Après Le Deluge
Picking Up The Pieces
By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in 2006 | Featured Stories — Comments (43) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
One does not view the results of the midterm elections with a devil-may-care attitude and hope or expect to learn anything of consequence as a result. The elections were a disaster for Republicans. I agree with others who have said that this was not so much a case of Democrats winning an election as it was a case of Republicans losing one. And that makes it harder to swallow.
Republicans lost because we forgot who we were. We were supposed to be the small-government, low taxes party. We got the "low taxes" part right but we forgot about that all-important "small-government" aspect. In doing so, we angered and infuriated our base, many of whom decided that divided government was a better and more effective way of achieving small-government goals than was electing Republicans.
The blame for this has to go to the top. Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Boehner and Majority Whip Blunt have been singularly ineffective at presenting a coherent and attractive message to Republicans and to the country at large and governing in accordance with that message. Needless to say, a leadership change is sorely needed and thankfully, it now appears that good people are prepared to help make that change a reality. In the Senate--which being in a pessimistic mood, I anticipate we will lose as well--Majority Leader Frist has been one of the worst floor leaders we have ever seen attempt to take command of Senate proceedings. He will be replaced by a masterful Senate leader in Mitch McConnell. Pity Senator McConnell could not have had a majority to work with.
And then there is President Bush, who has been quite content to govern as a big-government conservative, a philosophical stance that got the GOP to where it is now; staring down the barrel of Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress. For the President to be able to lead a Republican resurgence, he too shall have to come around to a small-government viewpoint. No more bloated federal highway bills. No more NCLB. No more Medicare prescription drug benefits. No more inconstant attention to free trade. Small-government conservatives and right-of-center libertarians did not expect this from a Republican President and a Republican Congress. And they deserve better than what they have gotten.
I could perhaps have accepted this election with something amounting to equanimity if small-government principles had truly been tried and had truly lost. But this was not the case here. Republicans did anything but put their best policy foot forward. And we have no one to blame but ourselves. Again: Democrats did not win this election so much as Republicans lost it. And if you think I am less-than-pleased about that, well, you are right.