The Time is Now (Lessons Learned)
I watched in horror last night at my computer screen and my tv screen as Democrats took over both houses of Congress. I watched in horror because great men and strong leaders (for example, Santorum) were defeated and because men who were little more than empty suits (for example, Cardin or Casey) were elected. I watched in horror because conservative states like Montana now have two liberal Senators. I watched in horror because, outside of Lamont losing, we handed the Kos Kiddies everything they asked for and more in this election and in its aftermath.
This makes me upset on so many different levels.
I am upset that the Congressional leadership failed to put together and put forward any sort of comprehensive vision for the future and for what we, as Republicans, stand for.
I am upset that the leadership in the White House, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, failed to articulate anything even closely resembling a plan for the next two years should the GOP retain control of Congress.
I am upset that the White House abandoned its conservative principles and went on vote seeking missions, starting with Medicare and ending with amnesty.
I am upset with the NRCC and the RNC and the NRSC and whatever other abbreviated and bloated organizations Republicans call their own because they could not or did not recruit quality candidates and wasted time, money, effort, and resources attacking one another instead of getting our message out.
I am upset with Karl Rove and his cronies for reasons too numerous to list. Suffice it to say this man must go. Now. I was uncomfortable with him during 2004, even though we won, and I am uncomfortable with him now. I think we would have won even bigger without him in '04 and might have been able to win without him last night.
To boil it all down to one concise thought, I am upset that my Republican leaders chose to play politics instead of being leaders.
That's what it all comes down to. That's the problem with every point I am upset with listed above. And the clearest example of this is Karl Rove.
It's pretty clear now that we didn't get the tax cuts permanently extended or a comprehensive immigration bill passed because Rove wanted to play election year politics with those issues. And the GOP candidates across the country went along with the plan. Almost every campaign commercial I saw from Colorado and my home state of Wyoming featured the GOP candidate saying, "Don't vote Democrat because they will raise your taxes and give amnesty to illegals."
Well, congratulations, Rove, et al. Now we have lost the possibility of making the tax cuts permanent and getting anything close to a conservative solution on immigration. I hope you're proud of yourselves.
But I've never been one for complaining about a problem without proposing a solution. This election, I believe, can be a turning point for us as the Republican Party - if and only if we learn the proper lessons from it.
I went and changed my party affiliation from "independent" to "Republican." This election has shown me what needs to happen in order for us to succeed in the future. (And by succeed, I don't just mean winning elections. I mean governing the country the way a majority of the country wants to be governed - with conservative ideals. Being content with just winning elections is what got us into this mess in the first place.)
This is not a time to abandon the GOP or our President. Nor is it a time to stand beside them in stalwart support. It is a time to demand change in the right direction. It is a time to regroup, reorganize, reprioritize, and make the GOP leaders take a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror of leadership to find out how blurry they've gotten. The time is now, because a loss of the proportions we suffered last night will bring you to your knees where you have two options: first, to hobble up on weak legs and continue stumbling in the same direction you were going - only more slowly and weakly than before and to be beaten by the same traps again, or second, to stay there for awhile seeking guidance and new strength, only getting up eventually to march proudly in a new direction.
We need to remind our President what bold and principled leadership looks like, especially in this trying time when he will be tempted beyond belief to compromise and bend until the GOP breaks to get along with the Democrat controlled Congress.
We need to remind our local and state Republican Parties what bold and principled leadership looks like, especially in this time when they could begin to understand to wrong lessons from last night's election and try to push us even more toward the middle.
We need to remind our elected officials what bold and principled leadership looks like, especially since many of them have never served in the minority capacity in Congress before.
And most of all... most of all, we need to begin working with everyone listed above to recruit the strongest candidates we can for 2008 across the entire country.
I will do this by sending a letter to President Bush to let him know that I do not stand beside him in stalwart support any longer, but I do still stand beside him in hopes that he will discover leadership once again. I will do this by sending a letter to my Republican Representative Barbara Cubin letting her know that even in her own party here in Wyoming nobody likes her and that my vote last night was not for her but against her opponent - and that she will not be receiving my vote in 2008. I will do this by writing a letter to the Wyoming Republican Party and telling them Barbara Cubin is an unacceptable candidate should she choose to run again in two years, and that I look forward to working with them to find a stronger Republican who is more in touch with Wyomign voters. I will do this by writing to a myriad of administration officials and strongly urging them to find their cajones and being articulating and vision casting the strength and mainstream value of conservative ideals.
I will do this by continuing to blog here at RedState, hoping that the thousands of people this reaches will be enough to spark a chain reaction to tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands, and then millions of people across the country.
Because after last night, we are certainly down. But we are not out. We will take this loss as an opportunity to stay down for awhile to rediscover the conservative principles that bind us together as a party. And we will emerge stronger for it in two years... if and only if we all work together to make these changes.
In his freezer.