By: Greg Mitchell
The cover story of this coming Sunday?s New York Times magazine asks the provocative question: ?The End of Republican America?? The photo below shows a red inflatable elephant ? collapsed and leaking air.
?Karl Rove had a plan to realign American politics for generations. Now GOP leaders are struggling to prevent another 1964,? reads the rest of the cover tag. The article was penned by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, who also writes for Rolling Stone.
Ken Mehlman, the former party chairman, says in the massive piece, ?What is concerning is that we lost ground in every one of the highest -growth demographics? in 2006. ?If there are Republicans out there who think that 2006 was a year that could be changed by a few votes in a few districts,? he adds, ?they need to wake up.?
Much of the article examines the plight of Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who is in charge of turning around the GOP?s fortunes. But the article notes, ?In their intimacy with the numbers, many Republican operatives now worry that crucial segments of the electorate are slipping away from them.” For example, ?Republicans had traditionally won the votes of independents; in 2006, they lost them by 18 percent?.Suburban voters, long a Republican constituency, favored Democrats in 2006 for the first time since 1992.?
Says longtime GOP candidate/consultant Rich Bond: “Tom was dealt an almost unwinnable hand.”
Many more Republicans than Democrats are stepping down this year, making it almost impossible for the GOP to make gains, the article relates. The influential Cook Political Report offers an even worse assessment, projecting that 12 of the 14 seats most likely to change hands now belong to Republicans. But Cole sees fully 75 seats in play and feels John McCain at top of ticket will help in many.
?Cole?s strategy is not complicated,? Wallace-Wells observers, ?but it does contain an essential difficulty: at a moment when Washington is deeply unpopular, he wants his candidates to run as insurgents, but voters still identify Republcians with that they don?t like about Washington.?
But Cole promises to define Nancy Pelosi as THE face of the Democrats as a party too liberal ? too ?San Francisco? ? for the country.
And the writer also notes: ?The perversity of Cole?s position is that the consummate party man has arrived at precisely the moment when the party is eroding beneath him. The problem is the money.? The Democratic party has built an 8-1 advantage over the GOP’s main apparatus. Comments House minority leader John Boehner on the party’s fundraising: “It stinks.”
Greg Mitchell’s new book is “So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits — and the President — Failed on Iraq.”