By Brent Budowsky - 08/02/10 10:27 PM EDT
I still believe Democrats will keep control of the Congress, for these reasons:
1. The publication of the book Decision Points by former President George W. Bush will have a bombshell impact in the closing hours of the campaign. The publication date is Nov. 9. Here is what will happen:
Voters will remember: It was a Republican president who initiated the bailout. It was Republican economics, championed by a Republican Congress, that caused the recession and created the curse of devastating unemployment. The bad memories will flow as details of the Bush book unfold in the days before the election.
I am no apologist for the shortcomings of the Democratic Party, but analyzing major trends, the most likely outcome is that Democrats retain control of both houses of Congress.
2. 2010 will not be a national wave election, but a wave election only in the 15-20 states where President Obama’s popularity is lowest. This will cost Democrats seats, but not enough to lose control.
3. House Democrats run far better campaigns than House Republicans. This is why Democrats won three major off-year elections.
4. House Democrats first elected in 2006 and 2008 have towering financial advantages over Republican challengers.
5. House Democrats have the tactical flexibility to adapt and improvise in their districts. They can ignore the spin from Washington insiders. They can run on their platforms for the future, backed by their huge financial advantage. They need not defend the present, a mistake some Democrats make, or advocate a return to the Bush past, a mistake most Republicans make.
6. While Democrats have many imperfections, Republicans remain as unpopular as they were during the Bush years. They have no coherent or appealing program except vendetta opposition to President Obama and fanatical opposition to any change from the widely unpopular Bush years.
7. Overzealous GOP rhetoric on immigration will do a generation of damage to Republicans with the great Hispanic demographic wave.
There is a distemper and extremism in Republican politics today. The GOP is divided between those who practice the politics of extremism and destruction on the rampaging right and those who practice the politics of nihilism and obstruction, whose tactics are more radical than the segregationist senators who filibustered against civil rights.
Republicans are plagued by what I call Sharron Angleism. Some slander jobless workers or call for the end of Social Security. Others attack Medicare or apologize to BP. They promise to bring back the only memory less popular than Bush policies: to renew the politics of destruction in the House of Representatives that impeached Bill Clinton while he was creating jobs and balancing the budget.
Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp would not feel comfortable in today’s Republican Party. Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt would be appalled.
Voters are unhappy — with good reason — but they will not turn back the clock to a past they have already rejected. Republicans will gain seats, but Democrats will keep control.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.