Sitting here, Fox News playing as background noise, a thought occurs to me. There is another silver lining in the recent losses of Republican party. The Democrats no longer get to hide behind the GOP.
I know a somewhat moderate Democrat who used to tell me all of the time "If people really knew what Republican's were like, they would never vote for them again". Now, I am not going to criticize this person because he is closely related to me.
With this said, I have been thinking about this statement a lot since the elections and how incredibly naive it is.
First is the obvious flaw in that it assumes the media is somehow protecting the true Republican image from the public, they are somehow glossing over what Republicans are really like. This is so patently absurd, it doesn't even deserve discussion. But, of course, I'm going to beat it to death anyways.
The next time I hear this from this person, I'm going to ask them if they actually watch the news. I will ask for an example of what the Republicans have done that the media has not covered ad nauseum. The media not only covers every misstep by the GOP, they go as far as fabricating facts and/or stories about them. One has to go no further back than the recent Presidential election and the media coverage of Sarah Palin for proof that the media does not let things like the truth get in the way of a good attack story.
Finally, the flip side of this argument is that the media covers the Democrats fairly. They, clearly, do not. The examples of the media shilling for the Democratic party are so overwhelming in number that it makes the argument over whether we have an unbiased media a moot point.
So the more accurate statement should be, if the public really knew what the Democratic party was like, they would never vote for them again.
So, back to the original point of this post. The silver lining to the recent Republican losses. The Democrats are no longer going to be able to hide behind the GOP. They are going to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the light of day. The public is not going to like what they see.
The reason for this is two-fold.
First, they hold all of the marbles now. They control the Presidency, Congress, and several state legislators and Governorships. They no longer have the GOP to blame. Economy doesn't get better, they control the purse strings. A new terrorist attack or an uptick in unrest in the Middle East, they set national security and foreign policy now. Illegal immigration explodes and we have the corresponding hit to our economy, they control the border.
Of course, they will blame George Bush and the media will let them. This will carry them only so far though. I predict at best they get 6 months to ride that then the public will start getting restless.
I have noticed that they already are feeling the heat. We have switched from the high flying rhetoric and big promises of the campaign to Congressional leaders and the Obama transition team low-balling predictions and trying to lower expectations. The Democrats, Obama and Congressional leaders, made a lot of grand promises for the new rule, now they have to deliver. In fact Obama's biggest selling point, "Change", could become his biggest nightmare. Obama promised change during the campaign. If things go sour during his Presidency, the opposition will beat him over the head with his own slogan. The obvious attack is that he promised change, and we got it. It is a quintessential 'be careful of what you ask for' situation.
Second the Democrats have a different news environment from the last time they had complete control of government. The last time the Dems controlled Congress and the Presidency we did not have Fox News, we did not have an influential conservative talk radio, and we did not have the internet.
When they last controlled government, the Democrats got a pass from the media and there was no balancing source of information to dispense the truth. Things have changed in 14 years. They will no longer be able to hide behind the media.
I believe that with the spotlight on the Dems in the next 2 to 4 years, they better perform. We could be seeing a party with a badly damaged brand name and the party will not be the GOP.