Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The "Loyal" Opposition 2

Some, at least in the GOP, seem to have realized that intellectual bankruptcy will, if continued, give rise to electoral bankruptcy.

Here's some (off-the-record) strategy from Byron York at the DC Examiner:

"You're seeing a major doctrinal shift in how Republicans are going to focus all these debates," the strategist told me. "The key is to focus on winning the issue as opposed to winning the political moment. If you win the issue, people will think you are ready to govern."

I asked him to elaborate a little. "With the political moment, it's how can you find the one thing that gives you the momentary upper hand in terms of the coverage for the next six hours -- as opposed to engaging the electorate in creating a structural change in their opinion on which party is better able to handle an issue."
Whether this "change" in strategy makes it through the next news cycle will have to be examined, although York noted that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) apparently changed the subject rather than continue to talk about the stimulus package.

Worth remembering -- despite all the hot air about how effective the New Deal was or wasn't in combatting the Great Depression, there's one area where it was brutally effective: voting Republicans out of office.

In the 70th Congress (elected in 1928), the GOP had 56 Senate seats, against 39 for the Democrats (1 Farmer-Labor).

In the 71st Congress (elected in 1930), the 96 Senate seats were split 48 GOP, 47 Dem (with 1 Farmer-Labor).

In the 1932 election, 12 Republicans lost their seats, making the split 59 Dem, 36 GOP, 1 Fam-Lab.

By 1937, (i.e., just after the FDR re-election), the number of GOP had been reduced to 16.

Said another way, almost three-quarters of Republican Senators serving when Herbert Hoover became President were unseated within eight years.

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