Election Analysis: The Center Abandoned Republicans

Independents and moderates were the king makers

By Adam C Posted in Comments (109) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

After reading a lot of post-mortems and looking into all the data I have available, here is my analysis of the election results with significant referencing to Michael Barone:

1. Republican turnout did not falter significantly. The partisan makeup was 38D/36R compared to 2004 when it was 37D/37R. The overall vote in the House was 53D-45R. The shift in results from 2004 where President Bush won 51-48 came from independents and moderate Republicans who voted for Bush switching to vote Democratic in 2006. Together with other data, it seems this is mainly because the Republican Brand has been damaged. The excessive spending, pork-barreling, corrupt politicians, and a misreading of where to spend political capital made many moderates (and conservatives) think that Republican leadership was out of touch.

2. Outside of the South, Republicans lost ground almost everywhere. The South held solid even if there is discontent. But the economic populism of Democratic candidates won many seats in the old rust belt and up-state NY. The populist midwest and libertarian west are trending away from Republicans. The South is much larger than the Northeast as far as a base goes, but it is not large enough to win elections on its own. Republican will need to find successful tactics for the west and midwest to regain a majority.

3. Swing groups took a swing against Republicans. Let's compare the full house exit poll numbers for certain constituencies in 2004 and 2006: Hispanic support of Ds went from +11 to +39. Indepedents support for Ds went from +3 to +18. Catholics went from not supporting Ds -1 to supporting Ds +11. And those who report "no religion" went from supporting Ds by +34 to +51 (although these are not generally a "swing group").

Analysis of these trends lead me to one conclusion: the Republicans must return to policies that unite conservative and moderates as Reagan did and the 1994 Revolution did. These are usually good governance, small government efforts that win over people who are suspect about the intentions of government. Republican leadership can show a commitment to those ideals by selecting Pence/Shadegg to leadership and by coming out with a bold reform agenda addressing the Congressional side of lobbying/K Street issues. Instead of attacking lobbyists, Republicans should be attacking Congressmen and limit their abilities to distribute money in shadowy earmarks. Republicans lost the mantle of good governance and they must win it back to win over centrist voters.

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Election Analysis: The Center Abandoned Republicans 109 Comments (0 topical, 109 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

It's the same argument that the left netroots have been fighting and was loudly expressed in Markos' book -- the way to gain moderate votes is not to water down your message, but to strengthen it and be proud of it.

The post lacked profanity, reflexive demonization of one's political opponents and a callous disregard of any ethnic minority not registered to vote in the United States of America.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

Just be glad I didn't make you guys call this site BlueState for a day.

Hey, where are the election pool results, anyway?

Unapologetically, might I add. Although I suppose that I'll have to find a better name for the practice, at least for the next two years...

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

So it looks like I won that one -- no one else had the Dems taking five Senate seats, let alone the six I predicted (though I had Ford instead of Webb), nor that level of House flippage -- but I remember another, more detailed one, from at least a month pre-election as well.

I'm going to win the Predict06 pool once everything shakes out. I'm John W over there. I think enough of the GOPers are ahead in the uncalled races (Wilson, Schmidt, Cubin, and Reichert) where I picked them that I'll leap over the few people ahead of me.

Not that it counts for anything.

Plus I randomly got quoted on Hotline's Blogmeter thing. Big Tuesday.

I didn't do that, because it took too long. There was one right here too.

I changed on Talent and Allen in between two weeks out and election day apparently because I picked them to win here in the thing Moe linked to and lose over at the other place. Stayed about even on my thinking on the house, ended up being a little low, despite the fact that only one Republican seat was lost in Ohio. I'm still confused how we could lose four seats in PA, three in NY and Indiana, and only one in Ohio, but I guess that's neither here nor there.

I've been checking in on Predict06, but to be frank there would be a fair amount of work involved in scoring the July pool and it just is not worth my time to see who salvaged the most deck chairs off the Titanic.

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

. . . if no one picked more Dem pickups than me, I win, and the rest is trivia. :)

Is there a breakdown of independents in terms of liberal leaning, conservative and centrist. My understanding id that Rove underestimated how badly corruption was going to hurt us in this last election. We didn't lose it as a referendum on Iraq-we lost on corrupt politicians-but the book that was widely circulated which had claims of the Bush administration laughing at the religous right on top of Ted Haggard certainly could not have motivated our base. We didn't necessarily lose on the social issues since most of our losses came against supposedly conservative Democrats who are going to provide Nelson-like support for a socially conservative agenda-I think where we lose is one thing on top of the other domestically-but more importantly how do you excite the base with someone like Guiliani and McCain who don't excite the Christian Right and may simply continue to stay home if the GOP refuses to deliver.

"Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on American homeland in our history, the Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction, and endless second-guessing. The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut-and-run."-Geor

The christian right, didn't stay home. moderate repubs and independents did, or else switched their vote.

Whoever emerges will have time to woo those voters with promises. The most important thing in my view is that the leading voices in the party be and sound Fiscally conservative, because right now that is where we have the biggest credibility gap.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

The only reason I went out and held my nose for Allen was because Webb was so far wrong on the war on terror that I had to keep him out. That was the only reason.

I wonder how many moderates, small-l libertarians, members of the business community, and Hispanics that pulled the level for the GOP couldn't swallow their dislike for the actions of the House GOP for the past two years.

Now, they need to be won back, and by picking Mel Martinez, I think that Bush and Rove are going to try to do that. Conservatives, particularly the social conservatives, promised more than they could deliver. As a result, the GOP got thumped in the midterms.

Conservatives, particularly the social conservatives, promised more than they could deliver. As a result, the GOP got thumped in the midterms.

Your analysis befuddles. I don't think the social conservatives promised anything, and they felt betrayed as much as the economic and liberty conservatives did.

But enough of the infighting. Let's work on advancing our common cause by highlighting the areas on which we all mostly agree, such as judges and taxes, and the areas on which we can come to solid agreement, such as national security, federalism, and that we're better than the alternative. Yes, that last one is an example of my world-renowned wry humor.

Evil men hide from the truth, but good men stand upon it.

is to the GOP what the Civil Rights Left is to the Democrats: a group whose general principles everyone agrees with (or pretends to) but whose specific policy proposals are serious turn-offs for large swaths of the electorate. Few people will publicly pronounce themselves in favor or either bigotry and injustice or immorality and vice. But when you start trying to define the exact nature of the injustices or the vice an propose that government should this or that about it then you're going to lose poeple-- and not just in small numbers. Hwence the Dems lost a lot of, well, white voters with busing, affirmative action, soft on crime policies, and wasteful welfare programs fraught with unintended consequences. Too, the GOP can lose a lot of people if it pushes abortion bans like the defeated one in SD, smiles on ferocious and ignorant gay-bashing talk, pushes unscientific sloganeering in the schools, or starts demonizing non-religious people. My advise: pick the low hanging fruit (like gay marriage bans), talk the good talk (without naming anyone an enemy), but steer clear of things that will cost more votes than they gain you.

we could just be getting tired of being bashed in posts like this one and deciding it is easier to stay home and trust in God.

