Thursday :: Mar 10, 2005

The Red State Democrat Dilemma


by rayman

Going along with yesterday's discussion of the "Breaux Brigade," Kentuckian-in-exile Publius, over at Legal Fiction, has a different perspective on the allegiences (or lack thereof) of Red State Democrats. His prognosis is not very comforting:

A lot of people support Bush in these states because they like him. Period. A lot of these same people are hostile to the national Democrats right now because they despise them personally (largely for cultural reasons and the GOP’s successful exploitation of 9/11 - see, e.g., Frank Luntz).

Red State Democratic Senators know this. And as a matter of politics, they simply can’t be seen as being too hostile to a popular President. That’s why people like Frost and Daschle had to run ads showing them supporting Bush on this or that issue. Daschle even ran an ad showing him hugging Bush if that tells you anything.

[...]

Anyway, as bad as losing (or temporarily losing) the bankruptcy battle was, losing Social Security would be a million times worse. As I explained before, I thought Bush’s tour to pressure Democrats in Red States didn’t make any sense because so many people in poorer Red States depend on Social Security. It didn’t seem like this was a good wedge issue in the sense that guns, God, and gays are. But now I’m wondering if Bush and Rove had a different plan all along. What if they were simply betting on blind devotion to Bush himself? What if that was the point of the tour? If so, the merits of the Social Security debate become irrelevant and the real political battle is simply whether Bush can make this a referendum on his popularity versus that of national Democrats.

So far, it doesn't seem like blind loyalty to the Preznit is paying off (knock on wood), given the massive unpopularity of Social Security privatization in Red States. Still, the overall point is well-taken; namely, that the tremendous popularity of Commander Codpiece (along with the searing hatred for bicoastal libruls) puts these Red State Congressmen in a bind. If the fight over Social Security drags along through the 2006 midterms, this dueling loyalty will be sorely tested.

rayman :: 7:07 AM :: Comments (49) :: Digg It!