When the Democrats start giving you advice about how to win elections then you know you are onto something.
From the Washingon Post:
President Obama is in a political free fall. Democrats up for reelection in 2014 are furiously trying to get out from under the Affordable Care Act’s problems. Independent handicappers are predicting doom and gloom at the ballot box for the party next November.
In short, everything is coming up Republicans lately. But the GOP would be making a big mistake if it assumed that the problems with Obamacare were a panacea for all that ails the party. They aren’t.
In the view of the Democrats, if the Republicans really, really want to take advantage of the “stumble” on Obamacare they need to act on a lot of other stuff. We need to go after tax reform, and ENDA, and the Holy Grail: Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The idea seems to be that now that the GOP is on the right side of an issue that has about 70% support it best course of action to ensure electoral success is to stop talking about that issue and move on to other issues where the GOP Caucus has rather dramatic fault lines or issues that can be demogogued by the Democrats.
The House GOP has the right idea:
In recent days, House GOP leaders signaled they are taking a go-slow approach on a tax-code overhaul. GOP aides said the bill could become an unwelcome distraction for Republicans, drawing public attention away from the health-law imbroglio.
In the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, a tax overhaul already was considered a heavy lift because it requires difficult trade-offs between cutting taxes and eliminating deductions. The panel has other important issues on its plate as well, including major trade deals on the horizon.
The GOP faces two distinct priorities. While related they aren’t necessarily interconnected. The first is routing the Democrats in 2014. To accomplish this the GOP doesn’t have to do anything but harp on Obamacare for the next year. Any action taken up by the House will provide the Democrats with a piñata and their media allies with a story to bump Obamacare off the front page. We can win the Senate and expand our House majority by the simple tactic of shutting up and sitting on our hands.
The second order problem facing the GOP is winning the White House in 2016.
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, in another fit of generosity on the part of Democrats trying to help the GOP win elections, offers this insight:
Opposing a president’s agenda might be enough to win a midterm election in which (largely base) voters are in the mood to send a message to the man in the White House. But simply saying “I am not that guy” is not even close to enough to win a presidential election. And that goes double for 2016, when Obama won’t be on the ballot and when the Republican brand could be in the gutter nationally. Need evidence of that brand problem? The same Quinnipiac University poll, released last week, that showed Obama reaching his low ebb in terms of job approval also showed a whopping 73 percent of registered voters expressing disapproval of how congressional Republicans are doing their jobs.
Opposition to what Obama has done is not a path to winning over Hispanics, women or young voters. To win in 2016, the Republican nominee will need to outline a set of policy prescriptions — education seems like a ripe area — that both changes the “old white guy” perception that looms over the party and appeals to some of the demographic groups that have moved away from the GOP in recent years.
(“Education seems like a ripe area?” Hey, Chris, 2000 called, it wants its campaign rhetoric back.)
There is really no evidence to indicate that anything he says here is useful or even accurate. In 2008, George W. Bush was not on the ballot and the Democrat candidate, a singularly mediocre first term senator named Barack Obama, ran on a platform was no more substantial than “I’m not George Bush, I’m the cool black guy.”
Whether the Democrats wish to admit it or not, Barack Obama will be very much a part of the election in 2016. The Democrat candidate will either have to defend what Obama has done or run from it. Neither will be very helpful.
At this point we should let 2016 take care of itself. Our nominee in 2016 should not be put in the position of defending an immigration bill or any other substantial piece of legislation. Rather he should be allowed the strategic leeway to present his own initiatives, should he choose to do so. But the way the Obamacare disaster is shaping up and with American foreign policy in a death spiral, saying “I’m not Barack Obama” could be a winning campaign issue.