In the last few lines of the original Terminator the kid with a camera says "viene la tormenta!" Sara Connor asks the gas station attendant to translate and he says "there's a storm coming." Connor responds with an understated "I know."
Let me tell you right now. Viene la tormenta.
Last year I was the only one who predicted that Arizona Republicans would have a good year--even predicting that we would gain two seats in the House and one in the Senate.
I was the one who predicted that Clean Elections would wipe out the moderate elements of both parties, leaving the legislature dominated by "progressive" Democrats and Conservative Republicans--when I served in the House, there were 33 Republicans, 16 of whom were self-described moderates. There are now 35 Republicans in the House, but after a series of devastating defeats, the number of moderates is around three or four.
This year, Republicans are likely to make gains nationally--but that's because they are starting from such a small base--the real storm is going to be in the Arizona Primary.
It seems like every Republican I talk to mentions that the class of 1994 botched it. Republicans were in charge and governed like Democrats--spending, earmarks, steel tariffs, prescription drug benefits and protectionism.
The new schism in the Republican party is not Conservative or Moderate, it's Conservatives who are part of the establishment versus conservatives who are part of the resistance and it looks to me like McCain, and to a lessor extent even Shadegg and Brewer, are vulnerable in Republican Primaries.
I keep coming back to the date of the 2010 Primary--August 31st. I don't think Arizona has ever had a Primary that early. That means that all the early ballots will have to be gathered in July and August...that's the worst possible time to hold a primary.
There may be as few as 200,000 Republicans vote in that Primary and Rob Haney is likely to be personal friends with a third of them. All of them will be unhappy.
I was elected to the House in 1990 (defeating an incumbent) amidst a voter backlash against higher taxes and public stadiums. I was there in 1992 when ongoing economic turmoil and the US House check cashing scandal devastated incumbents nationally--and Jay Rhodes locally. I was there for the Republican Revolution of 1994 when Clinton's hubris, a Democratic Congress and Hillary Care led to massive Democratic defeats and gave the House and Senate to the Republicans. Then I've watched 15 years of Republicans getting really comfortable in Washington.
Eighteen months into a deep recession, the electorate is angry and scarred. Now with Obama in charge, Republicans who I talk to are looking for a different type of leader. The "Big Tent" is just code talk for "gaining power by sacrificing your ideals." Been there, done that. They want a revolution and the current crop of incumbents look like yesterday's revolutionaries...and we all know that yesterday's revolutionaries are today's establishment.
In the original Terminator, Judgment day was August 29th 1997.
This year it's looking like Judgment Day will be August 31st 2010.