Skip to comments.There’s No Guarantee of a ‘Wave’ Election: Much work remains until GOP can party like it’s 1994.
Posted on 05/26/2014 6:23:11 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
I dont quite feel it yet. The much-anticipated 2014 Republican landslide, that is.
I can see its possibility on the horizon; I can read the poll numbers; I can watch even the liberal media start to take President Obama to task for the fiasco at the Department of Veterans Affairs. But what I hear from people isnt yet a determination to throw the bums out or an excitement about the possibility of doing so, but instead more of a fear that the bums might find a way to hang on and a wistful hope that those fears are wrong.
Its not really defeatism in the Real America outside of Obamaland, but its certainly not yet a can do spirit, either. People in everyday life are completely fed up with the federal government, but they dont feel empowered to change things. They dont really think the system responds well to the popular will anymore; they think it is rigged in favor of insiders, moneymen, and Obamas legions of politicized bureaucrats.
And most people seem not to be enthusiastic about the idea of Republicans taking charge of the whole of Congress; the GOP isnt a favored option but merely the option that happens to be available to battle the continued abuses of Obamas lackey, Harry Reid. Most people dont trust Republicans to accomplish much other than a rearguard action to stop the worst of Obamas transgressions.
This is quite different from how things felt on this same weekend in 1994, when the so-called Gingrich Revolution was brewing. Less than two weeks after the Democrats romped in the 1992 elections, I had written a memo to my then-boss, Representative Bob Livingston, predicting that Republicans would be seriously competitive in 1994 and could win their first House majority in 40 years. By Memorial Day weekend of 1994, Livingston, responding to tremendous pro-Republican energy at a series of rural town meetings, was flat-out guaranteeing a GOP sweep. More than five months before Election Day, the reformist tide already was swelling noticeably.
So, what is different this time around? Its not that the polls today dont look promising; they do. Its not that the anger at Washington is any less; indeed, its probably even greater now than it was in 1994. Still, I think anybody on the hustings would agree that theres a wariness now, a lack of optimism, and a cynicism about the system itself that didnt exist to anywhere near the same degree 20 years ago.
Back then, too, the right side of the political spectrum was far more unified. Sure, the old establishment was a bit nervous about the Gingrich tactics, but Minority Leader Bob Michel not only didnt stand in the way but actually provided encouragement to the insurgency. Meanwhile Gingrich, Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour, National Republican Congressional Committee chief Bill Paxon, and National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Phil Gramm were largely on the same wavelength and working well together. It was a far cry from the internecine wars of the past several years.
Also, the public had no recent example of bad Republican management of Congress to dissuade it from entrusting the GOP with power. Indeed, despite the elder Bushs failure to win reelection, the glow of the Reagan years remained strong. That Republican glow was enhanced by signal Republican successes in opposition in 1993 and 1994, with young leaders like the Gang of Seven (led by Rick Santorum and, yes, John Boehner) having successfully exposed and helped fix Democratic ethical breaches while Republicans also defeated Hillarycare and warded off the worst of Bill Clintons tax-hike proposals.
No, the Contract with America hadnt even been drafted yet, but the idea of a unified, positive message already had taken hold among Republican candidates. Conference chairman Dick Armey and his politically astute staff led by Kerry Knott and Ed Gillespie (who helped plan the Contract while enjoying the hospitality of conservative leader Morton Blackwell) were handling internal communications quite effectively, helping incumbents sing off the same page.
Revisiting all of this is not just an exercise in nostalgia. Instead, it is part of a warning against overconfidence, along with some lessons of what we still must do if Republicans are going to build on their House majority and retake the Senate.
First, whatever divisions exist, those right of center should keep their eyes on the ball. The political enemies arent RINOs or (for moderates) radical tea partiers; the enemies are the Obamites who threaten, to an extent far greater than Bill Clinton did, to trample the Constitution and our liberties. No primary campaign should scorch the earth so badly that any unified effort is impossible afterward. And no sour grapes should be excused from whichever camp loses each race. If Bob Michel and Newt Gingrich could work in tandem, so can and should all right-leaners this fall. (Relatedly, proposals utterly and bitterly divisive on the right, such as immigration reform, should not, not, not be pursued.)
Second, candidates must find positive messages, just as the purveyors of the Contract did back in 1994. Dont just blast the VA scandal; push the idea of veterans health cards usable at private facilities just like a Medicare card is. Dont just gripe about Obamacare; pick one or two of the most easily explainable parts of the Scalise bill or the Burr-Coburn-Hatch plan (or another conservative health reform) and run with it.
Third, emphasize ethics. Just as Santorum and Boehner did in the early 1990s (and as the first part of the Contract highlighted), conservatives should understand that the public thinks the very process is broken, and voters want evidence that elected officials will formally limit their own ability to game the system.
Finally, dont be frightened of taking bold stands. (Repeat: bold not reckless.) The American public is fed up with business as usual. It wants significant change, without rancor but still with energy and firmness.
Conservatives cannot be overconfident that public disgust with Obama will lead to victories on the right. As 6 million expected voters proved in 2012, Republican leaners can easily choose just to stay home and avoid the poll lines. Indeed, they might be far more inclined to do so than they were in 1994 because, unlike 20 years ago, they also have a bad taste in their mouths from Republican excesses and failures.
