My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


What Now For Republicans, part III 

I've mentioned that Republicans need to turn their attention to their rhetorical skills and to creating alternatives to the "professional journalist" classes to get their message out.

Of course, all of that is pretty meaningless if they actually have nothing to say. And that, I think, is REALLY the big problem.

Can anybody out there name ONE, important piece of legislation the entire Republican caucus (allowing for a few stragglers) was in favor of before we lost control of, well, everything? I can't.

Immigration reform? Nah--Bush and McCain tried to force that one through with the help of Ted Kennedy. What a fiasco.

Health Care? Nah--come to think of it, with the exception of Mitt Romney, I don't think I've heard a health care proposal until McCain had to come up with one for his campaign.

Education? Nah--No Child Left Behind has been effectively reduced to a punching bag, and I haven't heard anything else really new since charter schools and testing became the norms ten/fifteen years ago.

Energy? Ah, I think we had a concrete idea here, but even the Presidential candidate this year couldn't land on a coherent plan (in what way does it make any sense to drill offshore but not in ANWAR?), so I don't think it can be said that Republicans really put out a good idea for America. And, to be honest, I don't think they tried to make this an issue until after we were in the minority, anyway, so . . .

The Economy? Um . . . I don't even know what to say here. I was pretty proud of the House Republicans when they turned away the $700 bil bailout, but then they caved right after a whole bunch of goodies got added to it, so it really didn't leave us a very good argument. And, prior to that, we spent and talked like Democrats, without a good idea since the 2003 tax cuts. Why wasn't a Republican committee chair screaming from the highest mountain for better regulation of the housing sector four years ago? I mean, if John McCain can send a letter, surely somebody can actually look at the big picture and say "hey, maybe all these unsecured loans to people who don't really qualify might come back to bite us in the butt."

In many ways, Republicans became the victims of their own success, and of George W. Bush's boldness. W failed to learn the lesson of his father--a bold military move has only two electoral results, and both of them are bad: failure gets you blamed for incompetence and foolishness, and success takes away the good issue. In 2006, there was still a debate to be had about the War in Iraq, but the White House's seeming cluelessness about it made it a no-winner; and this year the success of the Surge turned the issue into a second-tier issue.

By the way, let me make it clear that I still think the War was a good idea. Seven years, no civilian attacks--the record speaks for itself. However, I also think it's easy to see that it did not go the way everybody was hoping and predicting it would go, so the party that led the march pays the price.

Climate change? Here's what cracks me up: WHY oh WHY has not a single important Republican gone in front of a microphone and brought up all the real, scientific arguments against climate change. At the very least, a Republican "leader" ought to mention that the irregularities in the data collecting and the inaccuracies of past predictions should be driving Americans into a very serious debate about the issue, rather than simply cowering to the press narrative and giving in on the issue. Of course, it doesn't help when our Presidential candidate takes the condescending route and the only real "Big Idea" guy out there has opted not to engage the actual issue, but instead propose an alternative solution to the phantom issue. But, again, one way or the other, our Leaders have refused to constructively engage.

Even Karl Rove, the "Mastermind," was mostly famous for winning elections--NOT driving a legislative agenda.

So, on an entire host--arguably, THE entire host--of important issues, Republicans have built a record of having no ideas.

Eloquence and friendly media can't solve that problem.

Tomorrow, I will begin to work in that direction.

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