The GOP’s Challenge Now


The election is now 24 hours away, and unless virtually all the nation’s pollsters are pulling a collective Dewey-Truman, it seems fairly clear that the Republicans are poised to regain control of the House of Representatives and reach at least near-parity in the Senate. And while there will be much rejoicing on the Right over this clear and unmistakable rejection of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda, as well as over individual results (go Rubio!), it is important to remember that the GOP is still digging itself out of a very large (and largely deserved) hole, and that this election, for all the focus on the “Tea Party movement” and “conservative revival,” will represent far more a stern rebuke to the Democrats than an endorsement of any specific, actionable, alternative path forward.

The Republicans actually face three major challenges if they hope to go beyond this tactical victory and build an effective and sustained electoral majority at the national level. First, they have to coalesce around an agenda capable of gaining and retaining the support of a majority of the electorate. In theory, this shouldn’t be that hard to do; this is a center-right country, so a center-right agenda – or even, after the left’s excesses of the past two years, a right-center-right agenda – ought to be broadly popular. A squishy, Bush-ite, “moderate” agenda won’t do – recent experience ought to make that perfectly clear. A “purist” Tea Party agenda won’t do either – there are simply too many moderate conservatives and independents who are cut from different cloth. But an agenda that harnesses the impulses of limited government and fiscal responsibility that are driving both the Tea Parties and the massive turn of independents toward the GOP, that proposes practical conservative policies to reignite economic growth while retaining the irreducible “safety net” that voters want, and that de-prioritizes the most divisive social issues, ought to be an achievable thing.

Tuesday Night Live


Please join us tonight for our first live chat. We’ll be using CoverItLive, which allows everyone — contributors and members — to participate. We’re expecting many of our contributors and perhaps a few special guests to stop by throughout the evening. But what we’re most excited about is opening up the floor to the Ricochet community to comment on the returns and report on what’s happening in your neck of the woods in real time. It’s something of an experiment, but we’re hoping it will be more of conversation and less like this.

We’ll be starting at 7PM Eastern time/4PM Pacific and plan to go all evening. Please stop by!

Member Post


In the state’s two House districts, the GOP wave appears to be having an effect but the race for the open seat in the 2nd Congressional District is considered to be one of the closest in the nation and could break in favor of Democratic newcomer Ann McLane Kuster, who is said by residents to […]

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Midterms Will See Rise of New Latino Stars in the GOP


Well there’s Marco Rubio, for one. But by the end of tomorrow, we’ll most likely see two new Hispanic Republican governors and at least three new Hispanic Republican representatives. Carrie Budoff Brown at Politico reports:

New Mexico attorney Susana Martinez is favored to emerge as the country’s first Latina governor. Former federal judge Brian Sandoval is likely to become Nevada’s first Latino governor.

Please, Kick Us: More Amateur Hour in the State Department


Denise recently asked whether Obama has put a “kick me” sign on our backs. I have a few thoughts about this.

I recently interviewed Turkey’s former ambassador to the United States, Faruk Loğoğlu. He is appalled–like many in Turkey–by the soft-headedness of the Obama’ Administration’s diplomacy in this region. He finds Obama’s speeches about his personal warmth toward Islam ludicrous and inappropriate. “Obama can’t play the religious game,” he said. “He should be playing the security game. His policy toward Turkey is a bad imitation of the worst parts of Orientalism.”

It’s Not the Pot


The other day, Paul Rahe asked a California question: Would support for Proposition 19, the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, drive students to the polls, helping Democratic candidates? Trace Urdan and I both said no. Support for Prop 19 seems tepid, even on campuses.

On the other hand, we added, opposition to Prop 23 will most certainly drive a lot of the liberal gentry to the polls. Prop 23, you’ll recall, would delay implementation of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act until unemployment in the state, now about 12 percent, drops to 5.5 percent. And the Global Warming Solutions Act, in turn, would mandate that by 2020 California return to the level of emissions it produced in 1990. The most cursory review of the evidence, of course, makes it clear that the Global Warming Solutions Act will be unable even to approach its goals without effectively shutting down large swathes of the California economy.

Up Next: The Dems’ Own Tea Party?


Anti-incumbency! It’s the lede of the year. But we can’t understand what’s happening to sitting Democrats unless we underscore what’s going on within the GOP. This year, a vote against the Democrats is a vote to change the Republican party, too.

