Howard Dean, Mark Foley is on the phone and he wants your Job

by Chris Seibold Oct 17, 2006

The Republican Revolution can mean different things in two ways. If you’re a resident of China you likely remember it from the history books as the moment in time when the Qing dynasty was overthrown. If you’re an American, you remember the Republican Revolution as the result of the masterful job of nationalizing the 1994 congressional elections.

To set the table for the later discussion, the revolution went like this: The republicans came up with the Contract for America (derisively called the Contract on America by opponents). The contract promised lots of things, lower taxes, lower crime, reformed legal system etc, basically a bunch of stuff that sounds really great in snippets. The contract had the effect of freeing voters from voting for an individual and empowered them to vote for a party. It was a masterstroke of political maneuvering that took advantage of then President Clinton’s weaknesses, the growing popularity of talk radio, the constant disdain for congress (of course most people only hate everyone else’s representatives).

Thing is, the Contract for America should be easily copied. It wouldn’t take a lot of imagination to come up with a democratic version that promised fair wages, the end of overly influential corporations, sensible environmental policies and (of course) cheap friggin gas. All the stuff people want to hear. In fact, nationalizing the election was the avowed goal of the democrats in this year’s election. Instead of a contract the strategy was that the democrats would make every race about the democratic option versus Bush. In such a fashion voters fed up with Bush, the war and various transgressions wouldn’t be voting for the Democratic option they’d be voting against Bush.

The strategy was sound, the President’s popularity was taking a beating and every single story seemed to make Bush just a little worse. The implementation left quite a bit to be desired. Where the Republican revolution of ‘94 tapped the popularity of talk radio the Democrats didn’t manage to capture the growing popularity of blogs. Where the republican revolution managed to nationalize issues any particular race this time around is more focused on the minor issues than the President. For example, the race for the Senate in Tennessee will likely come down to what college Harold Ford attended or how many illegal aliens Bob Corker hired.

Perhaps it wasn’t a surprise the democrats couldn’t nationalize the congressional elections, under the guidance Howard Dean the implementation has been haphazard at best and completely chaotic at worst. Fortunately, for the democrats, the republicans decided to nationalize the election for them.

Where Dean and the other strategists failed, Mark Foley stepped in and boldly clicked on the instant messenger icon. Sure, people should have known way back in ‘95 when Foley sponsored the all congressional page weight lifting contest and installed himself as body oiler that something was up but it took the permanence of quick notes to really drive the point home. The appeal of the scandal is obvious, homosexuality and teenage boys? It is right out of the Socrates playbook. So, it was natural that voters would latch onto the scandal, much more interesting than say, the over extension of the military.

So Mark Foley has to been given a lot of credit if the democrats manage to grab the house in the next election. If a democratic miracle happens and the dems get both the house and the senate they should thanks Foley the same way the republicans thanked Limbaugh when they swept into congress in the mid-nineties: appoint Foley an honorary congressman. Just don’t send him the screen names of any pages…

And, since this article kicks off the iPod giveaway contest all comments are worth an entry!




  • With a failed war, out of control spending, doubling of the debt, high gas prices, torture, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, and dead kittens everywhere, why does it take a sex scandal?  What is wrong with people?

    Honestly, I don’t think the Foley scandal alone is responsible for much of a swing.  Katrina did almost as much damage to Bush as it did to New Orleans.

    In any case, I’m not getting my hopes up.  Dems are only experts at one political maneuver, and that’s snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 17, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • No IFs, ANDs or BUTs: I’m confident that the Dems will blow it once again. They always do, always will.

    Polls mean nothing. Getting out the vote will show how strong the Repugnants are. They will survive and make the Dems (and the nation) pay.

    breuklen had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 31
  • Habeas corpus
    on ice: is democracy
    far behind one asks?

    eiscir had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 23
  • 1) that was a haiku
    2) gah! american flag again!

    eiscir had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 23
  • So much for a reasoned discussion, Chris.  You’re going to get a wave of friggin’ haikus.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • you cant have my job

    Alex wants an ipod shuffle had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 14
  • Alas Beeb, I agree that democrats are realy, really good at self defeatism but I don’t think Katrina and the past really hurt the administration much, looking at the approval ratings it loks as though people had largely forgotten Katrina. Adittionally, the blame for Katrina was aimed directly at the President, most didn’t see congress as complicit. With Iraq and erosion of rights and such, the anger at congress and the administrtion seem smore palpable. Bush aprroval ratings:

    as for the haikus, well comments get overly serious so fast I was hoping that people wouldn’t be afraid to be a little funny. Especially with politics sometmes the humor quotient is far too low.

    Chris Seibold had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 354
  • I’m likin the haikus, but maybe they’re too structured…perhaps we can lean towards quatrains…greater degree of freedom. Nostradamus prophetic weirdness with a political overtone? Now that could get INTERESTING.

    The election still resonates with the undertones of 1)vote for Bush or 2)vote against Bush, bereft as expected of insightful discussion. The Bush image rehab tour has tried to resurrect the ideal of “great protector” especially from the nastily ill-defined specter of terror, while the Dems are stammering pointlessly to a rhythm all their own – nonsubstantive and fearmongering of a different degree.

    Todd M Long had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 19
  • Y’argh! Pirates be the best-selling Halloween costume out there.

    Apropos of nothing, of course.

    Except for me booty…

    CapnVan had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 68
  • On a more serious note, the House victory in ‘94 is more attributable to the various Democratic scandals of the late 80’s and early 90’s, the disaster that was the Clinton healthcare reform effort, the continuing failure of Democrats in GOTV activities, the continuing decline of unions (and, btw, the pro-business, anti-labor Democratic Leadership Council and their hand-picked new President).

    What the Republicans did, by and large, was point out a few proposals that they all agreed on, and then mostly stayed out of the way. Sadly, the Dems can’t even manage that much.

    CapnVan had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 68
  • Oh yeah, one more thing:
    Because I’d love a new ‘Pod,
    Send me one soon, please.

    CapnVan had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 68
  • Avast! This be one more comment, ye Spinsters!

    CapnVan had this to say on Oct 21, 2006 Posts: 68
  • My wife told me to get her a new ipod shuffle or she was going to kick my ass…
    Please enter me in the drawing.

    JSStewart had this to say on Oct 30, 2006 Posts: 2
  • Haiku huh?

    Let me see

      My wife is angry
      Music will make her happy
      Oh please save my ass!

    JSStewart had this to say on Oct 30, 2006 Posts: 2
  • Halloween is done;
    oh am I full of candy.
    Bring on the turkey!

    MrAlbatross had this to say on Nov 01, 2006 Posts: 2
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