Monday, June 15, 2009

Tables, Flipped

Nothing in politics can be predicted with 100% accuracy. But many things in politics play out with a sense of comic justice. Like this.

To reread the major political books from the years around Bush's reelection is to be plunged, as if into a cold pool, back into a world of Democratic gloom and anxiety. Those books were linked by the common belief that Republicans had established a thin but durable electoral advantage that threatened to exile Democrats from power for years, if not decades. Many books from that time assumed Democrats could avoid that eclipse only by adopting the tactics used by Republicans in general and Rove in particular...

In fact, by the time most of these books were published, the Republican 'fortress' looked more like a crumbling sand castle. Bush's reelection proved the high point of Rove's vision, and even that was a rather modest peak: Bush's margin of victory, as a share of the popular vote, was the smallest ever for a reelected president... By the time Bush left office, with Democrats assuming control of government and about two-thirds of Americans disapproving of his performance, his party was in its weakest position since before Ronald Reagan's election. Rather than constructing a permanent Republican majority, Rove and Bush provided Democrats an opportunity to build a lasting majority of their own that none of these books saw coming.

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