Sure, the Christian Right base may not be excited by a Giuliani, but what about the libertarian base? Libertarians mostly in the West, are clearly not excited by the GOP. Even Giuliani would be barely acceptable to libertarians. The Republican Party already makes a major effort for the Christian Right. More important at this point to worry about libertarian voters.

I'd suggest a Republican Presidential candidacy by former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, maybe Jesse Ventura, Clint Eastwood, Dennis Miller or someone with major appeal to libertarians.

A boring mundane Sam Brownbeck type who appeals to the Christian right would do one of two things; put libertarians to sleep or just chase them away.

Eric Dondero

You aren't counting somebody like Jesse among your ranks. He cannot stand libertarians. He became very bitter towards them as he ran (and won) on libertarian issues in a 3-way race, then went back on his promises and appointed a bunch of liberal Democrats to run his administration. Then the libertarian types dared to call him on it. If you asked him if he were any kind of libertarian now, he wouldn't mince words about telling you he is absolutely not.
"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it." -- Thomas Jefferson

and they are going to prove the indies right by re-electing the same people as Congressional leaders. If we want to get the indies and moderates back, first we need to change the leadership of the party.

I think your analysis is largely correct Adam. The problem is how to find the right blend of policy and "brand" to manage the coalition. Some conservatives seem to think simply following the policies they advocate will result in winning. Libertarians and social conservatives both seem to believe that their ideas are popular enough to win elections if politicians would just have the guts to stand for something. Well, President Bush has certainly stuck to his guns on a number of issues (the war, immigration, tax cuts, education, etc.)but that hasn't made him popular.

What makes it complicated is that "moderates" and "centrists" are different across the country and even within regions. Some moderates dislike overly-zealous conservatism both economic and social. Others tend toward cultural conservatism but have a strong tendency towards economic populism (minimum wage, more school funding, etc.) Establishment Republicans and grass roots conservatives seem to be at each other's throats these days but both blocks are needed in many states to win elections.

Yes, small but effective government is something that can unify the GOP but agreement on individual policies are much more difficult. I also think it is significant that many economic conservatives are supply siders but the public at large is much more prone to economic populism and even protectionism. Economic libertarianism seems very rare in the public at large from my perspective but are populaar online.

Yes, we need to rededicate ourselves to our principles but we also need leaders who can effectively communicate why these ideas are best for all Americans. We also need better candidates and campaigns so that we strategically re-build a regionally diverse majority. Good policy isn't always universally popular.

I will quite rambling now, but I guess what I am saying is that we don't simply need an ideological rededication we need a strategic re-assessment.

Kevin Holtsberry

what is the center in the south isn't the center in New England or in the West.

Also, I think one problem the GOP seems to be hitting is the tension between social conservatives and libertarian type fiscal conservatives (I say this, because social conservatism and fiscal conservatism aren't mutually exclusive). I have read a lot of posts from the more libertarian wing of the party with regards to getting rid of the religious right (although in general I am not real sure "who" the religious people are who need to be gotten rid of).

I don't think the libertarian fiscal cosnervatives are the problem, it is the social liberals and fiscal liberials that are the problem-these two in combination may make a center person in New England, but in the South, they aren't going to cut it as GOP candidates-and they also cause problems for the GOP, because I think one problem at least with regards to judges, medicare programs and similar, they often act against the principals the GOP is supposed to stand for.

Also, I do think you run into the social conservative that likes populist ideas, I have seen this a lot among the various mainline churches and Catholics-and I am willing to bet that with the corruption scandals, these voters weren't comfortable with the GOP, and didn't see the GOP doing much positive.

Yes, there are many libertarians who are crying for the purge of the social conservatives in the GOP. As the very guy who founded the Republican Liberty Caucus, the GOP's libertarian wing, I can tell you this is totally off-base.

We need a strong coalition of the libertarian wing and the social conservatives.

Problem is, for too long the GOP leadership has been pandering only to social conservatives. Witness Bill Frist's late night passage of the internet gaming ban, which royally pissed off libertarians.

Social conservatives don't need to be purged from the GOP. But they do need to take a back seat. It's time the Party's libertarian wing take over the driver's seat to lead us to victories.

Look at who won in the election, and who lost? Libertarian-leaning Gubernatorial candidates like Sarah Palin in Alaska, Butch Otter in Idaho, and Charlie Crist in Florida won handidly. Doesn't that say something?

Eric Dondero

What does taking a backseat entail with regards to the judiciary? I hope it doesn't mean embracing mistakes like O'Connor. The goal of ending judicial activism and attaining a genuine conservative/originalist majority on the Sup Court should unite all non-leftists.

If one really wants the hot-button, contentious social issues to fade away from the national spotlight, and from playing such a decisive role in Presidential/federal politics, then they should support conservative judges (or some other manner of thwarting judicial activism/supremacy...but I think we know that is not going to happen). Then it would be easier to Democrats to appeal to red state voters, and for Republicans to appeal to blue state voters.

I'm welcome as long as I stay in the back of the bus and always keep my eyes on the pavement when passing a libertarian who is better able to lead the unthinking masses.

Sorry, go back to voting for your less than 3% candidates. And no, I didn't think the Internet gambling move was smart either. To me, that smacked of moderate jiggery in an attempt to appease the poor unthinking masses as well.

I think the problem is that Republicans are advocating SOLVING issues at the Federal level, which makes it more difficult to accommodate for regional differences. This national, one size fits all view plays into the Democrats hands, and makes the two parties much too similar at first glance.

On the other hand, if we returned to the small government party of the past, there would be less regional friction, and Republicans could then be more liberal in the Northeast, more moderate in the Midwest, more Libertarian in the West and more conservative in the South. There would be a clear difference between the parties.

The problem is the current leadership seems to want to nationalize solutions to problems, so the Republicans in the Northeast have to explain to their more liberal constiuancies why they are in a party that is pro-life. If the part made it the goal to strike down Roe v Wade and return the issues to the states instead of making abortion illegal on a Federal level, it would be an easier sell.

Further, reducing the size of government hurts the Democrats, as it takes away their nanny state strategy of getting more people reliant on the Federal government.