And next time? Coming out of Election ’10, how much patience — how much faith — will Democratic voters retain for their own establishment?

Let’s Put Good Restaurant Managers In Charge of Airport Security


I don’t fly often enough to hate it. I’m not fond of the process of getting to the airport, since I’m one of those people who packs the night before, has duplicate copies of the boarding passes, assumes the route to the airport will complicated by a rollover of a semi carrying 40,000 gallons of nacho cheese, and sixteen marching bands will be attempting to pass through security simultaneously while carrying their instruments, and putting dozens of Heath kits full of unassembled electronics parts through the X-ray machines. So I leave early. Very early. My wife likes to stroll onboard as the jetway is disengaging. She’d swing on a vine like Indiana Jones making the floatplane if she could.

Yesterday morning, though, we were in the Arms of the Mouse, and the Mouse will not let you be late for your plane. If your flight is at noon, you board the Disney Magical Express at 9. If your plane is at 7:45 – well. You can guess. We got to the airport with plenty of time, headed through the enormous atrium of the Orlando airport, and waded into the chaotic, clattering panic of the security line. This I hate. This makes me boil. I don’t mean to insult the TSA employees, many of whom are no doubt serious about their jobs and responsibilities, but when they peer at a boarding pass I printed off my home computer as if it’s an Enigma decrypt, well, you realize you are now an extra in the great impromptu show known as Security Theater.

Member Post


Hundreds of Democratic congressional aides, operatives and lobbyists have descended in Las Vegas seeking to help Sen. Harry Reid pull off an 11th-hour win in a race key to his party’s efforts to retain control of the Senate. Reid supporters, including multiple labor unions and about 30 aides to Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, are […]

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Member Post


WASHINGTON — Counterterrorism officials are warning local law enforcement and emergency personnel to be on the lookout for mail that could have dangerous substances hidden inside. The FBI and Homeland Security Department say packages from a foreign country with no return addresses and excessive postage need to be scrutinized, according to an advisory sent to […]

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How Big Will Tuesday’s Wave Be?


From the outset, I have thought that this year’s midterm election would be an event of historic importance. It has been a long time since anything like the Tea-Party has arisen, and there has never been a moment in my lifetime in which a political party brazenly defied public sentiment in order to enact a transformational domestic agenda in the manner in which the Democratic Party has in the last twenty-two months. As early as 2 August 2009, I was arguing that – thanks to the efforts of Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid – a realignment might be in the offing, and I am beginning to think that my intuition, initially occasioned by the eruptions that took place at the townhalls held all over the country at that time, was correct.

In the last few weeks, I have begun my morning by visiting Real Clear Politics – to sample the articles posted, to take note of the generic ballot results and of the polls in the senatorial races, and to consult that outfit’s estimates regarding House races likely to go to each of the two parties and those considered toss-ups. The changes have been gradual and slow, but the direction is clear. Every couple of days Real Clear Politics’ estimate of the number of House seats highly likely to end up in the hands of Democrats has declined. At no point, to be sure, did any pollster’s estimate of the likely Republican gains reach the 70-100 that I have been arguing for since the beginning of September. But, as I have long contended, this is because the pollsters do not know how to measure the significance of the enthusiasm gap for voter turn-out.

Will Putin’s Plumbers Plug the Wikileaks?


Here’s a story to prompt ambivalence.

A Russian secret services expert on Tuesday warned WikiLeaks that the “right team” of people could simply shut down the whistleblower Web site forever, but denied that WikiLeaks poses a threat to Russia after its founder revealed that Russia is next on its hit list. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday warned that “Russian readers will find out a lot of new things about their country” through his Web site, which has left Western governments red-faced after reams of classified documents were published on the Internet.

A Fifteen Percent Disparity


This morning, Gallup released its final pre-election generic ballot poll results. They show the Republicans ahead among likely voters by 15% — a greater margin than either party has attained in the sixty years in which the Gallup organization has been collecting this sort of information, apart from the 20% margin achieved by the Democrats in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Moreover, this poll assumes a turnout of 45%, which is larger by more than 5% than any midterm turnout of registered voters since eighteen-year-olds began to vote in 1974.

UPDATE: To get a sense of what this all means, you might want to look at Jay Cost’s latest post . As he explains, Gallup has the Republican margin at twice what it was in 1946 and 1994. This is going to be very, very big.

Yes We Can, But Only If We Bomb Iran


Today, the most buzzworthy op-ed ever written by David Broder:

With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.