years.