People in California do not want Georgians to set their values, just like people in Georgia do not want Californians to set theirs. If Republicans want to revitalize the party, solve the growing Northeast and Midwest problem and perhaps be competitive in states like California again, moving a lot of the agenda to the states is the way to go. The rallying focal point for the Republicans as a whole would then be smaller Federal government.

Thank you for this post. It is music to my ears. In 1994 the Republican Party won the control of Congress because it assebled the "Leave Me Alone" coalition. The GOP ran on a platform of getting the government off people's back. I don't recall any social issues in the Contract with America. Whether we like it or not many moderates and independents in the Northeast and West believe that the GOP wants to use government to impose the evangelical values on the rest of the country.

I don't recall any social issues in the Contract with America.

I wouldn't have been able to say what was in the Contrat with America before looking it up but I confess I suspected that you were wrong on this, so I looked it up here.

Sure enough, about the only thing I could find that seemed to be even close to addressing a purely "social" issue was "Discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers"; but that is arguably motivated much more by the principle of personal responsibility and a desire to discontinue forcing Americans from funding the "mistakes" of other citizens as opposed to a sort of morality-based rationale.

I guess this is enlightening in the sense that I hadn't realized just how much I've come to associate issues like gay marriage, regulation of sodomy, regulation of consensual (i.e. non-child) porn, regulation of gambling, the drug war, and so on with the (R) platform. Clearly these kinds of things were not the focus of the 1994 group, though my gut reaction was to assume they must have been.

There are two occasions when the GOP wins big.

1) Our campaign is all about getting the government off your back (1980, 1994).

2) We're willing to beat the bad guys and the Democrats aren't (2002, 2004).

If we get back to that combo in 2008, we'll win.

Rudy for President: Four years of low taxes, balanced budgets, conservative judges, and dead terrorists.

As the visibility of the social conservative rose, the suburbs in the Northeast started moving away from the GOP. 9/11 slowed the erosion for a couple of years but the trend is back. This time the GOP lost seats in the suburbs by small margins. Next election they will lose by bigger margins unless they get back to "get the government off our back".

The real issue with the Sodomy case was that the Courts, once again, stuck their noses where it didn't belong. As Justice Thomas said, such laws should probably be repealed, but that is a decision for the people and their elected representatives, not a few judges through some warped interpretation of the Constitution.

...because its not true. The only side imposing values is the Left through judicial activism. I mean, which is the true imposition of values; 60-80% of voters deciding to ban gay marriage, or a handful of judges imposing it?

There would not be a Culture War as we know it if not for the judiciary and its outrageous usurpations of power. It would be nice if libertarian-leaning Republicans would at least get it right about who to blame for the state of affairs. Even if they don't agree with social conservatives, they should at least be able to recognize that it was a fight that social conservatives did not want, and did not start. The real problem for many, it seems, is that they just can't stand it when social conservatives dare to fight back. Of course the media will falsely characterize this retaliation as aggression; that is why so many in the suburbs buy into the slander and libel of social conservatives. Discerning libertarians, however, should know better.

Unless judicial supremacy is successfully challenged in some other way, then we cannot go back to letting things be settled by the states unless there is a genuine conservative/restrained/strict constrictionist/originalist majority on the Sup Court.

It would be much easier for the national party leaders to resist Christian conservative calls for federal legislation (and by that I mean laws setting policy for the states, not those setting policy for the federal govt) if they were able to push them towards state efforts. And I even heard the leader of the Southern Baptist Convention (it was a few yrs ago, so I don't know if its the current leader) say that he'd be fine with a state by state battle. So it probably would not be too dificult to convince Evangelicals to focus their endeavors on the state level.

As it is now, the only side imposing values is the Left, through their activist judicial allies. There is much more imposing of values being done by states like Calif and Mass on those like Georgia and Idaho than the other way around.

which I find appalling. I'd take any result if I knew participation was higher.


Fifteen House races were decided by a total of just over 30,000 votes, combined.

Two Senate races were decided by about 10,000 votes, combined.

In other words, a shift of 50,000 votes the other way and we'd still have both House and Senate. This was not the decisive repudiation of the GOP which so many are making it out to be. We live in a 50/50 nation where a tiny shift in numbers can have a dramatic impact.

The biggest factor weighing on us was unremarked on by Adam - the war. If Bush had shown the same willingness to change in September as he did on November 8th, the results on November 7th would likely have been different.

You are absolutely right in your assessment of the numbers, but with all due respect, so what? That was the same argument advanced by many of my co-partymembers in 2000, which amounted to nothing more than a large pile of hanging chads and very sour grapes.

The devil take order now! I'll to the throng:
Let life be short; else shame will be too long.

So, we should not do what you guys did and descend into madness, purges and pogroms. We should not (and are not) insist that we really won, but that victory was stolen from us and that we won't accept the election results. I'd rather we did not take instruction on this matter from the Democratic party.

With the above mentioned lack of discussion regarding Iraq. Always enjoy reading your work Adam.

The question for team red, in my humble opinion, is how do you reacquire the center when not only have you lost a decent number of your centrist members, but you (or at least Redstate) seems to be advocating a return to a purer form of conservatism without the centrist "RINO" baggage. Is it the same message as Kos, that this should be a fight of clearly defined ideological parties? Ironically, this may empower moderates more than the big tent doctrines of the past, given the close partisan divide we seem to have. Where does Joe Lieberman or Arlen Specter have more power, a 51-49 Senate or a 60-40 one? Depends on how well congressional leadership can manage their thin majorities. Y'all were pretty good, whereas the modern Democratic party tends to have a little more difficulty with hierarchy.

My take on the election, in a nutshell, is thank God for the return of more moderate Dems. Being a passionate moderate is something of an oxymoron, but hey, I've been called worse. I just wish we didn't have to bag some of your moderates to get there...but I'll take it!

The devil take order now! I'll to the throng:
Let life be short; else shame will be too long.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

I don't think Iraq played too much of a direct role in the election results. There was unease about the war but if there had not been scandals and a strong anti-Washington feeling, I do not think the House or Senate would have flipped. I have not found any evidence that normally Republican voters voted Democrat because of the war. I have seen evidence that small government libertarian leaning Republican (including Neil Boortz) did not vote Republican in this election.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

Giuliani and McCain come out winners if you're looking at it from the perspective of the independent voter. I wouldn't count Romney out either.

Now, the question is who will provide a fresh outside-the-Beltway perspective and who is most acceptable to conservatives?

In the original post, your subhead says "Independents and moderates were the king makers". However, in your analysis, you say, "the Republicans must return to policies that unite conservative and moderates."

