Heads Up: A Foley Fumble Is Not a Touchdown

Earl Ofari Hutchinson has a very good post up at Huffington Post. I would consider it a must read for every Democratic strategist.

Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean has got to be licking his chops at the sex and corruption twist in the wind of disgraced ex-Florida Rep. Mark Foley and the GOP House Leadership. A recent MSNBC poll showed that Democratic candidates have a real shot at bagging most, if not all, of the 10 swing state Senate seats up for grabs in November, and if more Republican dirt turns up to snatch the White House in 2008.
The poll certainly found voters more ready than ever to punish GOP candidates for the appalling corruption, arrogance and ineptitude of the Republican leadership. But the Dems make a colossal mistake if they think that Foley and the GOP’s follies alone will put them over the top. The same polls also show that the Democrats don’t have a cakewalk to victory in any of the states. They are tied, have a slight lead, and even where they have a commanding lead over Republican incumbents, the election is still weeks away, and that’s an eternity in politics.

But even if Foley hadn’t sent his sex laced emails to underage house pages, and House Republicans weren’t deeply implicated in the cover-up, millions of eligible voters have long since thrown up their hands in disgust and rage at a system they see as suffocated by special interest groups. While the Republicans get most of the blame for alienating scores of eligible voters with their scandals and Bush’s failed policies, the Democrats hands aren’t clean. Their penchant to cut deals, schmooze with big money corporate and labor special interest groups, and more often than not cheer lead Bush’s Iraq war bumbles, have been a giant turn off for millions. Those millions have stayed away from the polls in droves.

Having the other side screw up make a mistake isn’t enough. You still have to catch the fumble to make the touchdown. It would bode the Democratic party good to remember that.

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