The Possibilities of Push-Off Politics: 1) David Frum argues Republican Congressional candidates should treat the presidential election as 'already lost' and campaign 'on a message to balance the crazy left-wing things a President Obama is sure to try.' 2) Jennifer Rubin argues the Republican presidential candidate should treat the Congress as already lost and campaign on a message to moderate the things a lopsidedly Democratic legislature is sure to try.Actually, I think both concepts can work.
It's hard to see how both these strategies could plausibly be successful, assuming polls on the week before election day offer an accurate picture of whether the GOP has a chance to control either branch of government. At the moment, Rubin's strategy looks closer to reality--McCain has a shot at the presidency, so writing him off doesn't resonate. But even the Republicans in Congress think the Republicans in Congress are doomed.(links in original omitted)
First, races for the Presidency and races for Congressional seats are two different animals all together. Congress seats are often won or lost not on national issues, but on local ones. A presidential campaign is nothing but national issues and the fact of the matter is that Obama will be easy to tarnish and taint as inexperienced in national matters.
Second, if national GOP leaders, those like NRCC Chair Tom Cole think disaster is in teh cards, the answer is not to cave to that mentality, but to run an anti-Congress campaign as a Congressional candidate. Instead of blasting Democrats, blast the whole institution as incapable of actually representing the normal folk. After budget busting bills like the famr bill and the inability to resist spending evidenced by teh lack of self-control of either party, the winning strategy, either as a Democrat or a Republican (but especially as a Republican, will be to paint all of Congress with a bad brush--not just Democrats.
Third, Rebpulican Congressional candidates need to focus on the basics of conservative ideas. Keep things local, keep things simple. Don't give away tax money, limit the amount of tax money going into the system, etc. In this election K.I.S.S. applies, Keep It Simple Stupid.