There is quite a bit of discontent between conservatives and moderates. Conservatives blame moderates for big government spending and liberal social policies while moderates blame conservatives for being "too conservative" and even right-wing religious nuts.

If we move back to Reagan/Gingrich conservatism (which I support 100%), won't we be abandoning the moderates?

Steve Lockridge

-- Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong. -- Ronald Reagan

I just read the first comment by acbonin. That makes perfect sense. Actually, it is something that I have championed. I was just missing something in the analysis.

Got it. Conservatism, full speed ahead!

Steve Lockridge

-- Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong. -- Ronald Reagan

We on the right thought they were designed to turn off the strong conservatives. They were not. The Foley 'scandal' was designed to make the moderates say, "yech!". The Plame scam was designed to make moderates doubt Bush's word. The drumbeat of 'no WMDs!' was designed to make the moderate forget the real reasons we are at war.
The real failure was that from the top down we did not stay focused on the message and the mission. Instead of winning the friggin' war, we got caught in an indefinite mission of naiotn building, which meant we could not kill sadr, flatten Fallujah, and shut down the borders and send messages to iran they could understand. We allowed ourselves to turn a perfectly good mission of kicking terrorist rear into a Vietnam v2.0, which Bush promised to never do.

So are we to treat them as gospel now? Are we assuming they are vastly more accurate in the details than the 2004 exit polls were even on outcomes? I don't have nearly enough confidence in them to take treat them as if they had any kind of factual basis.

It seems to me they were only doing them in a few states with competitive Senate races as well (they didn't even bother with competitive House races), so extrapolating from that data for lessons to apply to the entire US might not be such a good idea even for that reason alone.
"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it." -- Thomas Jefferson

First, I trusted the final exit poll data in 2000 and I do now. The leaked early results were wrong but there are ways to fix that and that is the data everyone is relying on.

Second, I did not use the Senate numbers for the reason you stated. And I did not compare how the President did to the House because there could be differences. I compared the house results from 2004 to 2006 to try to keep it as close to apples to apples as possible.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

I have been following this off and on, but I remember someone on Fox (Fred Barnes) saying that even after 'correcting the models' of 2004 which had predicted a Kerry landslide, Fox found that they were sampling Dem voters by 6-8% more than the vote patterns. I am highly suspicious of the whole exit poll business - both from conscious and unconscious drive by media bias.

Plus - Ronald Reagan would have never needed to pour over exit polls to figure out what he believed in, how to formulate policy, or how to win elections. I agree that a return to the Reagan policy mix of tax rate reductions (supply side), budget restraint (reducing the rate of increase in govt spending), a strong national defense, and respect for life and moral values will work again - every time its tried.

Because of the very nature of exit polls. You are always going to have a lousy sampling simply because you have limited personnel that are a whole lot more likely to be deployed in densely populated areas in swing states. You have people self selecting (I know if I were confronted by an exit pollster, I would keep on walking). I'm also not convinced that the biases of the exit-pollers don't enter into the equation. How much direct supervision is there? Lastly, I'm not convinced you get honest answers from everybody if you ask them in person. Too many try to get the "right" answers to make them appear smarter or better informed.
"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it." -- Thomas Jefferson

Some of you folks don't even begin to understand how much this is KILLING us in the suburbs (which the GOP used to own), Northeast and West Coast.

States like Colorado and Arizona are beginning to slip away.

Until the party returns to Reagan Conservatism, and focuses on bread and butter issues people most care about, we're going to see our vote share grow lower and lower.

Two years ago, the Dems were the party of left-wing loons and Kosaks. Now they're becoming the party of the middle.

Was Reagan a RINO? I thought he was a pro-life, pro gun, pro religion in the public sphere pol. Or did I miss something in my wonder years?

He would never have supported a federal ban on partial birth abortion, for example, because he believed that this was an issue to be decided by the states.

Reagan did not believe that the federal government should be interfering in people's lives in the way present day Republicans do.

He would never have supported a federal ban on partial birth abortion, for example

"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it." -- Thomas Jefferson

Ronald Reagan wrote extensively about his political views. For example - "Reagan's Path to Victory".

He was very strong on the concept of federalism.

The fact of the matter is that libertarians were strong supporters of Republicans during the Reagan era and then during the 1990s.

This has changed because of the big government social conservatives. Either open the tent back up for divergent viewpoints or enjoy another 40 years in the minority.

It is possible to be a strong supporter of federalism not be completely rigid inflexible about it, especially when it comes to something as barbaric as PBA. I'm not a big fan on attributing positions to people who can't speak for themselves based on such flimsy "evidence."
"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it." -- Thomas Jefferson

I've read a fair sampling of Reagan's speeches, and couldn't point you to anything he wrote that would support kai2006's claim. If pushed to give my opinion on where Reagan stood, I would say the opposite, but also couldn't point to any specific speeches. I could tell you that he strongly supported the anti-abortion plank in the Republican platform every year he ran.

wait a minute


A good ole Google. See here:


Yep, Reagan saw that the FIRST step was getting the SCOTUS decision reversed, because before you do that, nothing else Congress does matters.

So, yeah, Reagan was a proud supporter of us SOCIAL conservatives.

Partial Birth-Abortion...even moderate Democrats supported this ban. PBA is a 65-35 issue in our favor, hands down.

Spitballs?!?! / Yo No Soy Marinero, Soy Capitan

do you realize that the Constitution divided power between state and federal government? ever heard of the 10th Amendment?

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I am going to have to agree with ElCapitan. Ronald Reagan had a strong belief in individual freedom and that extended to the unborn child. And yes, we understand federalism but it is the federal government's responsibility to protect its citizens, born and unborn, and Reagan held that belief.

Reagan's only essay on abortion says this:

"My answer to what kind of abortion bill I would sign was one that recognized an abortion is the taking of a human life."

He goes on to say:

"I know there will be disagreement with this view but I can find no evidence whatsoever that a fetus is not a living human being with human rights."

Excerpted from Reagan In His Own Hand

Steve Lockridge

-- Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong. -- Ronald Reagan

Count Virginia as apart of the "slippage" too. Formerly Red counties like Fairfax and Loudon are going blue and their population is enormous. I think Webb won Fairfax alone by 30,000 votes, and this is among the wealthiest counties in the country! Ouch!!

We've strayed from our libertarian tendencies a little too much IMO and its scaring off moderates who would have otherwise been supportive. Personally, I believe conservatives version of big government (as it recently manifested itself) is only slightly less scary than the liberal version.

