Finally, I wanted to discuss what impact the Republican President and Congress have had on their own prospects for retaining their political advantage in 2006 Midterm Elections and the 2008 Race for the White House. In earlier posts, I discussed how the Republicans have squandered a key political opportunity on a variety of issues and how the Democratic minority should be proud of what they have accomplished in terms of opposition, particularly since a united Republican party could have changed the entire face of the country. Now, the question remains, what impact will the lack of achievement by the Republicans have on their prospects for re-election.
First of all, I think it's important to say that 2006 will not bring about gigantic shifts in the composition of Congress. I do predict that based on events of ethical concern with Tom DeLay, Congresses involvement in the judicial process of Terri Schaivo, and a lack of action on key issues like Social Security and Abortion, neither party is on safe ground. While Republicans continue to spend like drunken sailors and circumvent judicial authority, Democrats have done little in terms of progressive cooperation. Both parties could have seriously pissed off their respective bases and I think 2006 will be as interesting of a Midterm Election as we've had since 1994.
The Presidential Election in 2008 is where I think Republicans could run into some trouble, based on the actions of the past 6 months. President Bush won't be running again, which means Republicans have to find someone who can appease the growing number of hardliners from the religious right, and still capture a large portion of party moderates. Republicans are quickly losing credibility on issues like abortion, as they have had the political power for some time to make it completely illegal, but have yet to do so. From a policy standpoint, Republicans have done very little to push forward the agenda of the far right, and that segment of the Republican party is hungry for power.
According to The Polling Report among registered voters who identify themselves as being either Democrat or Republican, each party's leading candidates are Hillary Clinton and John Kerry for the Democrats and John McCain and Rudy Guiliani for the Republicans. Neither McCain nor Guiliani really represents the far right. Both are moderate Republicans, which might be why a populist survey puts them at the forefront.
Republicans have some difficult choices to make when it comes to selecting a Presidential candidate in 2008. Picking someone close to the middle may provide a party victory, but may alienate Evangelical Christians and those who want a President who has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her personal savior. 2008 will give us a chance to see if Evangelicals put their money where their mouths are politically. If you eliminate our born-again President from the equation, neither Democrats or Republicans offer a moral base that Evangelicals can stand behind with their black and white perceptions of moral issues.
If Evangelical Christians support Guiliani or McCain, they're truly political sell-outs with no true political agenda. What I predict may actually occur, and what I hope will occur for the sake of the few reasonable Republican friends that I have, is that Evangelical Christians will break away from the Republican party, and form their own fundamentalist party, instead of using Republican power to push their minority agenda on the rest of us. I've said all along that Evangelical Christians are political whores in the truest sense of the word, but it would benefit Republicans to drop this baggage or be forced to share responsibility for the world's next fascist regime.