The Moose ponders the SOTU.
As the Alito nomination demonstrates, 2006 promises to be a highly polarized political year. Democrats and Republicans will be hammering each other over a range of issues with little agreement or compromise. Whatever the President says tonight, this will remain a deeply divided nation. The President had an opportunity after 9/11 to forge a new politics of national unity and, instead he opted for the old polarization model. The nation is still reaping the adverse effects of that decision. The Democratic Party is defined less by what it is for, and more by its blind rage towards the President.
Of course, this is an election year which will make the political imbroglio even nastier. Expect non stop hyperbolic bickering and little else accomplished on Capitol Hill. America's disgust with Washington will accelerate. And of course, the Abramoff mess reveals a Capital that is awash in corruption.
Since the GOP is the incumbent party, the Republicans will likely suffer loses in the mid-term election. However, prevailing doubts about Democrats on national security and whether they have a plausible alternative agenda may prevent the donkey from making gains that would enable them to gain control over the Senate and the House. Keep in mind that Republicans anticipated major gains in 1998 only to be severely disappointed with the results.
The best news for the Democrats is the likelihood that the party will make major gains in the Governor races. More centrists in state houses can counter the power of the liberal congressional wing and left wing activists. That dynamic will be critical to the party's success in '08.
The weaknesses of both national parties will be on full display this year. The Democrats are in danger of once again being enshrined as the ACLU Party that puts privacy before security. Democrats' reform message may be obscured by the civil liberties lefties. And the Republicans will be seen as the Abramoff Party of corruption and greed. Not a pretty sight.
The 06 election will set the stage for 08. And the electorate will be demanding a different kind of leader for the future - a "uniter and not a divider". A reform leader who is tough on security.
Does the Moose have someone in mind? --