by David Safier
No, the Republicans aren't going to become a permanent minority. We hear that kind of talk after elections when one party's taken a serious beating, and it never happens. I expect Republicans will pick up a few Congressional seats in 2014 just because that's what happens in midterm elections. But for the life of me, I don't know how they're going to regain their strength.
What are the Republicans going to use to frighten voters? Gay bashing doesn't look like such a good idea with 70% of the country in favor of either same sex marriage or civil unions. Likewise Brown bashing. Over 60% say they want immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Fear of higher taxes? That same 60%+ number comes up when you ask people if they want to tax the rich.
It looks like Republicans are polling about 30%+ on all their favorite issues, which translates to wingnuts plus 5-10%. They're not doing such a good job of using fear of Obama to swing people to their side. Obama is no longer the scary Black Kenyan Muslim he was in 2009 and 2010. People have gotten used to his face. Even his opponents called him a nice guy and a good family man during the 2012 campaign. And while there are always international problems that can be jumped on to make Democrats look soft and weak — Benghazi is the first of many we're going to hear about — Democrats are doing a pretty good job of looking tough on international issues these days.
Unless the economy slips big time, it looks to me like the best Republican hope is the politics of personal destruction. That's how they attacked Clinton during his second term. We may see more proxy attacks on Obama through Susan Rice and others as the GOP searches for an impeachable offense. They may get lucky and find something. But if they don't, they won't be able to create the kind of backlash that gives them big gains in 2014 or puts them in a strong position for 2016.
I know something is going to come up to weaken the Democrat's hand and strengthen the Republicans. But short of rolling scandals or one really big scandal, I don't know what it's going to be.