Conservatives must offer them something sweet, something hopeful, in order to take away that taste and sell the Rights recipe.
Quin Hillyer is a contributing editor for National Review.
My dream: That a Republican controlled House would impeach Obama and his entire band of criminals. And then a Republican controlled Senate would convict them.
My reality: A bunch of mealy-mouthed politicians will be elected to duplicate the ones already in office.
Why even bother?
Good artcle. I think Hilyer has accurately summed up the current psyche of the republican base. I have zero faith in the GOP.
If the current GOPe is who I have to vote for I won't vote.
Another lecture to conservatives to "unite" behind the GOP-e. Imagine how desperate they'll sound by September or October.
We now know just how corrupt and incompetent Republicans really are. Democrat Lite for lack of a better term.
No, I really expect them to fritter away their best and maybe last chance to change the direction this country is heading in, But then again, many in the GOP are happy with the way things are going.
If McConnell and Boehner are leaders of a GOP majority NOTHING will change.
I live in TX and I will NOT vote for Cornyn. If I lived in KY, I would NOT vote for McConnell.... in MS I would NOT vote for Cochran...in SC I would NOT vote for Graham. Having said that, I have this lingering memory that it was my anger, which caused me to be one who voted for Perot to punish George H. W. Bush, that gave us the Clintons for life. And, I have to reevaluate: Is my “revenge” worth no two years of Obama and Reid to further trample on the Constitution and turn this nation into The United Socialist States of America? The jury is still out on that at this point in time.
Is this even a serious thought? There will be no landslide for either Party. America is polarized, pretty much equally, like it’s never been.
I tire of both side’s propaganda.
Frankly, the GOP has not been very inspiring. The few who ARE inspiring (Ted, for instance) are often denigrated by party leaders.
Attacking its own grassroots must seemed like a good idea to the GOPe at the time, but now its 'lets-pull-together-what-do-you-want-to-do-elect-democrats' time and the base ain't feelin' it.
You and I appear to be in the minority here.
Read posts 1 to 13 in this thread and you will see exactly the reason the author is unsure of the 2014 election. You will see that many Freepers, perhaps even a majority of Freepers, prefer the feeling of going to sleep at night "knowing they did the right thing" by not voting for some GOPe candidate. They ignore the fact that voting for that liberal Republican might just give us control of the Senate or expand the GOP majority in the House.
Personally, I prefer control of the Senate and a larger House majority. I can sleep with that. This is a long war. We need small victories along the way or we are doomed to defeat.
If the Republicans do win in a landslide election, you’ll have to give a lot of credit to comrade obama and the democrats for making it happen.
Perot was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, he was not a leader.
The European Parliament elections, now concluded, have but one important lesson for us over here, and it is this: Until the Uniparty is named and called out, so that the people can at last recognize what it is, nothing good can come of elections.
Would I vote for McConnell, or Cornyn, or even Graham? I suppose I would. Harry Reid is an active agent of subversion, and six years is a long time. When a RINO goes down because conservatives stay out, the replacement is not usually a normal Democrat but a radical communist.
This is because, in a state like Kentucky or South Carolina, the conservative bloc is large - 40% or so. The second-largest bloc are RINOs, and the third largest bloc is the communists (and racial socialists).
There are no moderate Democrats. Their party has learned how to win statewide elections with 30% of the voters, but turning the RINOs against the conservatives.
We are not a majority, but we stand a very strong chance in winner-take-all, first past the post elections - AS LONG AS WE ARE IDENTIFIED AS WHAT WE ARE.
This is what Nigel Farage, Marine LePen, and Morten Messerschmidt are teaching us.
The long term, strategic goal is conservative governance. You can't do that with a bunch of liberal republicans.
Neuter corporate America from politics and the Tea Party has a chance. Ignoring the TP movement till it was no longer possible and then demonization started with Wall Street bankers. TP said the no no word, small gov means no corporate welfare. Crux of TP revolt was the Wall Street bank bailout. Corporate America envision the US to be a multinational door mat where her people will be harvest for talents and resources, but thrown away like condoms as soon as a foreign lower cost one can be established even if it means helping Communist China and Russia. Good news is all that has cooled because China and Russia wants to use an alternative currency to the US dollar in all future trades. US bankers don’t like that so the good news is jobs going to China will slowdown and China will slowly be morfed into a US mortal enemy. This means China will not be available as the cheap alternative workforce, that is why the US corporations are pushing hard for immigration reform. They do not want the low skill Mexicans, but the high tech H-1B tech coolies. In order to make this happen politically they have to form an alliance with the pro Mexican immigrant Dems. GOP-e are too interested in securing a cushy job in case they retire from gov or not reelected they will do what corporate America wants. Typical politician, do the wrong thing for money and leave someone else (future gen) holding the bag. You think these GOP turn coats think about how they can make it easier for future GOP candidates win. Fat chance, just like typical CEO’s pump, sell and leave everyone else left in the corporation holding the bag when the scheme collapses.
Problem with the TP is they set their sights on one of the two targets (big gov and big business). Attacking one and ignoring the second was a fatal flaw. It meant the target bypassed attacked the movement from the flanks and rear. Who do you think helped the RINO and GOP-e, big business. Good news is the TP survived despite the full brunt of corporate money. It needs a leader, ane IMHO they will eventually find one. Right now it is a massive energetic blob.