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.
The GOP-e declaration of war on the conservative wing of the base was a brilliant tactical move—NOT.
The Republicans may hold the House—for all the good it’s done in stopping Obama since 2010—but they will not take the Senate.
Here is an example: No Obamacare if we had the Senate or the House in 2008. Even a GOPe dominated no Ted Cruz Senate would have killed it dead. Deader than a doornail. Same with the House.
It is simply naive to believe that we can have a Tea Party dominated House and Senate in one election cycle. It is not going to happen. We are never going to be happy with every single GOP senator or House member. But it escapes me why the members of this forum are willing to give up on the idea of achieving a majority in both house of Congress because they they think "nothing will change".
Personally I'm willing fight to elect good conservative candidates. That's what we are about here. But sitting home and letting the Dems keep control of the Senate in simply crazy if not childish.
The GOP leadership in the Senate does not want to get rid of Obamacare. They supplied critical procedural votes to keep it going. They then 'voted against' it with meaningless show votes, but they provided the critical cloture votes.
It's naive to ignore the liberal republican complicity in Reid's agenda.
It will take time, but every liberal republican needs to be destroyed. Or the republican party needs to be destroyed.
I am not a republican. I am a conservative, fighting for conservative governance, not for liberal republican governance.
November is a long way off, and our voting system is corrupt.
Logically this leads to GOPe Congressman and Senators being replaced by Democrats. Seems to me that is not a path we would want to follow.
You may object that this is not what you want. You want, as do I, to see real conservative Republicans in those seats. That's fine. We certainly agree there.
But not voting for GOPe types in a General Election helps the Dems way more than it helps us. We get to "send a message" to Washington D.C. The Dems win the seat in Congress. Bad, bad trade.
Fight the good fight in the Primaries. Vote for anyone with an R after their name in the General. It is crazy not to do so.
Think about this. Assume we have a bunch of useless GOPe types in the Senate. They can't be trusted. But we have Ted Cruz as Senate Majority Leader and a 52/48 advantage. I can live with that.
It's that simple.
Having republican majorities has not historically produced conservative governance, so I don't particularly care about liberal republican majorities.
I won't be voting for Cornyn in the general because he provided the critical procedural vote to remove the debt limit. Liberal republicans enable Reid's agenda.
You can say what you want, but you won't convince a lot of conservatives to vote for your liberal republican candidates. That time has passed.
Well, the so called "tea party" had a number of defects - you're correct that they did not call out the banksters and they did not have a comprehensive theory of the modern state.
But their biggest problem was they were honest, loyal, patriotic, open-faced, and incredibly naive.
They were like the zeks in the GULAG, who, while dying murmured with their last breaths, "If only Stalin knew ".
They still believed that our constitution and our representative institutions were working, or could work, if only they realized what the people wanted.
This, of course, is absurd.
They wanted and expected an open door and a listening ear from the Uniparty, and what they got instead was a punch in the face, followed by a coordinated scheme of defamation and demonization. Their neighboring sheep, instead of following like they had started to do, now turned on them and started bleating to the Master to come and chase them away.
One of the best signs in 2010 at the Capitol was, "We came unarmed - this time".
Farewell, tea partiers. The Sons of Liberty are going to have to take it from here.
There aren't ten GOP Senators who would vote for Cruz as majority leader. There probably aren't five.
And in your 52-48 scenario (very, VERY optimistic, IMO), there are more GOP Senators who would vote for Harry Reid than who would vote for Ted Cruz.
And what did the GOP do in ‘94? Used their contract with America like a piece of toilet paper. Thy became bigger spenders than the DNC.
It’s all a lie. Always has been, always shall be. The LAST hope this country truly had was the GOP in ‘94, and they completely let this nation down.
I have yet to be convinced the electorate is all that thirsty
For change. The GOP will likely keep the House and gain a net of three or four vacated Senate seats, but I seriously doubt we’re going to see these wild-eyed predictions of a “tsunami” come to pass.
But ... one last question. With this scenario:
You don't vote for Cornyn.
He loses by one vote.
The Dems retain the Senate majority.
Question: Are you happy camper? Would you change your vote if you could?
The 900 pound gorilla not mentioned is amnesty/immigration. When the house does amnesty the party will die. They will do it this year.
