Skip to comments.Five Election Day Lessons for the GOP
Posted on 11/06/2009 6:38:30 AM PST by rebes22
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Despite the best efforts of the White House and much of the media to portray this weeks elections as a meaningless barometer of the publics mood toward the Obama administration, the results were clear. The voters were communicating buyers remorse. One year after reaching its zenith, the Democratic Party is now grappling with what could be the beginning of the end of the Obama era.
In Virginia, former Attorney General Bob McDonnell, a solid pro-family, pro-life conservative, won a landslide victory, as did down-ticket conservative candidates. Repeated Obama visits to his own backyard did nothing to help Democrat Creigh Deeds. The GOP landslide came only a year after Barack Obama became the first Democrat since 1964 to carry Virginia in a presidential contest.
Democrats are suggesting that low voter turnout is to blame. But low turnout is a sign of demoralization and disappointment among the base. Many young people who voted overwhelmingly for Obama have since graduated college and are finding jobs scarce. High unemployment rates prove that no one can find those elusive saved or created jobs outside of an Obama administration news release.
Incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzines loss to Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey was even more of an indictment of the Obama administration. New Jersey is a liberal state that Obama won last year by 15 points and where he staked his reputation for energizing voters. Just consider this pre-election headline from the Associated Press: Obama Says New Jersey Governor Is Key To His Own Agenda.
While encouraging, these GOP victories and deepening voter dissatisfaction with the Democrats agenda dont mean that anything is guaranteed for the GOP. Here are five lessons Republicans should learn from Tuesdays elections.
1) Reaganism still wins -- Thirty years after Reagans ascendance, nobody has improved on his winning formula. Candidates can win almost anywhere by providing enough to satisfy each of the three legs of the Republican stool--foreign policy conservatives, values conservatives and economic conservatives.
Of course a Republican in Cambridge will not always look like a Republican in Nashville. Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie won by emphasizing the economy, taxes and transportation, issues at the forefront of the minds of voters in their states and across America. But no one doubted that they were also pro-life and pro-family. We need to respect the various interests that bring us together, recognizing that each candidates top issue may not be our own.
2) Quit worrying about the megaphones -- There is no need for Republican leaders to be nervous about the influence of conservative media leaders like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Their voices are assets, not liabilities. Any voter who would reject the GOP because of what a talk show host says is a voter the GOP is not going to win over anyway.
My sense is that too many Republican insiders are afraid of being labeled extremists for aligning with the conservative grass roots or for defending core conservative values. But they shouldnt be afraid. In Virginia, Democrat Creigh Deeds dredged up McDonnells old college thesis, which exposed the Republican as -- gasp! -- a cultural conservative. Deeds antics won over few voters and contributed to his demise. Only on MSNBC and university campuses and in a few reader-losing newsrooms do timeless values equal backward thinking.
Given its appointees and policies, the Obama administration and the leftwing base of the Democratic Party are the extremists. The GOP should say so.
3) Be Bold -- All politicians use polling to ascertain the publics mood, but polls should not determine the GOPs message. I was happy to see Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman call for Americans to pour into D.C. this week to rally against Obamacare. But I couldnt help but wonder why Republican Party leaders havent thought of more ways to engage Americans directly. Voting against the Democrats is not enough to sustain the party. People need reasons to vote for Republican alternatives.
4) Dont underestimate the loss of credibility -- The GOP should feel emboldened but get to work. Conservatives are on the rise everywhere and make up the overwhelming majority of Republicans -- 72 percent in a recent Gallup poll.
The problem is, as pollster Scott Rasmussen recently noted, only 56 percent of conservative voters are Republicans, so there are more conservatives than Democrats in America, and there are more Democrats than Republicans. GOP leaders have a lot of work to do to win back disaffected conservatives, including independents. The party has made a good start to win that trust back this year, but they have a lot more work to do.
