This weekend the GOP leadership is meeting to elect a new chairman and to help redefine the Republican party. In the last few weeks the GOP seems to be playing the role of the party of opposition for the sake of opposition – electorate mandate be darned.
The strategy they’ve been deploying these first days of the Obama Presidency at times, to this writer, appear sophmoric and petty. The economy is terribly weak. I have seen my own friends lose their jobs. And though world sentiment is shifting again in our favor, the world economy is not. If we are to be competitive in the modern age we must adapt and must do so smartly. Yet Republicans, who are the architects of much of our economic model, are ignoring the results of the November election and seem to be doing just what Jeb Bush said they should – run a shadow government.
In my eyes that should be a treasonous offense. I was appaled at Jeb Bush’s statment in December calling for such a thing. Here is his exact quote as it appeared in his Newsmax interview from late November and reported on Huffington on December 1st: “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tells Newsmax that the GOP must broaden its appeal to avoid becoming “the old white-guy party,” and recommends that Republicans create a “shadow government” to engage Democrats on important issues as the incoming Obama administration seeks to enact its agenda. “
A shadow government….sounds awfully unpatriotic. Certainly undemocratic. Aren’t we a country that follows the folks that won the election?
Maybe the Republicans need a simple and clear summary of why they lost in November, and no folks, it’s not just the economy.
Here is a simplified way of looking at why the Republicans lost from my perspective:
20% – McCain was the candidate – His age worried people about him being able to relate to the modern era and be healthy his entire presidency – this was amplified when he chose Palin as his running mate. His flip flopping turned people away – he was a moderate during the primary, and though he did seem to align himself with Bush, he was often considered bi-partisan. During the election he shed his moderate outer shell and turned into a partisan Republican. I would also argue that his overuse of the phrase “my friends” made him seem less than genuine.
30% – Palin was the running mate – Her unedited, un-doctored interviews with the press where she performed so badly called into question not just her understanding of federal law but her ability to argue a point. Also, her personal life did not match her rhetoric – she pushed the kind of moral agenda made famous by the Republican party without the behavior to always back it up. And more than anything the racism and hatred she seemed to bring out in people at rallies as she called into question Obama’s “associations” – this might have energized a fringe part of the GOP, but it turned off a nation looking for a way forward, not a way back.
50% – Economy – the collapse of the economy during a predominately Republican era did not get lost on folks obviously and was a dominating factor in why the GOP lost. Nor did it get lost on the voting populace that the over-riding theory of economics being practiced for the past thirty years was from a Republican perspective, especially the push for deregulation and the infamous “trickle-down” – a visual that always reminded this writer of, well, yellow snow.
Now you would think that a political party as organized as the Republicans would see this for themselves and choose a new approach to win over new voters. Yet they are using Palin still in the press, pushing their economic model over Obama’s, and putting McCain out in the open again attacking Obama. I’m confused why they think this strategy will work the second time when it’s not even an election season.
If they continue this course of partisan thinking they will fail. Perhaps a new party will emerge from the dust with a new name, but the GOP of old will be nothing more than a shadow.