The California vote is over. The promised “electoral earthquake” in California’s congressional seat in District 50 never materialized. After Republican Congressman Randall “Duke” Cunningham pleaded guilty last year to taking bribes, the Democrats began eyeballing this seat as the first seat they planned on winning in order to take over the congressional House in Washington. The Democrats believed they could win this seat because of several factors.
First, since this vote was to replace a Republican criminal, the voters surely would side with the Democrats and believe in the Democrat’s “culture of corruption” drumbeat. Next, even though CA-50 is a Republican seat, it certainly was not a strong Republican seat. Bush only got about 55% of the vote in 2004. The Democrats and the media also believed that Bush’s low poll numbers meant that the mood of the country was against all Republicans. Also, the continuous bickering of the Republicans that the media have been highlighting was another reason that the media thought the Republicans would lose this seat.
Clearly, none of these issues were enough to change the outcome of the vote, as the Democrats had hoped. Still there are some lessons for Wisconsinites to learn from the election results in California.
The first lesson Wisconsin conservatives should learn is that the Democrats “culture of corruption” will not fly. If the “culture of corruption” theme did not work in a district where the former Republican congressman admitted to taking bribes, it will not work in rest of America. Americans see corruption in politics, not just Republican corruption. Every time the liberals in Wisconsin try to connect Congressman Green to Abramoff, all we have to do is remind them of the questionable millions of dollars that Doyle has in his campaign coffers. The “culture of corruption” theme is off the table in Wisconsin, because right now, Democratic Governor Doyle looks very corrupt. No matter how Wisconsinites look at this, criminals are criminals, and criminals belong in jail, whether Republican or Democrat. It is just that simple.
The next lesson to be learned that Republican bickering is not a bad thing. The media will tell you, that the Republicans are divided and this is just awful. Not true. Republican bickering is a good thing. Think about it for a second, right now the only people involved in the debate on policy issues are Republicans. Republicans are challenging each other, the President and even the American people. Republicans are the only ones involved in the debate, continuing to hammer out policy and the only ones pushing American forward.
The Democrats have chosen not to be involved. The Democrats are standing united, but what are they standing for? They are continuing the same losing message they had in 2004- “Bush is evil, Republicans are evil.” They don’t challenge each other, they don’t debate policy, they have no new ideas and they are not allowed to step off of the “Bush is evil” message. When the American people look towards the Democrats for answers- the Democrats still have no positive policy message at all.
The Republicans need to continue to challenge each other, push each other and continue to move this country in a positive direction. The California election shows us that it’s okay for Republicans to debate each other- it only sharpens our message. Conservatives will unite to defeat Democrats, as long as there is a strong message the conservatives can support.
Lastly, the California elections showed us that this year’s elections will include the tax debate. Yesterday's election ballot carried Proposition 82, a proposed tax increase for the rich. Per normal, the Republican governor was against any tax increase whatsoever and the Democrats were spouting their “increase taxes on the rich” rhetoric. Every citizen in the state of California had the opportunity to finally soak the rich with a new tax. Well, Proposition 82 was crushed. The vote was not close; the new tax was defeated 35%-yes and 65%-no.
The lesson we learn from the California tax debate is that Americans are sick of taxes. We have taxed Americans to death. (We even tax them beyond death, with the outrageous death tax.) In Wisconsin, we understand the tax pain that California just voted against. Wisconsinites are tired of living in the tax trap, known as the state of Wisconsin. The fact that Governor Doyle has vetoed, on three separate occasions, a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights”, has further damaged the Governor’s re-election chances.
Clearly, Americans are not going to the polls talking about the “culture of corruption”, they are talking about taxes. The governor’s race in Wisconsin will be about taxes, and the conservatives stand united in Wisconsin on this issue- no more taxes and control government spending!
We learned a lot from yesterday’s election. Republicans need to remember that there are no guaranteed victories or losses when it comes to American politics. All hope is not lost for 2006, just because the media says it is- the people of Wisconsin will still get to cast their own vote on November 7th. Wisconsinites decide, not the media.
The Democrats need to remember that hating George Bush has gotten them no where. The Democrats still have no message and no new ideas, which still have not translated into a win for them. George Bush will not be running for governor of Wisconsin in 2006, Jim Doyle is running. Jim Doyle will still have to answer for his own actions; attacking Bush may not translate into a win, it hasn't for anyone else to date.