5) Dont ignore values issues -- The GOP would be on easy street if it could win for its candidates the same share of voters who time and time again reject same-sex marriage. Proposition 8, Californias marriage amendment, passed last November with 52 percent support. John McCain won just 31 percent of California voters on the same day. Maines marriage amendment passed on Tuesday with 53 percent of the vote, which was 10 points more than McCain got in Maine last year. On abortion and life issues, a majority of Americans now call themselves pro life, marking a dramatic shift against abortion over the last year. The Republican should be proud of its social conservatism, not hide from it.
Liberal talking heads are wrong when they claim that conservatives like me do not want the GOP to be a big tent or that we want some kind of intra-party war. Nothing could be further from the truth. The GOP is a party of principles and ideas, and a healthy party talks about how best to implement those ideas. Ideas such as smaller government, strong national defense, and respect for all people at all stages of life are the bedrock of a winning party. Those values won on Tuesday, and with them so did the GOP.
Agree ONE-HUNDRED percent!
Uh...not yet. But we did kick em in the shins.
Gary says that there are 159 trueblood conservatives in the US House. That includes 3 Democrats. I hope that we can find them out so we can support them, along with a few excellent US Senators and begin to build a more conservative party of the future. I have voiced sayings along the line with others that we should get rid of them all, but that is not fair to those working behind the scenes to prevent this trainwreck, and are totally outnumbered, but are doing their best. After all, it is not all their fault we find ourselves in this mess. We have been asleep way too long...and I am one who senses that God has given us an opportunity to return to a more righteous nation and to reverse the course of evil. We cannot take any breaks now, as we have used up any “break-time” in our apathy and slumber. Now we must stay engaged, but that’s not all bad.
May God use men like Gary, Tom Coburn, Jim DeMInt, Michelle Bachmann, and many others who are working tirelessly to keep the left in check. We need to give them our full support and not worry about the discomforts of the task. We need to be ready to sacrifice whatever is needed to do this.
The biggest point of the article. We have to stick together on a candidate; which means we won't all get what we want, but when the most prominent conservative/libertarian candidate is on top, we have to vote for him/her. Economy, Immigration, Tort Reform: Those are my issues. Of course I'm pro-life and want to see less control of the federal government in all of our lives. We really don't need them, we just have to be more responsible for our own lives first, then we will despise strong central government and begin again to be a truly free people. Otherwise, America is headed for total chaos, and nobody who is worth two shakes wants that.
What a ticket that would be. Finally a big win for the conservatives I think.
Look at the author, It is Gary Bauer.
He ran for President. I think he got about .001 percent of the republican vote.
This piece is useless conservative claptrap.
Yes, let's look at Gary Bauer.
Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan's administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan's Chief Domestic Policy Advisor. While serving at the Education Department, Bauer was named Chairman of President Reagan's Special Working Group on the Family. His report, "The Family: Preserving America's Future," was presented to the President in December 1986.
What he presents in this article is Ronald Reagan's "winning formula of the three legs of the Republican stool--foreign policy conservatives, values conservatives and economic conservatives."
Are you suggesting Ronald Reagan was wrong?
Bauer is the very embodiement of far right wing fringe.
Furthermore, how many delegates did he get when he ran for president ? I think is was very close to zero.
Michael Moore would agree with you.
I wouldn't use Bauer's presidential run (clearly he's not a charismatic figure) as evidence to denounce his (and Ronald Reagan's) analysis, perspective and thinking of conservative politics.
By the way, would you consider the following to be "useless conservative claptrap" too? (hint; it's not Gary Bauer):
I am pro-God, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Constitution, pro-Bill of Rights, pro-gun, pro-limited government, pro-private property rights, pro-limited taxes, pro-capitalism, pro-national defense, pro-freedom, and-pro America. I oppose all forms of liberalism, socialism, fascism, pacifism, totalitarianism, anarchism, government enforced atheism, abortionism, feminism, homosexualism, racism, wacko environmentalism, judicial activism, etc.