I think Schiavo had a detrimental impact for Republicans with many center-right and moderate voters. If it was right before the election, it would have been even more significant. But it did plant a seed of worry about over-reach and priorities. Somehow Congress could jumpstart itself to get in the middle of a family legal dispute but it could not figure out Iraq, Social Security, or Immigration.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

It was the self-righteous attitude some took about it. If you had concerns about it, you were automatically seen in some places as not pro-life.

But yes, why were bans on horsemeat production and betting $50 on your football team online more important than the war on terror, immgiration reform, and social security?

In other cases, the House GOP put themselves on the wrong side of what appears to be a 60-40 issue - a majority of the general public favors comprehensive reform. Worse yet, there is that same sort of self-righteous attitude that led one person to imply in a front-page article here that those who backed comprehensive reform supported "treachery". What ever happened to disagreeing without being disagreeable?

Because--the middle doesn't like the fact that we're in a battle/war that seems interminable, that the Republicans got corrupt in office, and because folks just get sick of having one party rule.

No need to "moderate" our policies--the center of the Republican party (both social and economic) is much closer to the center of the American people than is the center of the Democratic party.

If we can run on a conservative platform in '08 not saddled by the Iraq issue and corruption, we should win handily.

"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors." -Edmund Burke

John McCain is calling for more troops in Iraq. Besides the obvious point that this will never happen, this position will kill him in the general election. I guess he thinks he needs to keep aiming for the base, but he would be better served to start focusing on the general. It won't do him any good to win the Republican nomination if there is not daylight between him and Bush on Iraq. Assuming the Iraq war is still unpopular in 2 years, I just don't see McCain beating someone like Obama who can say he was against the war from the start. Now, if the Democrats nominate someone like Hillary who has no position on Iraq, then all bets are off.

Iraq is why Guiliani might be the better of the two so-called moderate candidates. He hasn't been in elected office and can make up whatever position he wants on Iraq.

I think the real issue is being authentic. Despite the massive change in the number of seats, the overall vote was not that different from past years. The change was broad and strong, but it was not deep.

People all across this fine land watched the Republicans campaign as Gingrich and govern as Gephardt. Neither fans of Newt nor fans of Gephardt were impressed, and fans of neither Gephardt nor Newt were simply put off.

Evil men hide from the truth, but good men stand upon it.

I agree with everything in Adam C's excellent post (and I also want to commend Machiavel on his post yesterday).

We didn't lose because that amorphous entity known as "the base" stayed home. We lost because everyone else decided to vote for the other guy.

Pity when that happens.

The culprit, IMHO, is Big Government Conservatism, that relic of Continental Europe that every now and again decides to rear its ugly head on our shores. American conservatism, you see, descends from a far different strain, one that distrusts government's ability to accomplish anything. How then can we put our faith in government to accomplish "conservative" goals, as the big government cons seemingly endorse, when the state generally has the Midas touch in reverse, and everything in touches turns to (is there still a profanity ban on here)?

Or was big government conservatism just cover for our wonderful Washington GOP establishment to build bridges to everywhere and nowhere and buy votes via pork and Potemkin social initiatives that were never intended to go anywhere?

The national GOP got what it deserved a week ago. But life ain't beanbag, and the thought of a Hillary/Pelosi/Reid axis with unfettered power in Washington is the stuff nightmares are made of.

As such, it's time to win the moderates back by embracing good, old-fashioned, Goldwater/Reagan conservatism. You know, the kind that tells voters they can't have things that we can't afford, and that uses the military to do what it's good at (kill those who are trying to kill us --- and kill them first), and that generally leaves people alone to live their lives otherwise.

That sort of thing has won us elections.

From time to time.

As for big government conservatism...the knives are being sharpened.

I can't bear to watch.

Oh, of course I can.

Rudy for President: Four years of low taxes, balanced budgets, conservative judges, and dead terrorists.

Reading over all these comments, most of which seem to be quite accurate in their analysis of this past election I am left wondering whether the answer is much more simple than many of us are worrying about. Obviously there are some extremely divisive issues which separate conservatives and liberals, e.g. abortion. But for the all important moderates these issues clearly aren't part of the equation. In fact when looking at the nation as a whole there is no single issue which swings the moderates. We blame the unpopular war and a rash of scandals, but I think those excuses just hide the real reason Republicans lost. What the people of this country really want, especially those "undecided’s" is strength of character and leadership. I know this sounds simplistic, but what really separates a man like Ronald Reagan from George Bush? It wasn't that Reagan always did the "conservative" thing, but rather he was a true leader. The actual issues fade to the background when someone who leads with character and strength. Of course the issues, especially abortion, are vitally important; but what wins is leadership. History is full of entire nations following men down disastrous roads because the men were true leaders. We don’t need a return to Reagan because he was conservative, but rather because his strength of character and leadership were obvious to the American people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling for a charismatic moderate, in fact by definition moderates don’t really have the kind of character I am talking about. We need strong conservative principles, but let’s not forget what it takes to win in this country today. I know there are men out there who are willing and able to lead, the question is will they step forward?

I don't think the GOP can win on big government spending, and big federal programs. Sorry, but if that is what the voter wants, they will just vote democrat.

I think there are three types of people in the center.

There is the Socially liberal/libertarian type that wants a small federal government and less spending at the federal level.

There is also the socially liberal, populist, strong/large federal government types that want a federal program for everything.

Last is the socially conservative, large federal government/populist type, but this type is probably more at home in the democratic party.

The GOP may be losing from all of these, but I will be honest, while the first and third I will happily have in my big tent, I really don't want much truck with the second type-they may be more conservative than the democrats, but they can drag us away from the principals.

Something I think libertarians or those who think the problem with the party are Christians is that Christianity/social conservatism and fiscal conservatism are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact some of the most reliable fiscal conservatives in the GOP are also social conservatives.

But I think the problem is there is a pretty wide range of just what the center is, so if we want to appeal to the center, just what part are we going to appeal to?

in this country that the GOP has ignored while herding cash cows. Number One is healthcare-- a far more serious issue for the future than Social Security, which the voters do not want touched. I am NOT suggesting gargantuan, one-size fits all programs a la the Great Society, but reforms are needed and the GOP will not be rewarded by the voters for pretending otherwise. If you'd like to consider some reforms along the lines of conservative principles (and tailored to attract voters) please check out Douthat and Salem's article about addressing the needs of "Sam Club Republicans" over on www.theamericanscene.com.

One thing I do really fear is that the Republican Party will be a party exclusive to church going folks, and no one else.

This strategy would work great in the South, but no where else unless there is a major religious revival in this country.

Even though as a Christian I support moral values, at some point Conservatives need to decide if we are building a political movement, or are we building a National Church.

We have to strike a balance between being the party of values, or being the party of preachers.

