Many Republicans greeted the 2010 election results with glee, but there was a sting in the tail. From November 2008 for the next two years, Democrats ran the whole Washington show, and Speaker Pelosi et. al. were in the country’s face every day, reminding everyone in American just why the Democrats are so awful.Then came 2010, and ever since the Republicans have been back on stage, sharing the limelight with the Dems, and offering the country a refresher course on why it hates the GOP. Somehow, appeals to spare the rich from taxation while cutting popular social programs don’t have as much populist appeal as so many Republicans hope. The Republican presidential campaign so far has further weakened the political appeal of the party; the serial self-destruction of conservative front runners is turning the electorate off on the whole party.Charles Krauthammer reads the situation pretty clearly in a smart Washington Post column. Last week’s election results, he wrote, “showed that the powerful Republican tailwind of 2010… is now becalmed. Between now and November 2012, things can break either way.” He continues:
This is no disoriented, easily led citizenry. On the contrary. It is thoughtful and discriminating. For Republicans, this means there is no coasting to victory, 9 percent unemployment or not.
For Democrats also it means the coming campaign will demand something better than the usual schlock. The electorate by and large thinks the two parties have failed before and will fail again given the chance. The first party to develop a genuinely fresh and hopeful approach based on what voters find to be a deep and correct analysis of where we are will reap great rewards.Until then, voters will pick indifferently at the unpalatable dishes on offer — and unless something dramatic happens in the upcoming campaign, they seem unlikely to trust either party with undisputed control of Washington, DC.