Res Ipsa Loquitur
In tort law, the concept of res ipsa loquitur plays a prominently role in the theory of negligence. It's a Latin phrase which literally translates to "the thing speaks for itself." It embodies the idea that under some circumstances, the mere fact of an accident occuring strongly infers that the defendant was negligent.
For instance, if someone is just walking down the street and is suddenly struck in the head by a bag of flour, and there is a flour-bagging factory on the second floor of the building he was walking past at the time, one can easily infer that the bag of flour came from that factory. And since the bag could not have fallen on him without some negligence on the part of the factory workers, one can assume that the victim's injuries were due to the factory's ignorance. Res ipsa loquitur.
By the same "it's so obvious that you have to be blind not to see it" reasoning, Republicans are obviously responsible for the problems the nation is facing today. There is no doubt that they should be held liable at the ballot box for their handling of key issues.
Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House. They control 28 of the nation's 50 governorships. On the Supreme Court, 7 of the 9 current justices were appointed by GOP presidents (although it must be granted that 3 of those appointees have proved to be far more progressive than the individuals who nominated them).
This helps explain the GOP's main strategy during this election cycle: Don't acknowledge the problems the nation is facing. I've gotten the impression that this seemingly blind optimism is not actually much the result of stupidity or stubbornness, as many progressives have suggested. Rather, I think it's because GOP leaders have realized that the nation is facing problems, and that there is no way they can honestly argue that they aren't responsible.
You're worried about health care? Look at the great Medicare bill we passed. Iraq? Things are going great. Education? Just look at all the smiling children at White House photo ops.
It also explains their occassional strategy of bringing up futile and divisive measures (read: Flag burning and gay marriage) every once in awhile. Whenever they realize that the public is becoming too focused on the real problems facing this country, they bring up measures that only a small number of people really care to focus on.
The end result of all this is that they never actually confront the problems that America is facing today. Their only hope of victory is to forestall the debate on real issues long enough that the American people won't truly notice them until after the election is over. After that, they'd have two years to think of new ways to avoid taking responsibility for the nation's problems (as in 2004) or blame Democrats for them (as in 2002). In essense, they hope to run out the clock one more time.
Fortunately for this country, I don't think it will ultimately work. Polls show that more than 60% of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. And for all the attention that gay marriage and flag burning got this summer, the debate over those issues seems a distant memory to the vast majority of Americans today.
As long as Democrats succeed in pointing out who has all the power - and refuse to let the GOP change the subject - common sense should carry the Democrats over the electoral finish line in November.