The Left Coaster has gathered a series of linked quotes which can be used as a primer of the Abramoff case. Abramoff is an out-and-out crook at the center of the Republican graft-and-vote-buying machine, and he’s connected to a lot of people at the highest levels.
The Pew Center has posted a list of the top ten opinion trends of 2005. Of these, seven work directly against Bush, and three are more neutral but don’t help him at all (except in the sense that cynicism is always good for the Republicans.)
The Washington Monthly adds three non-trends to the mix, most notably:
The Democrats did not gain much ground in public opinion polls, even as the GOP lost ground.
(More below: Do the Democrats want to lose? Abramoff and Delay betrayed the conservative Christians by putting them to work for professional gamblers, and the Democrats haven’t peeped a peep.)
Dave here at STF and many others have explained that the weakness of the Democratic / liberal media infrastructure is probably the main reason for Democratic feebleness. Nonetheless, it often seems that the Party as a whole, and many of its leading members, aren’t even trying. We’re always hearing from Waxman and Nadler and DeFazio and Lewis and Waters and other non-leaders, but seldom from the big shots.
I’ve speculated for a long time that the DLC would rather lose with a cautious centrist than win with an aggressive leftist or even an aggressive centrist. The mercenaries get paid and rehired whether they win or lose, and some of them are taking money from both sides. So yeah, I’ve become paranoid about this.
Let me take a specific aspect of this case. Abramoff took a lot of money from a group of gambling interests and gave it to Ralph Reed, who then gave it to Christian anti-gambling people so that they would stand in the way of competing gambling operations. This is corruption of the most obvious sort, and the Christians who weren’t on the take themselves were suckered.
I’ve seen no sign that the Democrats have made any attempt to capitalize on this. There are theologically-conservative Christians willing to work with the Democrats (for example, the Sojourners group). It would not have been impossible for the Democrats to have had a liaison person with conservative Christians all along, the way the Republicans do with blacks and Jews. If we did have such a person, he could be going around right now explaining to the devout and sincere members of the Christian political groups that Bush and Delay are not their friends, and that they have been suckering the Christians all along. We probably couldn’t make Democrats out of them, but I think that we could wedge a big chunk of them away from the Republicans.
Christians tend to have an “everyone does it” attitude toward ordinary corruption, but they place a high value on personal integrity and character, and many of them support Bush and Delay because they think of them as good Christian gentlemen, and men worthey of trust. However cynical they may be about political morality as such, they feel strongly about issues of trust and betrayal — and putting them to work for gamblers counts as betrayal.
I’ve floated this idea before, and the conventional Democratic wisdom is that there’s no use bothering. Sometimes it seems that the Democratic party is predefeated the way the jeans you buy are preshrunk. Do we really need to have elections any more?