Monday, September 22, 2008

What Happened to the Democrats?

A few weeks ago November was expected to be a bloodbath for Republicans. Republican members of Congress were choosing to retire rather than face extinction, recruiting new candidates was becoming a nightmare for the GOP, and historians were predicting the biggest landslide victory for the Democrats pursuit of the White House since 1984. On that year, Ronald Reagan won every state except Minnesota, the home of the Democrat nominee. Now, John McCain has a slight lead by virtually every major poll.

So what happened to the Democrats?

Barack Obama. The Democrats have faced buyers remorse ever since they bought into an Obama candidacy. Increasingly it is becoming clear that, if Democrats knew in January what they know now it is highly unlikely he would be their nominee. Reverend Wright’s rampages on the horrors of America, Michelle Obama believing the US is fundamentally “mean,” Barack Obama’s love for everything European and fundamentally low view of those things that make up common America.

Energy. Americans have always had this view that they would never tolerate the ridiculously high gas prices common in Europe, but we have been doing exact that. Furthermore, Democrats have indicated that those prices are a good thing. They believe we Americans are mere addicts and need to be cut off from our supplies and force to conserve. They are more frightened about drilling more here and now than being dependent on countries that sponsor terrorism. In other words, their energy solutions blame Americans when they should blame the policy makers. That is what Republicans have been doing as they occupy an empty House of Representatives and teach Democrats lessons in energy economics. That is what McCain has done in choosing Sarah Palin (the government of Alaska which is home to our best source of domestic drilling). Energy is serving as a huge divider between Democratic candidates and voters.

International affairs. When Russia attacks one of our strongest allies in Eastern Europe, Barack Obama calls for “restraint” on both sides and says that the UN Security Council should handle it. Of course, Russia is a member of that Security Council and has veto power, making it toothless in dealing with Russia. It is these kind of foreign policy gaffes that are making Obama look unprepared verses McCain who looked extremely Presidential as he denounced Russia and said that the US should take reasoned but unilateral action.

Sarah Palin. Palin is arguably the most strategic choice for VP I have ever seen and I have been watching Presidential politics closely since the 1970s. She accentuates Republicans best issue (energy), she electrifies women voters who are angry over the treatment of Hillary Clinton, she is more Conservative than the rank and file could hope for (bringing many of those disenfranchised voters back to the fold), and she is obviously a very savvy campaigner.

A few months ago Republicans looked destined to suffer further loses in both Houses of Congress as well as the White House. I believe the Democrats have their work cut out for them when it comes to the Presidency and we could all be surprised by the make up of the Congress.

Kevin Price articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media.

Kevin Price is Host of the
Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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