Recent Posts From Mike Hassinger
Hoping your opponents continue to screw up is no way to run a political campaign, but Republicans across the Country have to wonder what they did to deserve a field of Democratic opposition that is so uniformly hapless, and led by a President so tone-deaf to public sentiment. While it is still too early to begin measuring drapes for new offices on Capitol Hill, every single piece of available data, every trend, and all of history indicate that November 2 will be a “wave” election that washes Democratic incumbents out to sea and out of power.
First, history: The party that’s not in the White House almost always gains seats in Congress –that’s nearly axiomatic. A 39 seat net gain for Republicans in the House of Representatives is as certain as anything can be 64 days before an election, though a similar, takeover-sized gain in the Senate is not as certain. Second, the data: Nearly every poll conducted in August shows a clear majority of the country feels the nation is on the wrong track, while a mere third (or less) believe that we’re headed in the right direction. President Obama’s job approval rating is abysmal: 54.5% disapproval to 38.7% approval –and that’s just among independents! Mr. Obama can take comfort in the fact that while his numbers are bad, America hates Congress even more. Current polls show more than 71% of the people disapprove of Congress, while less than 20% approve.
A recent comment from a reasonable, fiscally conservative Republican state legislator in Georgia became a facepalm moment for me. Rep. Chuck Martin, (R-Alpahretta) who co-chairs the Budget Committee addressing a $1 BILLION shortfall in the State budget told department heads: “This is not personal, this is not anybody questioning your professionalism, but we’re in a very difficult time here in Georgia. We are frankly in a position where we have to do more for the same or less money.”
Did you catch that? Did you see where he went exactly WRONG? With all due respect to Rep. Martin, you don’t have to do more –you have to do LESS. You have less money. Do less. Shrink government. Cut services, programs, employees and pay.
Amidst all the hand wringing about the “budget woes” plaguing every state, county and municipality in the nation, nearly none of the coverage reports an actual shrinking of the size and the scope of government. The news media dutifully reports that elected officials are “wrangling,” having to decide between “modest” tax hikes or “Draconian” budget cuts. Well, it’s time for less modesty and more Draco.
It can be done. Residents in Tracy, California have been given a choice –pay $48 per year to call 911 whenever they want, or skip the annual fee and pay $300 for each time you call. Colorado Springs asked the voters of that city (population 400,000) to pony up for a tax hike (the largest in the that city’s history) –which voters rejected. City leaders are closing parks, shutting off every third streetlight and auctioning off police helicopters. Yet somehow, the sun is still rising in Colorado and California.
Mike Hassinger is a political consultant with Landmark Communications in Atlanta, Georgia. These views are his own.
The Tea Party movement has been ignored, mocked, dismissed, and cast as a collection of conspiracy kooks and racists. To become a genuine political force, this fledgling movement must face internal challenges of direction and leadership while under full assault from the statists on the left and their enabling lapdogs in the mainstream media. In one sense the Tea Party’s journey has been a compressed version of libertarianism -it took libertarians decades to become misunderstood and marginalized, whereas the Tea Partiers have done so in less than a year.
The Tea Party, as force in American electoral politics, stands at a crossroads –several crossroads, actually. Do they form their own political party, or back candidates from existing parties who support their views? Will they start small, with state and local races, or swing for the fences and jump into contested races in the house and Senate? The biggest question is going unasked: Will they co-opt, or be co-opted, and if they’re co-opted, who’s going to get them?