Thursday, November 09, 2006 :::
That's how Dick Armey characterizes Tuesday's results. While historically the numbers are not a rout, but part of a pattern the larger point he makes about why the GOP lost so convincingly remains true. In fact, I think it all comes down to these two sentences:
You can't build a winning constituency based on anger. The American people expect more.
I've said much the same thing here more times than I can count. Absent a compelling, positive reason to vote "FOR" someone, defeat is the likely result. For all of their efforts, the national GOP didn't seem to present this compelling, positive message. Of course, they were running against a fierce negative headwind, which included the War, the President's real, perceived or manufactured failures, and their own, serial blunders. Perhaps no positive message, no matter how well-crafted or how relentlessly pushed could have worked.
But the GOP didn't seem to even grasp the seriousness of its problems until sometime in August. Far too late to undo the impression, if not the reality, that they were merely lite Democrats. Or worse, the sort of arrogant, scandal-plagued Democrats they replaced in 1994.
The challenges for the GOP are self-evident: return to principles, embrace them, live them, fight for them. And while they're at it, tap into some of that Reagan optimism a lot more often.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 11/09/2006