The Moose surveys the political landscape.
One would think that if corruption would resonate in a district the best prospect was in Duke Cunningham's backyard. Yet, it didn't happen - even when the Republican candidate belonged to that dreaded profession - lobbyist.
Yes, it was a heavily Republican district. However, when you add the third party immigration candidate's total to Bilbray's, then the Democrat lost by a rather significant margin.Immigration trumped corruption in this race. Yes, the issue is presumably more salient in that border region. But, throughout the country, the issue of the borders and immigration has gained increasing prominence.
Indeed, Bilbray's victory threatens comprehensive reform legislation as House Republicans view the hard-line position as a political winner. But the larger meaning of this race is that issues matter. Democrats will clearly benefit from the unpopularity of the Bushies and the Washington Republicans. But this election will be fought district by district - and the GOP will enjoy a substantial financial advantage.
Democrats must offer more than merely Bush loathing. Fortunately, two of the best minds in the party - Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed will be issuing a book in September that will offer a Democratic plan for governance. And it will arrive not a moment too soon. Democrats must be able to convince the American people that they can offer responsible, centrist solutions to the problems of this country.
The problem for the Democrats is that they are vulnerable to the line of attack that they are a group of negative nattering nabobs who are driven by internet extremists in a lurch to the left. Congresswoman Pelosi and Senator Reid certainly don't help matters at all when they show up in Vegas to pander to a blogger who once denigrated the deaths of Americans at the hands of terrorists.
The Moose misjudged the Democratic Party. He thought that the Clinton years had rid the party of the dominance of left-wing McGovernism. Instead, a wide swath of the party is rejecting Clintonism for a much less attractive contemporary version of McGovernism that holds that the only enemy of America is the President of the United States and seeks to rid all in the party that do not have that perspective. It is pulling up the welcome mat to centrists.
As a veteran of the '94 revolution, the Moose is recalibrating his view on whether the Democrats will replicate that political tsunami - and not on the basis of the California 50 special. What fuels the Moose's increasing skepticism is that the Democrats are offering no governing vision. And while Democrats believe that there is no comparison between Republican and Democratic corruption scandals, that distinction may not be as clear to the general electorate.
Moreover, despite the unpopularity of the war, Republicans will relentlessly portray Democrats as the party of defeat and retreat. And as was demonstrated in San Diego, the GOP has not lost its touch in exploiting hot button issues.
Curb you enthusiasm. --