Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tea Leaves

Democrats are busy reading tea leaves. They have won three open house seats that were previously held by the republicans. This bolsters their hopes to not only retain their governing majorities but increase the majorities to such a number as to make the republicans an after thought. Most of the political pundits agree that the republicans are in trouble. In fact republicans are busy attempting to redefine themselves and distance themselves from President Bush. My question is are the Democrats reading the tea leaves correctly?

On the surface it would seem they are. In 2006, the American voting public overwhelmingly sent a message that they were upset with the republican party and George Bush. The Democrats are three for three this year turning red seats in the house blue. Obama has stated that the republicans better watch themselves because negative ads against him do not work using as evidence the Mississippi house seat. I would tend to agree with the message that the republicans are in trouble except for some troubling details.

First, while the polls suggest a generic democrat beats a generic republican for President, the polls do not bear this out when Obama and Hillary are paired up against John McCain. Most polls slightly favor Obama and Hillary but the polls are within the margin of error. Additionally, a gallup tracking poll shows McCain up 3 points and a Rasmussen tracking poll has McCain up 1 point over Obama.

Second, there was a special election last fall in MA where the overwhelming favorite democratic candidate won but the result was within just five percentage points. In liberal MA it does not bode well for democrats when they barely hold on to a congressional seat. We can not over look this result and make claims that democrats are in much better shape than the republicans.

Third, there is a poll out from Quinnipiac that shows approval rating of the democrat controlled congress is at 16%. America is not supportive of any of our politicians no matter what party they are associated with.

Incumbents from both parties should be extremely worried this fall. The mood in the country is sour and Americans want change. As I read the tea leaves I would say many incumbents will be swept from office with the Democrats picking up a few seats in the house but the republicans will hold tough and still have around 190 seats. In the senate I would expect the Democrats to pick up 1-3 senate seats in what should be a huge opportunity for democratic pickups. After all Republicans are defending 23 seats in an anti incumbent year.

With the two party system the American voter is forced to vote for a democrat or a republican. In an anti incumbent year like this politicians from both parties should be concerned. If the democrats do not come up with a message soon they will allow the republicans to regroup and set the tone for not only this election cycle but future election cycles. Instead of being giddy the democrats need to have a plan.

As it stands right now I believe a serious independent run by a credible candidate with little or no political experience would trounce both McCain and Obama in the general election. Independent voters that represent middle America do not like their choices. That is why Jesse Ventura will be able to run and perhaps even win the Minnesota Senate seat.

Right now the republican base is in a state of disarray. But California just gave the conservative republican base a reason to unite. Over turning a gay marriage ban that is popular with the public is not going win over many conservatives. Obama's out of touch elitism is not going to gather much steam. Obama will be dragged down by his anti American and racist associates that include not only his pastor but also his wife. In the end, when the truth comes out about the democratic message many will rally around the Maverick or an independent. If ever there was a year for an independent to run it is this year. The Anti incumbent message voters have been sending should be ringing in our politicians ears. It also should encourage credible independent candidates to run.

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