09.16.2014 1

GOP blundering toward the finish line


By Rick Manning

The media has woken up and noticed that the Republican Party which should be on the precipice of enjoying a massive electoral victory based upon the unpopularity of President Obama, the economy and the number of red states Democrats are being forced to defend in the Senate, are not realizing that advantage in voter polls.

While Republicans are still in good shape, the expected landslide scenario has been slow to develop as Democrat candidates remain close or ahead in the key takeover states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire.  However to conservatives, this phenomenon is no mystery.

Beyond the obvious, that this is a natural backlash against the national Republican Party, which has spent the past three years bashing conservative voters, the answer may be found in a poll just released by the D.C. newspaper, Politico.

According to Politico, only 35 percent of voters in the most competitive House and Senate races approved of Obama’s handling of immigration with a whopping 64 percent disapproving.  These numbers are incredible, because it shows that the nation is polarized with only one percent undecided on this issue that has dominated the political chatter for the past six months.

So, why would Republicans not be blowing Democrats doors off on this issue alone?

The answer is found when the poll asks which political party voters trust on immigration, revealing that only 34 percent of these voters trust the Republicans, while 31 percent trust the Democrats.  A full 35 percent, an overwhelming majority of which disapprove of Obama’s policies, simply don’t trust Republicans to do any better.

The months of Republican leadership waffling and failing to plant a flag in the ground against Obama’s ill-conceived plan, have resulted in the issue being squandered with the Democrats accruing the benefit.

When Republicans, like Scott Brown in New Hampshire, who has not been part of the compromising on Capitol Hill, release ads attacking their popular opponent’s vote on the issue, he is rewarded by the voters with a  dramatic jump in the polls.

However, the Republican Party as a whole finds itself perceived as being untrustworthy by those who oppose amnesty, and it is this mistrust in general that is the greatest single impediment toward the GOP picking up 20-25 seats in the House and 10 in the Senate to a much smaller victory.

The same Republicans who castigated conservatives for nominating through the primary process candidates who took strong stands on issues in 2010 and 12, now find themselves in the position that their constant footsie playing with those who support amnesty may be biting them on election day.

It is no surprise that Democrats and the left don’t trust Republicans, but when those who take conservative positions don’t trust them, it signals a bigger problem.  A problem that goes to the very heart of the currently configured GOP’s right to call themselves the conservative party.  On the issue of illegal immigration, it appears that voters are not willing to settle for the lesser of two evils political party.

In a mid-term election that depends upon turnout, this failure is the difference between winning big and getting by.

2014 was the year, like 2010, to run a hard core conservative campaign led by the House Republicans, but instead Republicans have curled into a relative fetal position hoping that not being Obama will lead them to victory.  Choosing to run the exact wrong campaign, the hope for those on the right is that in spite of their risk averse, milquetoast effort, that voters will settle in a hope of reining in Obama in his last two years.

Unlike 1994 or 2010, if Republicans win in 2014, it will be in spite of themselves.

Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications at Americans for Limited Government.

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