Both secularists and religious people at one time felt comfortable with the Republican Party message, that's how Reagan won 49 states, including all of very secular New England.

A good example is Embryonic Stem Cell Research. I personally think this is wrong, but this is a huge loser politically for the Republicans. To be intellectually honest, you would also have to be against In Vitro fertilization if you were against Embryonic Stem Cell research. How well do you think our party would do if we were against In Vitro Fertilization?

At some point, we need to realize that some "sins" you can not outlaw, such as Adultery or Fornication.

God gives individuals free will to make moral decisions, and pay the appropriate consequences. I would rather be a nation that doesn't engage in immoral acts because of our faith, and not because of public policy.

I'm not saying abandon our moral values, but maybe a political party doesn't have to make a stand on every moral issue of the day.

"Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich. "

William F. Buckley, Jr.

embryonic stem cell research.

And your dichotomy between invitro is that nobody has proposed a bill in the US congress to federally fund invitro.

I think the problem with stem cell research is that the democrats have defined the terms-they use the word "prohibition" when it is really just a "we decline to fun it at the federal level."

Those are two very different things.

As for your points, what we need to stop doing is declaring Christians persona non grata in the party. As much as some portions of the party may hate us, the reality is that the most reliable fiscal conservatives in congress are also social conservatives-the two are not mutually exclusive, and the party needs both its Christians/social conservatives and its fiscal conservatives that are socially liberal. But what we shouldn't be doing is shooting each other.

I think if we focus once again on federalism, and stop looking to the federal government as the answer to all of society's ills, and stop spending money because we can and focus on fiscal conservatism-then we will appeal, but shooting the Christians, because they are social conservatives, is just plain stupid, and also, those of us who are moderately socially conservative and Christian aren't sure if the bullets are aimed our way, in general we just get lumped in with everyone.

I do think focusing federal law on "Christian" or social conservative issues is a poor move. I am content if we can just get constitutionally sound judges in place, that can take us back towards federalism. If California wants abortion on demand from day 1 to week 40, then let them decide, but I don't think the people of Georgia or Louisana should be held to the desires of the Californian.

While Rothenberg agrees the center was lost, he thinks the election was more about competence than ideology. In fact, he lays the blame squarely at the feet of Bush and the Iraq War as they relate to that theme:

The Iraq War has been a disaster, and the president and his administration looked out of touch and ineffective in dealing with a number of important issues that surfaced in the past two years.

Bush critics rightly will point out that some of his mistakes followed from ideological assumptions, and in that sense his values and belief system weren't totally irrelevant. But my point is a bit different: Republicans didn't lose because they were too conservative. They didn't lose because of their position on abortion or even because they may have favored personal accounts under Social Security, though in that case their ideology did lead them down a legislative blind alley.

Rather, the Republican Party lost last week because it -- and particularly the president -- didn't do the job.

I believe this is much closer to the truth than many here want to allow. The American people have told us they don't think much of either the president or the war due to the perceived incompetence both exhibit. We need to respond accordingly.

I agree that competence was in the equation. Unfortunately, I have no data or evidence of how or how much it affected the election. I also think that is more of a knock on the White House than people's individual Congressman. But Iraq, Katrina, and the mismanagement of priorities did play into a feeling of "out of touch" which is similar to "incompetence" to many voters.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

Nonetheless, it was a fairly good take down of what happened. If you recall, the Democrats attempted to use "competence" against President Bush in 2004 and came fairly close to beating him. They appear to have fine-tuned that message, and to be frank, the MSM routinely ran infomercials to reinforce that theme in 2006. This time, it broke through. That's not to say some of the perceptions were pure media creations--some of the nastiness from Iraq was quite real. Nonetheless, we also need to acknowledge this was the year the MSM hit pay dirt with both straight reportage and periodic propaganda against the GOP.

In the end, war images and an admittedly poor communications effort from the White House caused a great deal of blow back. And this comes from someone who five months ago didn't think this would be a referendum on the war and Bush. Maybe I confused hope with belief then.

Re: South held solid even if there is discontent.

The core South yes. But even the border South did not: The GOP lost important seats in MO, VA, NC FL and even TX.

We were wiped out all across the north and upper midwest. Our House delegations went from 50/50 to 83/17 Democrat in the 18 northern states. We went from 9 governors to 5. We lost 19 House seats, enough to give the House to the Dems even if every other region had held.

If we don't get the north back, we'll always be something other than a majority party.

Rudy for President: Four years of low taxes, balanced budgets, conservative judges, and dead terrorists.

I know, I use to live there. People are moving south because that's where the jobs are: in the economically and socially conservative south. But when the carpet baggers move south, they bring their job killing prejudices with them, and start to kill the very things that generate those jobs. My home commonwealth has lost more than 6 electoral votes in the last two censuses. That's a lot of people going elsewhere.

The Tennessee Senate seat barely was won, and even in Georgia two incumbent Democrats who should have gone down didn't. I'm not even certain that region can hold in 2008 if the Blue Dogs remain conservative on social issues as they embrace economic populism.

Tennessee, North Carolina and Arkansas all have more Democrats in their House delegation. Mississippi is tied. The Republican party needs to focus on the West and the Midwest to fight back against Democratic gains (especially in the West).

Adam is right that the South is bigger than the Northeast, but the Northeast is more Democrat then the South is Republican. Chris Shays (RINO if there ever was one) is the only Republican representative in all of New England, and the New York delegation is obscenely Democratic. All I'm saying, is the Republican party can't be the majority if people think of it as just the party of the South.

The only house districts in the South to flip were TX (Delay), FL (Foley), and NC (Taylor). 2 were scandal caused and will likely flip back. Only one was really a loss due to a normal campaign and that took a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat. I have never included MO in my definition of the South. It is a swing state that is part-South, part-Midwest. Like OH, it is too big and diverse to fit into a region well but I think it fits in the Midwest better than the South if push comes to shove. And the VA SEN race was quite an oddity from my perspective. Moreover, in MO and VA all Republican house incumbents won. The same is true in all the other Southern states except for the 2 scandals and NC-11. And Republicans won the overall Southern vote about 53-45.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

We lost Northup and Shaw. Both are in Dem leaning districts in parts of the country that are sort of southern, insofar as they are in Kentucky and Florida. Not what you think of I guess when you think of the South, but if you're gonna count FL-16, it's probably worth throwing those in there.

Midwestern States are typified by concentrated red urban / suburban areas with roughly equal numbers of people in rural and red-suburbs.

Evil men hide from the truth, but good men stand upon it.

Evil men hide from the truth, but good men stand upon it.

