Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What the Republicans must do

While sitting over some beers, a fellow Republican Josh Griffin said something that brought back some memories,
As I was voting, I thought of P.J. O’Rourke, great writer, who had an interesting observation 20 years ago about the Republican Party. He said it is the party that thinks that government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.
They missed their chance after '06 to bring in the right kind of new leadership. Perhaps they were a little gobsmacked to do the right thing. Too proud to admit they had lost touch. Especially in the Senate - there is no excuse now (though to be honest, Sen. McConnell (R-KY) is alright, I guess).

Who is there to step up? Simple.

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI). Congressman Adam H. Putnam (R-FL). Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA). There are my top three in the House (a little more about Putnam in a bit).

There are a few things out there, that together I think the sum is greater than the whole. As usual, I don't necessarily agree with it all, but I am never 100% correct on anything. I do respect what is said, and who it is said by....and it is all good news, soooooooo REJOICE DEAR HEARTS!

From the 06 NOV IBD,
After the GOP’s second straight electoral drubbing, some top Republicans are now calling for a leadership overhaul. A few are already making their moves.

Reform-minded members like Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., say the current leadership is undermining the party.

“If we were a football team after a second straight season like this, you usually replace the coach, whether he deserves it or not,” Flake said. “You have to present a fresh face. That’s even more important in the world of politics.” So far though, only one leadership member, House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam, R-Fla., has stepped aside.
BTW, that is a shame because Rep. Putnam is one of the best of the Gen X batch out there. He will come back some time in the future – but the fact he stepped aside is one other bit of proof that he “gets it.”

Sen. Coburn (R-OK) gets it as well,
“Republican efforts to build a governing majority through spending and earmarks have ended in disgrace,” Coburn said. “The Republican Party can either restore its identity as the party of limited government or go the way of the Whigs.”
I would also offer that P.J. O’Rourke again (who BTW is one of the foundation reasons I am a Republican and why I like to think of myself of a (l)ibertarian Republican – read Parliment of Whores and Republican Party Reptile if you need refs A and B – in addition to his writing about his trip to the Soviet Union in the ‘80s) is on to something basic as well in We Blew It - you don't have to buy all of his thoughts, just ponder them with your ego in the safe.
Anyway, a low tax rate is not--never mind the rhetoric of every conservative politician--a bedrock principle of conservatism. The principle is fiscal responsibility.

Conservatives should never say to voters, "We can lower your taxes." Conservatives should say to voters, "You can raise spending. You, the electorate, can, if you choose, have an infinite number of elaborate and expensive government programs. But we, the government, will have to pay for those programs. We have three ways to pay.

"We can inflate the currency, destroying your ability to plan for the future, wrecking the nation's culture of thrift and common sense, and giving free rein to scallywags to borrow money for worthless scams and pay it back 10 cents on the dollar.

"We can raise taxes. If the taxes are levied across the board, money will be taken from everyone's pocket, the economy will stagnate, and the poorest and least advantaged will be harmed the most. If the taxes are levied only on the wealthy, money will be taken from wealthy people's pockets, hampering their capacity to make loans and investments, the economy will stagnate, and the poorest and the least advantaged will be harmed the most.

"And we can borrow, building up a massive national debt. This will cause all of the above things to happen plus it will fund Red Chinese nuclear submarines that will be popping up in San Francisco Bay to get some decent Szechwan take-out."

Yes, this would make for longer and less pithy stump speeches. But we'd be showing ourselves to be men and women of principle. It might cost us, short-term. We might get knocked down for not whoring after bioenergy votes in the Iowa caucuses. But at least we wouldn't land on our scruples. And we could get up again with dignity intact, dust ourselves off, and take another punch at the liberal bully-boys who want to snatch the citizenry's freedom and tuck that freedom, like a trophy feather, into the hatbands of their greasy political bowlers.
From TheCampaignSpot - one of the more clearer statements on something more Republicans need to turn their attention to.
Is the GOP Really Turning Into a Regional Party?

If the GOP party is dead in the Northeast, why do Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have Republican governors?

The "they're all squishes" argument doesn't quite fly, as Rhode Island's Don Carcieri is pro-life and tough on illegal immigration. Vermont's Jim Douglas is a tax cutter, supports nuclear power, supports "traditional marriage," and has cut the state's budget in some areas.

And what can Republican congressional candidates learn from these governors who managed to get reelected in Democratic years like 2006 and 2008?
AW1, you're one of my Yankee spies - what say you?

Outside Congress - there is another leadership vacuum out there that needs to be filled. That of the Republican Party Chairmanship. I have seen the mention of Michael Steele mentioned - I liked him in his Senate run that we would have been victorious in any year but '06. I have also seen the mention of Newt. No, not Newt and unquestionably not Duncan.
...Republicans representing diverse views about the party’s direction are preparing to fight for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, a prominent post when the party is out of the White House. The current chairman, Mike Duncan, has signaled that he wants to stay on after his term expires in January, but he is facing challenges from leaders in Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina, among other states.

Mr. Duncan was installed by Mr. Bush, and the fight over his post reflects the effort by many party leaders to erase any remnant of the Bush legacy.

These struggles come as the party prepares for a broad ideological battle, in particular over how much to emphasize social issues like opposition to abortion rights and gay rights. Party leaders said the focus on those issues had constricted the party’s appeal to moderate and independent voters more interested in jobs, health care, education and other issues that touch their lives in more concrete ways.

“We can’t be obsessed with issues that are not the issues that are important to American voters,” said Jim Greer, the Florida Republican chairman and a likely candidate for national party leader.
As for the future, if you strip out Haley Barbour (nothing personal, but stay in Miss.) - I like this line-up; it is a good base to start from.
The session will showcase a roster of governors positioning themselves as leaders or future presidential candidates, including Sarah Palin of Alaska, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Charlie Crist of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.
If this article from the NYT is right, which I believe it is, then there is some good thinking going on.

In my list above of Representatives I like - I may have overlooked someone. Take a look at a Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) bit in the WSJ yesterday. Read it all, as it is a solid, practical, politically informed and clear headed overview.
We cannot simply put up roadblocks to the emboldened Democratic majority. We need to offer an alternative future. Absent reform, our federal government will double in size within a generation. We must change course from this path of stagnation, and we must have leaders willing to provide a path that keeps alive the American ideal and keeps our government limited.

Our party has become too fearful of our own ideas. Since 1997, congressional Republicans began a steady retreat from principled leadership to political expediency. A party built on spending discipline and government reform succumbed to the siren songs of government expansion and earmarked giveaways. Republicans squandered the opportunity to limit and reshape the relationship between the federal government and the individual.

I ran on these bold ideas and innovative solutions in a congressional district carried by Barack Obama -- yet I received 64% of the vote. I challenge my colleagues to rethink political risk taking. Taking on our most serious fiscal challenges will restore relevancy to the Republican Party and will keep alive America's commitment to freedom and prosperity.
All is not lost. As I like to say, the wheel will turn. The Republicans were in for a cleaning. Time to move forward.

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