Republican messages

The Republican party and McCain/Palin campaign have been really hitting things hard with their messages. It is apparent that they are really starting to feel the pressure of the polling numbers that are coming out daily. There is some movement in the polls, including some tightening of the race in the national numbers, but the state polls are not looking good for McCain and it is hurting the down ticket Republicans. Although several of them have managed to shoot their own foot, i.e. Michelle Bachman.

The most irritating Republican talking point is the idea that it is a bad thing to have both the White House and Congress in the hands of the same party. As someone who tends toward the middle of the road, I generally agree with this sentiment. It does help keep the country more toward the center of the road when the President and Congress have to compromise. Unfortunately, it can also lead to gridlock and necessary work not getting done when both sides refuse to compromise.

David Frum, a conservative political commentator at the Washington Post, has written an article with this talking point. He is really afraid of the leftist domination of the Democratic party and what it will do to the country. But Brad Delong, in a very short post called, I Call Bullshit on David Frum, did just that. If it is so bad now, why wasn’t it bad in 2000? or 2002? or 2004?

The interesting part of this tactic is that the Republican Party is using it to push voting for Republican senators and representatives. John McCain is using it to say vote for him. Considering the polling numbers for McCain, unless something really drastic occurs, it is doubtful his use of this message will do much. The Republican senators and representatives may have better luck, probably depending on how closely they have tied themselves to the McCain/Palin ticket.

Carl Huse and David M. Herszenhorn point out in The New York Times that even a veto proof majority in congress does not mean that everything can get passed. Both the major parties are in reality, coalitions of smaller groups that tend to work together. In a parlimentary system, neither would be nearly as large as they are in the US system. Blue Dog Democrats can easily align with fiscally conservative Republicans, with the blessings of their constituents, to block bills they think go too far.

One of the things that has hurt the Republicans this year, especially in the Presidential campaign, is that they seem to have forgotten they are a coalition. McCain/Palin seem to be working hard to pull in the social conservatives, but they are losing the fiscal conservatives and social moderates. And losing the moderates, whether fiscal or social, is a losing strategy in the United States.

Another meme that seems to be flowing through various comment sections on the web is that John Kerry was ahead of Bush in 2004 at this point and McCain can still come back. In reality, Kerry was mostly behind in electoral votes for the last month or so. He had some good polling days, much better than McCains to be honest, but has all of their pages from the 2004 election up, showing that Kerry and Bush were close all through the last month, with Bush usually polling ahead. From the looks of his data, who won was almost random, depending on who had a headache when they got up and decided to skip voting that day.

In comparison, Obama has been leading on the site since mid September just before the economy crashed, with his lead in electoral votes growing steadily. He makes it easy to compare the two campaigns with graphs on this page. Combined with the work that Nate Silver and compatriots have been doing at, and it looks like it would take something truly catastrophic to stop Obama.

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