Two paragraphs from the Wall Street Journal this morning serve as a good short glance in the rear view mirror. The view through the windshield is what I’ll be summarizing over the next several days and weeks. It’ll be easy to write about the path ahead because I’ve been doing so for years. Yesterday merely confirmed that I’ve been right all along.
First, from the WSJ:
“As for the Republicans, the lesson of their defeat is the most fundamental in politics. When the party in power fails to deliver either peace or prosperity, voters typically send it packing. In 2006, the GOP lost Congress due to the chaos in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and corruption. The surge championed by Mr. McCain in 2007 has helped to calm Iraq, but Afghanistan has since deteriorated. And ironically the very success of the surge — and the lack of any attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 — made national security less of an issue this year.
Nonetheless, as recently as early September, Mr. McCain was within the margin of polling error nationally and ahead in many swing states. Then the financial panic escalated into a near-meltdown and Americans began to fear for their prosperity. Public support for Republicans fell across the board. Their lack of political and policy coherence made things worse, with President Bush supporting an unavoidable taxpayer rescue. But House Republicans decried it as a ‘bailout’ and helped to kill its first version even as Mr. McCain made a show of “suspending” his campaign to broker a deal. Mr. Obama stayed cool above the fray.”
Read the entire editorial here.
For most of this decade I have been complaining about the failure of Republican candidates to outline a strong vision during their campaign. I quoted over and over again the line from Morton Frisch and Richard Stevens in their book, “American Political Thought: The Philosophic Dimension of American Statesmanship,” that big policy challenges requires leadership that is able to—”…take the whole nation to school.”
I have also been firing off warning flares about Republican elected officials’ failure to hire good staff and to modernize their approach to their jobs so as to reach more people and win public support for and then enact needed reforms.
I’ve been outlining how our side will lose if it doesn’t get serious and engage on all fronts. The article we linked overnight by Clifford May yesterday opens with a paragraph that sounds like something I would’ve written:
“Who says you can’t have it all? The Democrats—the Left—now have the White House, control of both houses of Congress, a majority of governors’ mansions, a majority of state legislatures, the entertainment media, the elite news media, the unions, the educational establishment, the lion’s share of the philanthropic community, and increasing power over the courts.”
And now we reap the whirlwind. The next four years will be terribly difficult unless President Barack Obama governs from the center. With the liberal Congress and rabid interest groups at his back it’s difficult to see how he would “change” himself and become someone he’s never been before: a moderate.
What has changed is that Barack Obama is no longer unaccomplished. He has won the presidency and will have the power to move the country in the wrong direction in economic, social, and foreign policy.
For all those Republican “experts” out there who have held office or enjoyed other forms of power or influence for years, I think the jury has rendered a verdict on your tenure. For the establishment and other failed players who don’t do the honorable thing and find the exit door, it will be up to rank and file Republicans to push them out. It’s time for a new generation of leaders in the Republican Party.
For those people who have been on the sidelines and considering stepping onto the playing field, the time has never been better. We’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of political impediments to clear away. Most of those impediments come in the form of long-running political careers.
As for our Party and elected Republican leadership (some of whom won reelection yesterday), no one is interested in listening to your excuses. You failed completely. My proof? President Barack Obama.