There is a diary posted at Daily Kos which talks about the likelihood of the GOP nationalizing the election around Rep. Pelosi, and although I believe the author is correct to assume that the GOP is doing its best to have a national theme. I do not believe that they are focusing on Rep. Pelosi.
In just a quick walk through the news one can find what the theme for the GOP elections is going to be "Fascism" (here, here, here and here). And while this seems patently foolish on its face, I fear that if the left does not devise a way to fight against their attempt to set the national agenda the midterm elections will be in jeopardy.
Even with Keith Olbermann's complete thrashing of Donald Rumsfeld last night, we have got to be more aggressive in beating back the idea that fighting terrorism = fighting fascism. If you do a simple Google search of the news, you will find six references to Olbermann and Fascism. Which shows you that as great as his commentary was, it didn't get to the folks that need to hear it the most.
Right now, the GOP is doing its best to engrain in the heads of every voter that GOP = fighting the terrorists = stay the course in Iraq = fighting fascists. They are doing this because they know a.) it will rile up their base b.) it will attract independent voters. As has been noted here before, independent voters do not look for elaborate arguments or issues to justify their votes. Instead, they respond to themes in the election. Whether or not fighting the war in Iraq is actually the same as fighting fascism is of no practical consequence, they are focused on the THEME. The GOP theme for 2006 will be "George Bush and the GOP fights fascism" and the choice for the undecided voter will be "do I support fascism?" The GOP/Karl Rove has done this in each of the last three major elections in 2000 it was "compassionate conservatism", in 2002 it was "terrorism" and in 2004 it was "values". There were no issues, just ridiculous platitudes, but they worked.
How do we fight this? We on the left can offer up a million different reasons why the GOP should not be in charge (with the clearest one being its incompetency) and we can bring up another million issues that the general public agrees with us about, but until we offer a compelling theme to undecided voters, our chances against the GOP are not as great as we would like to think.
Now, it is awful that our democratic system has come to this, but sadly it has. That is not to say that it cannot be fixed, but we will not be able to fix it until we win this election.