Re: The only house districts in the South to flip were TX (Delay), FL (Foley), and NC (Taylor).

You're forgetting Clay Shaw in FL-22, who was not touched by any scandal.
However FL is not, culturally, a Southern state. North FL is, but everything from Orlando and Tampa south is a unique mix of just about everything.

The Dems have created such a toxic environment here in MD that many people have moved into northern VA, especially the Arlington area. It's still close to the capital so they can keep their cushy government related jobs, but the taxes and other social regulations aren't as overwhelming. Of course, now that they are down there, they are starting down the same path again, because they don't see socialism as the problem in MD.

That's a major reason why I support Giuliani for President, to broaden Republicans appeal outside of the traditional Red States.

I certainly don't expect him to carry all of the Northeast, but I could see New York, New Jersey, Maine, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Delaware being in play. States that the GOP usually writes off in a Presidential election.

Even though Rudy isn't as socially conservative as most Republicans in the South, he would still be chosen over a liberal Democrat.

Rudy would be a great brand image for the Republicans. People outside of the South would feel more comfortable about the Republican Party.

And he's conservative on the issues we can win on!

"Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich. "

William F. Buckley, Jr.

Dream ticket? Perhaps... but let's not forget that Giuliani had an ugly divorce which is bound to get play.

that dog won't hunt. The Republican's have used it the last three elections: two were nail biters and they lost the last one. If McCain or Guiliani run, the social conservatives WILL stay home, or vote third party, or only vote on the ballot referendums.

I like Haley Barbour, but he's a former tobacco lobbyist.

The MSM and the Democrats would have a field day with that. I know that's not fair, but politics ain't beanbag.

I think a dream ticket would be Giuliani/Pawlentry.

Pawlentry is the re-elected governor of Minnesota. He's an excellent conservative leader.

If the GOP can capture Minnesota and Wisconsin, the White House is a lock.

"Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich. "

William F. Buckley, Jr.

My dream ticket would be Sanford / Pawlenty

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

It's really simple: they realized they were lied to. that's it, there is no more to it. Sure it makes for grand time speculating and wasting our times giving our opinions anonymously on the web. But I tell you this is the REAL reason the independents voted against Republicans.

I know because I am related to a bunch of people who voted for President Bush in 04 who have told me this very fact.

The Iraq war, that's right.

Unfortunately, you are about 6 years and 1 presidential election too late for that to be timely.
"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it." -- Thomas Jefferson

Dude. Six freaking years. Wanna rehash a couple battles of the late 19th Century, too?

Do it elsewhere.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

I'd have sworn that referred to President Hayes...
If you're seeing shades of gray, it's because you're not looking close enough to see the black and white dots.

I think the biggest reason Republicans lost the center-right and center is because Republicans just don't seem very competent. Independents who frequently vote Republican often do so because they expect Republicans to be more effecient and better leaders than Democrats. I think spending and poor management of Iraq were the big things that hurt us.

"The South is much larger than the Northeast as far as a base goes"

I've heard this sort of thought before, but what's the truth to it?

By my count, DC to Maine (swept by Kerry) amounts to 117 electoral votes and 20 senators.

The old confederacy (swept by Bush) is 153 electoral votes and 22 senators.

There are five D senators from the South: Nelson, Landrieu, Pryor, Lincoln, and Webb.

Likewise, there are five R senators from the Northeast: Specter, Sununu, Gregg, Collins, and Snowe.

If the R's gave up all of their northeastern senators in exchange for a truly solid South, they'd still be a minority party. And a 36-vote advantage is hardly a "much bigger" base in the electoral college -- certainly not enough to count on a Presidential victory. Finally, the slaughter in the northeast/midwest cost the R's the House this year, too.

If the R's want to write off the northeast (or the midwest or west) and become a regional southern party with regional southern interests, they're welcome to do so. The result will be staying in the minority. You're already seeing a loss of seats in the midwest (look at Ohio, Indiana and Iowa for examples) and west (see Colorado and Montana). And even take a look at Arkansas, a southern state that went true-blue statewide this year.

Writing off chunks of the nation is no smarter for R's than for D's. You really do need a "50-state strategy." Folding up into a conservative christian southern shell is dumb politics along with dumb policy. But hey, as a Dem, I say go for it!

Also... no, on second thought: keep doing precisely as you're doing. :)

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

First, let me make clear that I do not think anyone should write off the Northeast. I do, however, think the low hanging fruit is in the midwest and west.

Second, I believe our differences lie in definitions. I consider the South to be VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, MS, AL, LA, TX, OK, AR, TN, and KT which I believe is the confederacy plus KT and OK. This region has similar demographic and political characteristics. This is 168 EVs and 26 Senate seats. I believe it is close to 33% of the country's population. I admit that including FL may be the only stretch as southern FL is not culturally or politically southern.

I consider the Northeast to be ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ (and NJ is being generous). These areas have similar social, cultural and political backgrounds. Eastern PA would fit, but central and Western do not and thus PA is demogrpahically and politically quite different than the northeast. MD is not similar to the northeast in demographics or politics. President Bush won the white vote by 11 in the state. It is Democratic because the minority vote is so large not because the white vote is similar to MA or VT. I think the mid-Atlantic could be competitive in ways the Northeast is not, especially in DE, MD, and NJ. The states in what I consider the Northeast carry 80 EVs and 16 Senators.

As for smaller notes, AR and WV have never been Republican states. They have voted for Republican Presidents but neither has had a Republican majority in the House or two Republican Senators since the New Deal Era. For whatever reason (elderly population, long time incumbents, and Clinton mainly), these two states are solidly Democratic on a state level. I expect that will change but probably through retirements, not incumbent loses.

And I agree that R loses in the midwest and west were noticable and need immediate attention. Nevertheless, there was only 1 OH loss and 4 "western" loses in the House (CA, 2 AZ, CO). The blowout was in IN, (eastern) PA, and NY mainly. I suspect the main battleground districts will be in the midwest and west in the next few cycles. Although I will note that Ds hold more Bush districts in the South than Rs hold Kerry districts in the Northeast; thus there is some room for Rs to gain in the South especially in TN, NC, AR and GA.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

Re: I consider the South to be VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, MS, AL, LA, TX, OK, AR, TN, and KT which I believe is the confederacy plus KT and OK. This region has similar demographic and political characteristics.

The core south is just SC, GA, AL, MS and LA (the states, minus FL and TX, who initially formed the CSA before Fort Sumter forced a choice on the rest.) The border South (TN, VA, WV, NC, AR, MO, OK and TX) contain large non-Southern populations and cultural elements (in the case of VA and NC these are mostly due to recent migration from elsewhere).

