Wilson Research Strategies, a Republican research and polling firm, released a "National Political Environment Assessment" this morning on voter attitudes heading into the 2008 race.
Crib Note: In July of 2007 it's looking ugly for Republicans in '08. Pig ugly.
WRS analyzed data collected from news and academic polling organizations including AP/IPSOS, USA Today/Gallup, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg and others.
WRS concludes that if Republicans are going to win in '08 they will have to do it by running on "local" issues. And prayer.
Which makes sense to us.
We've spent some time over the last week talking with national GOP strategists living "inside-the-beltway" (amazingly, they still take our calls) and we haven't seen an organization this out to lunch since, well, since forever.
It's like 2006 never happened.
As near as we can tell, the national GOP game plan for 2008 seems to be to expose Democrat Candidate X's "Ted Kennedy values". And go ugly early.
In other words, the RNC/NRCC/NRSC's message in '08 will be "our Democrat opponent will vote with Ted Kennedy to let illegal aliens stay in this country to rape our women and children".
That (lack of a) message is not going to take the GOP over the mountaintop in 2008. Not even close.
Especially when Democrat Candidate X will just smile at the Ted Kennedy accusation, point at a picture of George Bush and say, "At least I don't represent that guy."
In 2008, in swing districts around the country, Ted Kennedy is going to beat out George Bush.
Which has got the national GOP stammering and stuttering like it's their job. Which it actually is.
So our advice to GOP candidates in '08 is to spend less time on the phone with Washington and more time down at your local diner/school board meeting/dump/shopping mall talking with real people. Who will help you craft a real message. Which might actually allow you to win.
All politics is local. And Washington doesn't know 80% of what it pretends to know.
So take DC's money. Take their nuts and bolts organizational know-how. But hang up the phone when their message "wizards" start yapping.
And then go treat yourself to a doughnut. You've really got nothing to lose.
We're just saying.