Thursday, May 25, 2006

Paging Mr. Perot. Paging Mr. Ross Perot...

Everyone agrees that 2006 is starting to look like one of those big elections - a wave. We're all debating how BIG the wave will be. Will it be a wave that knocks off 10 Republicans, or 40?

Well, I've wondered before whether we've ever had a wave that knocks off both Republicans and Democrats. And I'm starting to think that this could be the year. I think if both parties continue the way they're headed, the only thing we're missing is a catalyst. And we may just have gotten that.

It's obvious that there is an anti-incumbent mood in the electorate. It appears to be more Republican than Democrat, but there are Democrats with weak numbers for re-election, and the overall numbers for Congressional Democrats are almost as abysmal as those of Congressional Republicans. Dennis Hastert, Bill Frist, and George Bush are being vilified by conservatives, and Nancy Pelosi is given terrible ratings by the Democratic base, and has apparently ignited a war with the Congressional Black Caucus by asking for Bill Jefferson's resignation. (Please read that article from the Hill; it includes the comment of a senior aide that Ms. Pelosi's actions guarantee the Democrats Minority status in the House). The Left seems to stand with Pelosi and against the CBC when she disciplines Jefferson, but at the same time those same folks think she's doing a terrible job. Oh, and at the same time she's opening herself to great criticism for trying to protect Jefferson from the FBI.

Why are voters so angry? And what will it lead to?

Well, I'll be very interested to hear the tone of folks like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, DailyKos, and Air America over the next few weeks. I think that both parties' bases are in near revolt - over ethics, spending, immigration, Iraq, 'standing up to the President,' etc. The opening is there for the media to focus on the arrogance and corruption of both parties in Washington. It won't take much before voters start to ask 'what's wrong in Congress?'

The only thing then missing is a large figure who can be 'above the fray' to call attention to the problem - the Ross Perot of this election year. A little national advertising, a few appearances on Larry King, and a short list of 'crooks' (real or imagined) on both sides, and voters could turn out 20-40 incumbents. If Pelosi and Hastert continue to stand united in defense of one apparent crook and dozens of others presumed crooks, I don't think it's that farfetched.

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