Why do Max Baucus, Byron Dorgan, Tim Johnson, Kent Conrad, and Mark Begich hold seats in what are generally reliable Republican states at every level? Is it not possible to defeat Harry Reid in Nevada, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Robert Byrd in West Virginia, or Sherrod Brown in Ohio? How is it that Democrats control both of Virginia's senate seats? Not that long ago, Republicans controlled seats in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Delaware, New Mexico and Michigan. Is it really impossible to elect a second Republican Senator to join Chuck Grassley from Iowa or Dick Lugar from Indiana? Is there no way to defeat appointed Senators Roland Burris of Illinois or Mike Bennett of Colorado in 2010?Mr. Johnson: The most important causes of the GOP decline in the Senate were:
- The war in Iraq -- You knew this.
- Top-down politics -- Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove tried to run the entire national apparatus of the GOP from Washington, picking favorites in Republican primaries and otherwise meddling in state-level affairs they should have stayed out of. This is what killed grassroots enthusiasm among rank-and-file party activists.
- Immigration -- In consecutive years (2006-07), Republicans led by John McCain pushed amnesty bills in the Senate, measures which were stopped only by a fierce clamor from grassroots conservatives who understood that amnesty is absolute poison in terms of keeping "Reagan Democrats." Don't. Ever. Let. That. Happen. Again.