Wednesday | December 11, 2002
GOP momentum hits brick wall
After November 5, it felt like the end of the world for Democrats. I still don't know how I got out of bed the next morning.
Then Landrieu won, and things were looking better. Perhaps Bush was beatable. Perhaps the nation wasn't all trending GOP. Perhaps Democrats could still be competitive. In the South, no less. There was hope. There was some newfound energy. Democrats even had a spring in their step.
Now Lott has come and destroyed the last vestiges of "momentum" the GOP had left from November. Whether Lott stays or resigns his leadership post, this whole episode will stain the GOP, and color their efforts over the next two years.
You can forget about racially tainted judicial nominees ever seeing the light of day -- like Judge Pickering (whose nomination Bush wanted to revive). And the concept of "compassionate conservatism" will be sorely tested, as Bush will have to answer to his strong support for Lott. And so will just about every elected Republican official.
The GOP already had a challenging two years ahead of them -- full control of the government with a failing economy and perpetual war. They didn't need this.
And once again, there are certain ironies at play. Had Landrieu avoided the runoff election, her victory wouldn't have meant so much to Democrats and wounded Bush (even if just slightly). In the same vein, had Lott been minority leader, his statements may not have mattered as much, and he may have gotten a pass from the national media.
Goes to show that in politics, you never know what a new day may bring.Posted December 11, 2002 10:57 AM | Comments (107)