The 900 pound gorilla not mentioned is amnesty/immigration. When the house does amnesty the party will die. They will do it this year.
Answering your question: I would vote for the GOP candidate (so you know where I stand on your argument.
However, I think there’s a bigger deal going on now, and it involves the MSM treatment of President Obama and the Democrat administration generally.
You see, I’ve never bought the “Contract With America” explanation for the 1994 rout of the Democrats. Instead, I blame the MSM, and have since said many times in forums like this that the MSM would never, ever, again repeat the mistake that they made in 1994. That mistake was to publish reasonably honestly the various foibles of the Clinton presidency (pre-Monica). When he grounded all the planes at an airport for an hour to get a several-hundred-dollar haircut on the tarmac by a famous stylist, they reported it. When Hillary tried to fashion Hillarycare behind closed doors, they reported it.
I recall going into that election pinching myself to see if I was really awake, finding it hard to believe that the MSM was letting us see the true Clintons (both of them). And, as a result, I was not surprised to see the extent of the devastation the voters unleashed on the Democrats, though I believe it was mainly being leveled at the Clinton duo, not the legislators. They were, however, the only targets available at that time so they took the fire.
A similar process just might unfold this time around. The MSM is starting to show cracks in their Obama Armor. While the AP scandal should have done it, or the NSA snooping, it’s apparently coming to a head with the VA scandal. If that doesn’t really do it, rest assured, there’ll be at least one or two more scandals by November.
So why fold the MSM tent around Obama now? They have to cleanse themselves of their mistake supporting this clown for so long, and they have to have it over and done with well before 2016 when they will again be foursquare for Hillary (or whoever ends up the eventual Democrat candidate.) If they don’t do that, they know full well that Obama will drag them down along with him and that not a soul will trust their coverage going into 2016. They have to do what they have to do to regain some semblance of credibility. (I know, they’ll never have any, but 40% of the country still listens to them.)
My conclusion: If the MSM folds on Obama, and if it happens over the next few months, we will have another 1994 wave election in November. If that doesn’t happen, I still think there’s a good chance of the Senate going GOP, but a wave will be unlikely.
Agreed. Don’t count you chickens before they hatch. The fox just might decide to have an omlete.
It's naive to ignore the liberal republican complicity in Reid's agenda.
If we fail to recognize these facts then the Republic is doomed.
This could never happen with the GOPe types you elected.
I suggested that Dingy Harry would never have changed the Senate Rules if he though there was a chance they would lose the Senate. I opined that this was because they have Vote Fraud in place to prevent it. Now they have a backup plan, the GOPe will now, if they capture the Senate, reinstate the Senate Rules that Harry changed.
They win either way, and we lose either way.
Yes. Take the win. Obama and Jarrett dread losing the Senate and it seems some Freepers dread winning it. Just bizzare. Remember” RINO” Scott Brown did more damage to Obamacare by preventing it from going into reconciliation then Ted Cruz’s antics ever did.
Not a bad theory. It certainly fits with the current facts re: news coverage. I too sense a change. But my trust of the MSM makes me reluctant to believe that it is going to last through November. But your analysis does make sense. And your view of how the 2014 election will turn out is pretty much on the mark. My Bet: A good shot at the Senate but not a 1994 or 2010 election.
That's probably true. But the argument that replacing these GOPe types with Democrats that will be in place (in the Senate) for at least 6, possibly 12 or 18 years is absolute foolishness. GOPe Senators vote with us at least 70% of the time or so. Dems vote with us about 0%.
RE: And what did the GOP do in 94? Used their contract with America like a piece of toilet paper.
1) We had welfare reform.
2) America had a BUDGET SURPLUS several years in a row at the end of the 1990’s.
3) Capital gains taxes went DOWN.
Just three things off the top of my head.
I agree. Nothing that the RINOs are saying make me want to go out and vote this Fall. No guts, not vote.
“This is a long war. We need small victories along the way or we are doomed to defeat.”
Bush I - No new Taxes
Bush II - No child left behind, Mr. Roberts
In Texas John Wayne McCornyn, he is one of us.
can you elaborate on those small victories?
They delayed Obamacare for a couple of decades.
70% but not on amnesty, after that it won't matter anymore.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.