If the much-anticipated 2014 Republican wave never ultimately materializes, Republicans will only have themselves to blame.
With less than 50 days until Election Day, the overall environment still looks very bleak for Democrats. Nevertheless, in the almost always right Real Clear Politics polling average, Republicans are failing to pull away or trailing (see North Carolina) in several of the key races they must win to win big this fall.
Look no further than my home state of Iowa, where Republicans could potentially blow two very winnable races for House and Senate because they’re running on absolutely nothing other than milquetoast pabulum that makes Romney 2012 look like Winston Churchill.
In Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, the tough-talking Joni Ernst, who cruised to a primary romp in a crowded field thanks to clever ads that depicted her as a gutsy military veteran and sassy farm girl, has been replaced by a demur and defensive general election candidate. In fact, if you watch television here, it appears the Koch brothers are actually running for the retiring Tom Harkin’s seat instead, since they’re pretty much the object of the Democratic attack machine’s obsession. Despite Congressman Bruce Braley’s numerous and well-publicized gaffes, not to mention the fact he’s on the wrong side of every issue voters are the angriest about this year, he’s currently holding a slim lead in the race after unleashing two months of relentless attack ads against Ernst.
In one of the most memorable campaign ads so far this year, Ernst promised to go to Washington and “castrate” the gutless ruling class. But right now she’s the one being spayed and neutered by the Braley campaign.
Then there’s the 3rd Congressional District race, where Iowa’s version of Nancy Pelosi is threatening to claim retiring Republican Tom Latham’s seat. Former Democratic state Sen. Staci “I wouldn’t revoke the passports of terrorists” Appel, who suffered one of the worst losses by an incumbent state legislator in Iowa history in her last campaign in 2010, currently leads Republican challenger David Young. The former chief-of-staff to popular long-time Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, Young is running “the wimpiest and most meaningless ads I have seen in a long time,” one veteran GOP strategist told me.
Here’s Young talking about how all that Iowans want is a good meal (in this case chicken strips and French fries) and good government.
Since surely there must have been some trite Midwestern clichés left over from that ad that still needed to be expressed, here’s Young talking about getting Congress together at the kitchen table over a pot of coffee to fix our problems, because “it’s an Iowa thing.” I mean, duh, why didn’t we think of that?
Finally, there’s a statewide radio ad voiced by Grassley that talks about how Young was so inspired to be a public servant that he bought everyone in his Senate office a pair of toenail clippers as a humble reminder of who they work for. Because you have to be so servant-oriented you have to be willing to clip your constituents’ ingrown toenails or something.
No, I’m not kidding. If only I were. I can see it now: “Vote for Young and get mani-pedis as well as smaller government!”
Here’s the thing, though, people can clip their own toenails. What they can’t do on their own is get rid of Obamacare, secure the border, and hold a lawless and unpopular president in check. If only there were people available who could occupy influential positions that allowed them do that on our behalf. Ah, shucks, why didn’t the Founding Fathers think of that?
Snark aside, Braley and Appel support all of the Marxist policies currently threatening the future of the country, and the Republican candidates in my state are treating this existential threat like a student body election. Who knows? Maybe in his next television ad, Young will promise us an extra day of chocolate milk for school lunches and longer recess, while Ernst sets the record for most blah-blah-blah references to “Iowa values” in one campaign. Dare to dream.
For liberty’s sake, how about making this very simple for voters? Ernst and Young — as well as Republicans running for any office anywhere in America this year — ought to be running on the same exact message: “My Democratic opponent, brought to you by lawless President Obama and tall the people who gave you everything happening right now (Obamacare, border crisis, bad economy, Common Core, etc.) you’re opposed to/angry about.”
That’s it, period. Nothing more, nothing less is needed.
Obama is polling underwater with the American people on virtually every meaningful policy issue. Even more worrisome for the Left is the fact that the solid majority of Americans don’t consider Obama a strong leader, and by a 17-point margin in the recent ABC News poll Americans felt Obama has done more to divide rather than unite the country.
This should not be a “prevent defense” election. The American people (or at least the increasingly dwindling numbers of those still paying attention) seem ready and willing to pronounce harsh judgment on Obamaism. Now all they need is an opposition party that calls the question.
(Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated talk show host and also the author of the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)