White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod was on Meet The Press today, and when asked for his thoughts about the 2010 midterm elections, he pull no punches, “In 1994 the Republican Party was nearly at 60 percent in favorability. Today, they’re at an all-time low… They’ve sat on the sidelines, they’ve rooted for failure, and they’ve contributed nothing.”
When moderator David Gregory asked Axelrod for his thoughts on the primaries, he pointed out that the GOP is moving more to the right, “The other interesting thing about this primary is that the Republican Party continues its march right where you saw in Nevada, another tea party candidate winning the nomination. And I don’t think most Republicans and most Americans believe as she does that we should abolish the Department of Education, abolish the Department of Energy. That we should privatize Social Security. But this is the drift of the Republican Party, and I think it’s going to make for a very interesting November.”
When Gregory later asked if Obama is still the Democrats greatest asset, Axelrod made some pointed observations about the GOP, Look, the Republican Party–everybody says, “Is this 1994?” In 1994 the Republican Party was nearly at 60 percent in favorability. Today, they’re at an all-time low. Why? Because in the last year and a half, they’ve sat on the sidelines, they’ve rooted for failure, they’ve contributed nothing. And their basic thrust seemed–and they’ve stood with the oil companies, the, the banks, the insurance industry, and their basic thrust seems to be “Let’s go back to what we were doing before the crisis.” That’s not where the American people want to go.”
Axelrod’s point about the Republican Party’s approval rating being at an all time low is correct. The best thing that the GOP can hope for is that the midterms become a referendum on Obama, but even then, with the economy improving, Election Night might still turn out to be a major disappointment for the GOP. Just two months ago, Republicans were openly talking about taking back Congress, but with incumbent Democrats starting to come back from the dead, things are not looking so good for the Republican Party.
Momentum is growing for the Democrats. Those who are still pushing the GOP storyline of a Republican tidal wave are behind the times. The Democrats will be better funded and organized than their opponents, and while Democratic popularity has suffered due to the recession, Republican popularity has never recovered from George W. Bush. Republicans are even more unpopular than Democrats, and when this fact is combined with a laughably bad slate of GOP candidates, it is easy to see why the White House is not too worried.
The Democrats expect to lose seats in November. History tells us that the party of the president usually does, but with the Republican unwillingness to run on any issues, anger will only get them so far. At some point the GOP has to tell the American people what they stand for instead of pretending like it is 1994. There is no Republican Revolution coming. The best that the GOP can hope for is that voter anger allows them to cut down the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. I suspect though that the power of Obama’s 2012 coattails will be able to recover any gains the GOP makes in 2010. As once voters take another look at the GOP they will see that Republicans are still unfit for command.