Update [2008-5-14 7:43:51 by DemFromCT]:: Love the headline!
Dem beats Republican in a race that may predict November
For Republicans, Davis' defeat is viewed as a possible preview for a widespread GOP thrashing in November, and it shows that trying to link local Democrats in conservative districts to Sen. Barack Obama and his former pastor was not a winning strategy.
The 2008 Republican brand is in deep, deep trouble. As Al Hunt noted a few days ago:
With few other reeds, embattled Republicans see McCain as a lifeboat. They know voters don't like President George W. Bush or being in bed with sleazy special interests. That's the identity of the national party.
More than that, the Republicans are not trusted on any of the issues that matter to Americans.
How bad is it? Chris Cillizza dissected the recent ABC/WaPo poll a bit more and gleaned this:
A look at the presidential vote by region suggests a shift in political inclination is at work. Not surprisingly, Obama holds his largest lead over McCain (18 points) in the Northeast -- an area that has become increasingly dominated by Democrats in recent elections.
But, Obama also holds a lead in the traditional battleground area of the Midwest -- where Obama takes 54 percent to McCain's 41 percent -- and in the Republican-leaning territory of the West where Obama holds a double-digit lead at the moment. And, even in the South, where Republicans have dominated at the federal level for much of the past four decades, Obama is competitive; McCain takes 49 percent to 45 percent for the Illinois senator.
While McCain trails by double digits in three of the four regions of the country, he actually far over performs his own party's showing in the Post poll.
Asked which party they trusted to "do a better job of coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years," voters across the country opted for Democrats by wide margins.
In the Northeast, Democrats outpaced Republicans by 29 points while the margin was 26 points in the Midwest. The news wasn't much better for Republicans in the West (Democrats +18) or the South (Democrats +15).
Those two sets of numbers provide clear evidence of two things: the Republican brand is badly damaged and McCain may be the GOP's best (and only) chance to redefine it and win in November.
Know what else it means? The Republicans, under George W. Bush, have succeeded in remaking themselves from a national party into a regional party (the South). In that context, losing Hastert's seat in IL-14 isn't so much of a shocker, nor is it an isolated phenomenon.
"After three consecutive Special Election defeats in districts President Bush twice won easily, it is abundantly clear the American people have turned their back and shut the door on the special interest driven agenda of the Republican Party," Van Hollen said. "There is no district that is safe for Republican candidates because President Bush's failed policies have hurt every community in America."
House Minority Leader John Boehner said the election "should serve as a wake-up call to Republican candidates nationwide."
"As I've said before, this is a change election, and if we want Americans to vote for us we have to convince them that we can fix Washington," Boehner said. "Our presidential nominee, Senator McCain, is an agent of change; candidates who hope to succeed must show that they're willing and able to join McCain in a leading movement for reform.
MS-01, wherein Travis W. Childers (D) beat Greg Davis (R), makes it 3 of 4 districts that now field a Democratic congressman in redder than red Mississippi (60% Bush in 2004). That means that the GOP may be a regional party, but the Democrats just beat the Republicans in their own region. No wonder no one wants to be a Republican.
The only way for McCain to win is to run away from the Republican brand. But if he does that, he runs the risk of alienating the knuckle-draggers who ARE the Republican party, at least what's left of them.
Running Green in Oregon? I don't think so. Running as a change agent in PA? Wait until we start talking about health care, and social security. The Midwest? Wait until we focus on the economy. And Republican George W. Bush is just so popular everywhere. Hunt again:
The party's fundamental situation is terrible: Republicans are saddled with an enormously unpopular president, a war, a troubled economy and a Democratic opposition that's being energized by important constituent groups.
Frankly, I don't think McCain can pull it off, nor will he have coattails. This is not going to be a good year to be a Republican.
Thank you, George W. Bush, for ruining the brand. It's just the beginning of what history is going to credit you with.