Thinking About Tomorrow
Yesterday, I wrote a way-too-premature post about Bobby Jindal’s strengths and how they will impact his 2012 run. While I think everything I wrote was true, as far as it goes, it is still a bit early to start thinking of 2012. Conservatives have more important things to do. (That said, it’s still fun to think of a Jindal Administration).
We have to try to win this election, which is still within reach. Republicans must do everything possible to help McCain—remind friends to vote, attend McCain-Palin rallies, or volunteer for McCain. McCain can win—but he needs your help.
Even with an enthused base behind him, McCain still faces an uphill battle, and the odds are against him winning. So conservatives have to start planning for the future.
The 2012 election is important, and it’s fun to think about presidential politics, but the congressional elections in 2010 may well be more important. In 2010, Obama (assuming he wins) will have been president for almost two years; the Democrats will have controlled Congress for four. Things then will almost certainly be about as bad then as they are now—the Middle East won’t be any more peaceful, energy prices will be high, and Obama’s tax increases will just be starting to take their effect on the economy. And the economy will probably be bad too—there really aren’t any good economic choices for the next president of the United States. Between the aftereffects of the subprime mortgage crisis, rising energy costs, and repercussions of the bailout plan, the next president will have to make some difficult and unpopular choices.
This means a fertile environment for Republicans—possibly even as fertile as the ground in 1994. Republicans can win the next election, and could (two bad election cycles—and even if McCain wins, this election cycle will be bad—should be enough punishment for the GOP’s mistakes) retake one or both of the houses of Congress.
This is could happen—but it won’t happen by itself. Conservatives need to get involved—and the beauty of Congressional elections is that one person can make a real difference. If someone knocks on, say, three hundred doors for McCain, he really isn’t making much of a difference in the big picture—in a swing state like Ohio, there are millions of voters, and influencing a few hundred isn’t terribly significant. But in a Congressional race…well, three hundred voters is a fairly significant number. Just few volunteers can make a big difference.
But conservatives shouldn’t give their support indiscriminately—one good thing about the GOP’s recent electoral woes is the fact that the Republican party is being shaken up. Primary challengers have a better chance of unseating established candidates.
And if reforming challengers have an energized conservative base behind them, they could actually win, and maybe get some real results.
Right now, the polls don’t look too good for McCain. It’s easy to get discouraged. But discouragement won’t help—right now, conservatives should be getting energized.
And I realize that a lot of what I’ve just written is conjectural. Maybe McCain will win, maybe Obama will actually be a fantastically popular president, maybe the entrenched Republican establishment will crush all challengers to the status quo. But my ideas aren’t improbable—and conservatives can work to make them a reality. To borrow a nice inspirational but meaningless phrase from The One, Yes We Can.