Over at Power Line, John Hinderaker wonders if the GOP might lose more seats in 2008. It's early to speculate on such an issue, but it could be possible given the state of the Republican Party lately. Last November, the Democrats, who covered every issue except the war and lost (remember Ned Lamont?) when they put the war on top, now claim the elections were a mandate on Iraq. In my view that's hardly the case, and Republicans lost in November because of their miserable performance on everything else. But remember that the elections were very close, and had the GOP simply improved its performance it probably would have maintained control of Congress.
The GOP has moments today where they could put Democrats in a tough spot and challenge them, such as endorsing Tom Coburn's anti-pork crusade or forcefully pointing out their flawed withdrawal idea for Iraq, but the Republicans, by and large, are just as corrupt as the Dems, so it's impossible to challenge the status quo without looking hypocritical. They seem content just to sit back and do just enough to maintain a majority, and if that's what they want, that's what they'll get. The rest of us, meanwhile, not only in the blogosphere but in every political venue who want to see our party elected as the clear majority in the country, will continue to fight and endorse the candidates that we see fit to lead. If one thing is clear, it seems the GOP has a lack of leadership. Think for a moment whose name stands out when you think of the Republican Party. George W. Bush? What about a successor, someone willing to step up and correct the problems of the Bush administration, step up and challenge Democrats?
There seems to be a general frustration with America's political class. Just take a look at the approval numbers of Congress and the President. The President has been isolated, Nancy Pelosi is acting like she's President, and Rep. Tom Lantos has argued the Democrats have their own foreign policy, Constitution be damned. The most fundamental problems that affect Americans -- the economy, health care, education, social security -- continue to go unaddressed in Washington. American politics has become somewhat shameful, with the radical left "netroots" pressuring the Democratic Party into shrill partisanship (case in point, Harry Reid) and the Republicans losing more and more ground by abandoning the principles of the Reagan Revolution and the 1994 Contract with America. Look at our choices in 2006: it effect we chose one set of politicians behaving badly for another set behaving even worse. Even here in South Dakota, things are looking dour. Several of our fellow colleagues in the South Dakota blogosphere, both left and right, have hammered the South Dakota legislature for working on pointless legislation and expanding the nanny state. The stalemate will eventually break, but the level of dissatisfaction with the political status quo isn't going away anytime soon.
That said, John Hinderaker has a point in remaining optimistic. John wonders if "the voters at large are as impressed by the Democrats' obsession with investigations as those inside the Beltway seem to be." I would venture that they're not, that they're more interested in issues affecting them personally than in partisan battles. He's right to note that Democrats are also at risk as voters may conclude they're using their newfound power to wage war against the Bush administration rather than find solutions to problems. The atmosphere in 2008 may not be as bad as some of us think, but things don't look good at the moment.