OK and TX are as much Western as they are Southern states.

FL, as I posted above, is in a class by itself. If you amputate everything south of Daytona, then north FL would be a Southern state. But as you move south into peninsular FL, you will find huge populations from the Northeast and the Midwest, plus lots of Hispanics and Carribean peoples, and they have all brought their politics amd culture with them: Canadian healthcare clinics in Tampa, gay flags all over Lauderdale, Disney uber alles in Orlando, and se habla espanol por todo en Miami.

Also, LA is something of a cultural aberration too due to the lingering influence of the French Cajun culture in the low country: hence the lingering strength of its old-style (and oh so corrupt) Democrats.

They percentage of the population that is evangelical and believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible in TX and OK is much more Southern than Western. Also, both states were fighting with the Confederacy in the Civil War. They have some Western cultural aspects (cowboys and rodeos for one) but politically they fit strongly in the Southern category.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

Thank you for your analysis. Fully 9 out of 10 left-leaning visitors here drop talking point grenades mixed with that implicit appeal to moral authority we find so ... what's the word? Well, it's not a nice word, but I can't find it. As I said, thank you for avoiding that approach.

However, I think you misread Adam's position a little bit. It's easy to do, with writers with whom you aren't familiar.

Adam was recommending a return to Reaganism, more or less. Reagan embraced religious and social conservative voters, but (listen carefully) he did not kowtow to them/us. He had his positions, said what they were, and left it at that. At least, that's what I remember (I turned 18 just after his 1980 election, and spent most of his Presidency in the Marine Corps).

There is a meta-(conservative+liberal) way of looking at things, a return to principles on which we agree. It's more than a way of framing issues to make something disagreeable sound good; it's defending positions in a way that gently instructs the voter, showing him that he already agrees with you. Liberals try that, and it turns into a game of redefinition, setting conservative teeth on edge and eyes rolling.

Evil men hide from the truth, but good men stand upon it.

I look at my state's results. We were crushed up North, in rural populist counties, and lost Macomb and Monroe counties. We almost lost reliable West Michigan.

These areas are conservative. They are sometimes republican, but not capital R republican. I look at the "Butternut areas" of the Midwest and saw the same thing. Southern Ohio and Indiana were ugly. Western PA was as ugly as the liberal Philly burbs.

The problems were this.

1. No vision, no message, and no competence. What do republicans stand for?

2. SPENDING. The problem wasn't social conservatism. The problem is that there was no fiscal conservatism to go along with it.

3. Iraq - Lack of effective communication from the president on this has allowed the media to define what has happened there.

4. The gun issue wasn't a big factor this year. We should have sent out copies of the vote to ban all centerfire ammunition in the last two senate sessions. The democrats still want to take our guns away.

5. Scandals. We lost at least 5 district because of idiots.

How would I counter this?

1. New house leadership. Pence needs to lead the way and be allowed to do so. It's time for a change.

2. Compete in ALL districts. All the democrats need opponents. Destroy the enemy. Recruit the 2008 candidates now, and start the campaigns in July of 07.

3. Be PROACTIVE and LEAD, not reactive and obstructionist. We need to set the agenda, and if we are blocked by the obstructionist Pelosi, we take out her gang with a New Contract with America.

4. Go back to the small government agenda. Don't alienate either faction of our base - the small l libertarians, nor the gun owners, nor the "religious right". For all the yapping, all three factions have a lot in common and I've been able to fit in for the most part in a crowd dominated by all three groups. Not everything needs to be a constitutional amendment. Spending is too high and needs to drop. Gun control is not dead as an issue, and every time it rears its ugly mug, it needs to be smashed - loudly.

There's a lot of work to be done, but this challenge we face - if successful, could bring us back to 1994 and back on the right path - and we don't have Billy Clinton dancing in the blood of Tim McVeigh this time to stop us.

Thank you for sharing that, Adam C.

In all honestly, I'm glad to see more power going toward the independent and moderate voters. I hope both parties understand that if you want to win elections, you need to go to the center. I just feel that's important considering that 48% of Americans consider themselves moderate.

Personally, I feel that Independents and Moderates have placed both parties on probation. To the Democrats - You have 2 years to show us why you deserve to have power, use them wisely. To the Republicans - please get your act together.

Our country needs two strong parties.

Nothing has changed.

When both parties move to the center, the dems win. When both parties move to their base (GOP right, dem left), the GOP wins. When one moves to the center and one to the base, it is a close election.

In this election, the GOP abandoned its principles and moved to the center. The dems were somewhere between moving to the center (the perception) [which would result in a close election] and moving to their base (the reality) [which would result in a close election]. So what did we have, a definite dem win, but with some of the racws being vey close.

The GOP MUST MOVE RIGHT for 2008. That means no leftists (Guliani) and no moderates (McPain) heading the ticket.

It may take two election cycles to retake Congress in any case.

The first "[which would result in a close election]" should say "[which would result in a dem win]"

The ultimate solution is to move to the Center on our image to reach the elusive female voter who is turned off by the harsh image of the GOP. In effect "Oprah Winfrey-ize" the Republican Party.

At the same time, move to more libertarian stances on issues to win back most Western "Leave me alone" type libertarian voters.

I know it's a tough balancing act, but this is what must be done.

Maybe Giuliani is the only one who can pull this off. But he's not libertarian enough. We should balance the ticket off with someone who has great appeal to libertarian voters.

Jeff Flake for VP???

Eric Dondero

If you look at women voters, they tend Democrat. If you split them married vs single, they similarly split Republican and Democrat. Men don't split on the same line.

There is a cast of usual suspects to blame here. Republicans got away from true conservatism. They were drunk w/ power and became weak. They squandered much of their power by becoming politically correct and pandered to democrats, often playing pattycake & back and forth name calling.

Big government is a dinosaur. Why do we have to learn history over and over?

The more power Washington has, the more Americans lose. Returning power back to state and local where decisions are much closer to the people is the only way. People need to feel empowered to get involved. Government should make it easy for people to be empowered. Federal government can be a liaison and conduit for spreading best practices, NOT a controller of funds to direct our lives. Federal government will have its HANDS FULL w/ national defense from here on out. It is time to "outsource" much of the government back to state and local government.

We have to change the SYSTEM, not the people. WAYYYY too often we blame the people. The corrupt people are SYMPTOMS of a sick system. Don't get me wrong. We should pursue and punish every corrupt politician but at the same time we need to address the corrupt SYSTEM that produces and enables corrupt people. We can send the most well intentioned people to Washington and they get swallowed up by the system before they even get unpacked. Real change requires REAL CHANGE.


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