By Scott Tibbs, February 8, 2012
Sometimes I think the Republican Party should change their mascot from an elephant to a donkey, but not just any donkey. Specifically, Republicans should choose Eeyore as their mascot. That would be a perfect representation of many Republicans who always seem to have a thundercloud following them everywhere.
I simply do not get why Republicans are so pessimistic, especially given the overwhelming victory Republicans had nationwide in the 2010 elections. It seemed like as soon as the results were in showing huge Republican gains not only in the U.S. House, but in state legislatures all over the country, Republicans were immediately back to moaning, "Woe is me, woe is me, we cannot beat Barack Obama."
This after a national election where the Republicans didn't present much of a case for electing them. The 2010 election was basically an anti-Obama tide, and Democrats suffered from their association with him just as they did in 1994 by being associated with Bill Clinton. And while Clinton won re-election in 1996, he did it in an election where the anti-Clinton vote was split. Clinton was re-elected with a plurality; a majority of voters actually voted against the incumbent President. We will not have that in 2012, and Obama is not as skillful of a politician as Clinton.
Even in Indiana, we see Republicans wanting to be Eeyore. While pessimism about whether Richard Mourdock can defeat Richard Lugar in the primary is understandable, I simply cannot see why anyone would be pessimistic of a match up between Mourdock and Joe Donnelly.
The 2012 landscape heavily favors Republicans. Mike Pence is raising significantly more money than his presumed Democratic opponent, and is expected to run away with the election. It would be an accomplishment to match Mitch Daniels' 2008 margin of victory, but it can be done. The Republican nominee for President will likely win Indiana handily, learning from the incredible incompetence of John McCain - who became the first Republican to lose Indiana since 1964 even while the Republican governor was re-elected with nearly 60% of the vote.
Then there is the match up itself. While Mourdock won a statewide election in 2010 with 60% of the vote, Donnelly barely squeaked by his opponent and won with a plurality. A majority actually voted against the two-term incumbent, but because the anti-Donnelly vote was split he managed to barely win. This was also a campaign where Donnelly was such a poor candidate that the Indiana Democratic Party actually sent a mailing endorsing one of Donnelly's opponents. How can we be afraid of this paper tiger?
Republicans had a pair of bad elections in 2006 and 2008, because the party had abandoned the conservative principles that helped us win in the past. It is true that Republicans have an uncanny talent for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but the GOP is re-energized and re-committed to conservatism, and there is no reason for us to walk around like we have a thundercloud following us around. Let's leave Eeyore to the Winnie the Pooh stories where he belongs, as we march toward victory in 2012.