If David Frum really believed that one-party government was a danger, he would have been supporting Bill Clinton in 1996, Al Gore in 2000, and Democratic senators and representatives in 2002, 2004, and 2006. He wasn't. And now he thinks that it's time once again for Republicans to campaign by once again saying things they don't believe.
Can we please have an opposition to the Democrats that says things that they do believe, rather than things that they don't? Is that too much to ask?
David Frum writes:
Sorry, Senator. Let's Salvage What We Can: John McCain is losing in a way that threatens to take the entire Republican Party down with him. A year ago, the Arizona senator's team made a crucial strategic decision. McCain would run on his (impressive) personal biography. On policy, he'd hew mostly to conservative orthodoxy.... [I]n August, McCain tried a bold new gambit: He would reach out to independents and women with an exciting and unexpected vice presidential choice. That didn't work out so well either. Gov. Sarah Palin... did, however, ignite the Republican base.... And so, in this last month, the McCain campaign has Palinized itself to make the most of its last asset. To fire up the Republican base, the McCain team has hit at Barack Obama as an alien, a radical and a socialist. Sure enough, the base has responded.... But... [the] strategy that has belatedly mobilized the Republican core... has alienated and offended the great national middle.... You have to go back to the Watergate era to see numbers quite so horrible for the GOP.
McCain's awful campaign is having awful consequences down the ballot. I spoke a little while ago to a senior Republican House member. "There is not a safe Republican seat in the country," he warned. "I don't mean that we're going to lose all of them. But we could lose any of them." In the Senate, things look, if possible, even worse. The themes and messages that are galvanizing the crowds for Palin are bleeding Sens. John Sununu in New Hampshire, Gordon Smith in Oregon, Norm Coleman in Minnesota and Susan Collins in Maine... the certain loss of John Warner's Senate seat in Virginia, the probable loss of Elizabeth Dole's in North Carolina, an unexpectedly tough fight for Saxby Chambliss's in Georgia -- and an apparent GOP surrender in Colorado....
A beaten party needs a base from which to recover.... [T]he Senate will have to play the same role after this defeat. That's especially true because of two unique dangers.... There's a fierce new anger among many liberal Democrats, a more militant style... the culture of the left-wing blogosphere.... Every available dollar that can be shifted to a senatorial campaign must be shifted to a senatorial campaign.... [I]t is not far-fetched to hope that we can hold 45 or 46 of our current 49 Senate seats.... We need a message change that... warns of the dangers of one-party... government.... It's the only argument we have left. And, as the old Washington saying goes, it has the additional merit of being true.