Larry Sabato, a prominent political scientist, is flatly predicting the GOP will take the House and probably take or tie the Senate in mid-term elections this November. Sabato, apparently, has a good track record for predictions. Such a landslide for the GOP invariably conjures memories of 1994, the last time the United State surged toward the Republicans.
I’d just like to point out a couple of differences between 1994 and 2010.
In 1994, nobody — and I mean nobody — saw the landslide coming. I remember political pundits and newscasters stunned with disbelief as the results drifted in from across the country that Tuesday night. Given the widespread expectations of a Democratic drubbing, this November differs greatly from its 1994 counterpart.
Another difference is that the GOP in 1994 were offering voters a clear alternative to the ruling party. Their 10-part “Contract with America” offered a palpable idea of exactly how the party planned to rule differently from the Democrats. I’ve yet to see any clear, coherent message that details how the Republicans plan to lead if they do take control of Congress in November. The GOP still appear rudderless — despite perfect conditions for a cogent message of austerity and limited government to emerge. Instead, the GOP are simply enjoying the fruits of a bad economy and the anti-incumbency fever it carries. A couple of positive economic reports before the election could easily sway the public back into the Democrats’ camp.
So, my warning to the GOP is one I’ve heard before, but that tends to get lost amid Republican euphoria — “Don’t get cocky, kid.”