The Republicans as the party out of power, confronting a Democratic Party that elected a president and made legislative gains in the 2008, election have history on their side approaching the 2010 national mid-term election.
Absent any analysis or factoring, parties that are out of power, in this case with Republican minorities in both houses of Congress and in the executive branch, historically odds have overwhelmingly favored the outs as opposed to the ins in mid-term elections.
The Republicans hold another prospective trump card with Barack Obama presiding over turbulent economic times. This issue gave Obama a decided edge against Republican nominee John McCain in 2008. The Arizona senator was unable to shake the specter of George W. Bush Republicanism as Democratic strategists linked the aforementioned Republicans together.In perilous economic times voters become understandably angry and nervous. At election time there is a strong predilection to vote against incumbents just as incumbency becomes a more favorable posture during halcyon periods.
Another factor has been thrown into the mix, however, that could result in the Republicans' best laid plans of a 2010 electoral triumph being thwarted. It could stem from the party hanging itself on its own petard.
In the summer of 2008 Republicans were losing out badly in news cycle competition following a successfully run Democratic National Convention in Denver that was culminated by a strong acceptance speech by presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama.
Republican strategists opted for a bold move. They pushed the envelope in the direction of a perceived maverick woman from a state with independent roots in selecting Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.
Republicans sought to energize the McCain campaign by pairing him with a new national personality they sought to fit into the mold of a new wave populist. The effort was to make the Democrats look staid and traditionally political and themselves as dynamic innovators seeking change during perilous economic times.
This same populist dynamic was evident when Joe the Plumber was introduced by Republicans onto the landscape of national politics. While some, particularly among the more experienced and savvy analysts of the American political scene, quickly exposed Palin as an ill-informed lightweight and Joe the Plumber as no more than a poorly presented gimmick, a plan of attack was at work that would endure beyond the 2008 presidential election.
While Republicans prefer not to acknowledge it, there is a paper trail launching the beginning of the Tea Party leading to GOP activists. The Tea Party was a logical progression from the strategy dynamic that elevated Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber to the national scene.
The idea caught on among certain party activists as well as outsiders with rightward outlooks. Taking such a name as Tea Party coupled with wearing costumes symbolic of attire worn by America's Founding Fathers established a pattern of ideological discontent. This discontent was symbolically reflected by the famous Boston Harbor incident when revolutionaries dumped British tea into the water.
The danger inherent in encouraging a derivative offshoot such as the Tea Party that features discontent is that control can be directed away from the traditional party power base.
A classic instance of this danger is now occurring in Washington state. Former Washington Redskins tight end Clint Didier ran in the recently concluded primary election for United States Senator. He polled third behind incumbent Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Dino Rossi respectively.
Didier, who during the primary declared his alliance to Sarah Palin, polled nearly 13 percent of the primary vote. Murray garnered a little over 46 percent with Rossi at 33.5. It takes little analyzing to conclude that Didier's vote support could be the critical factor in the outcome of the November election for Rossi.
Here is the ideological rub. Didier said after the primary that he will only support Rossi, a former state senator and businessman of a more conventional Republican type than the Tea Party insurgent, if he is willing to embrace a host of issues of vital concern to the former pro footballer and current Eastern Washington farmer.
In a state where a woman's right to choose has been an established belief among the broad spectrum of voters for years, Didier has presented as one of his key condition precedents toward endorsing Rossi a measure prohibiting the U.S. Supreme Court from declaring state abortion restrictions unconstitutional.