One gets the distinct impression Republicans are playing a sort of 1891 Game. Let the old regime take this one, then let the economy collapse as it did in 1893, and the Republicans can come riding in to dominate another generation. In this version the Clintons both play Grover Cleveland (right), with reform meaning such items as the FairTax, a renewed imperialism, and continuing religious revival matching that of our Muslim foes.
It could happen.
Only one other generational crisis, that of 1860, brought with it an open Presidential seat, however. Lyndon Johnson opened his seat only in March 1968, and until then it was assumed the anti-war crowd would have no candidate, yet Democrats should be able to beat whoever the Republicans threw up by emphasizing the shared New Deal assumptions of that time.
The crisis of 1932 saw a united Republican Party go down to thumping defeat behind its incumbent, Herbert Hoover (left).
But watching the 8 Grumpy Old Men last night from Florida, and looking at the impending tsunami of re-adjusting mortgages still to come due, the best analogy for my money remains 1932, not 1892.
These jokers were a disaster. Every single one of them. Huckabee seemed the best of a bad lot, and when you combine his love of sales tax, his religious extremism, and his support for continued wars in the Middle East it's hard to see a way through for him.
It was enough for me to yell at the TV countless times, to the point where my son lost his temper at me (I was interfering with his study) and broke his own door frame. Munich, Mr. McCain? Munich? Really? Everything is still Munich with you? Grandpa Fred was playing Reagan complete with the dementia. Romney and Giuliani were constantly on the defensive.
The most important metric for the coming election is the number of those who identify with each party, after so-called independents are pushed toward making a choice. Recent surveys put the Democratic lead here at an even-higher level than it was before the 2006 mid-terms, and I saw nothing last night that would change it.
Add the likelihood that Iraq will go pear-shaped again, or the Bush people will attack Iran, the mortgage tsunami, and the continuing possibilities of drought and hurricane, not to mention a growing sense that everything is collapsing, and you have the makings of a political revolution the likes of which we have never seen.
It's possible that the two-party system in 2009 will line up as Washington Democrats first, Netroots Democrats second and Republicans third. The GOP may be able to prop-up Washington Democratic majorities and limit change in minor ways, but it's far more likely they're going to be rolled like the Whigs than it is that they will roll on.