After my last post, I was still news skipping and found another good Roll Call read that covers the disconnect between the GOP, the electorate, and news about the economy.
The question for Republicans ‚Äî who are increasingly worried by the disconnect between those two sets of numbers ‚Äî is whether voters can be convinced before they go to the polls in November that a) the economy is doing well; and b) that their Member of Congress deserves to be re-elected because of it.
The answers (despite my slim thread of optimism about our turnout machine above) I fear are NO and NOT LIKELY.
Having just spent some time hanging out back home, with people who don’t follow politics the way this town does, I sense that Americans are hugely uneasy. As a result, their thoughts on the economy cannot be extracted and viewed separately from their thoughts on the world in general. They view it all together, and it’s not a pretty picture.
They see job numbers and the market rising, and they feel good. But they see gas at $3.25 a gallon, and a war in the Middle East that shows no signs of ever ending, and they feel bad.
They truly believe that same war could, given the wrong bit of fuel, quickly become a conflagration that consumes much of the region with our sons and daughters stuck in the middle. What’s worse, is they have lost any pretense that the war was justified.
They see their fellow Americans wiped out in New Orleans (N’awlins for my wife’s family) and a government that couldn’t, and largely still isn’t, helping.
They see dire warnings of a coming disease and feel a fear that is fed by the near constant alarm bells sounded by the government, but they have no faith that the government that is scaring them can protect them.
They see corruption run amok through both parties in Congress from Abramoff to Patrick Kennedy getting off for an offense that would cost them a license.
They see immigration as a huge issue, but see Washington torn between two simplistic solutions – let them all come in regardless of their illegal entry, or round them all up and throw them back over the wall. Neither is workable, but both sides refuse to concede that their plan sucks and refuse to discuss alternatives.
It’s against that backdrop that the GOP must convince the populace that the economy is going great – and it may be. The trouble is, there’s too much else that makes us question the direction in which our nation is heading. That, despite any turnout effort, really does turn this into a game of limiting losses more than of trying to win.