I fear the Republican leadership has not learned the lessons of their losses in 2006. In 1994, the Republicans ran on the Contract with America. They won, they followed through. Their ten bills were all voted on as promised. Not all passed, but they weren't promising passage. They were promising a vote on ten issues that the Democrats previously refused to bring to the floor.
Following completion of the Contract with America, the Republicans slowly grew into a well oiled machine. They also got fat and sassy. They started spending more and more. They were rejuvenated abit with the election of George Bush in 2000 and passed two tax cuts, but their well oiled machine was cracking as evidenced by their inability to make the tax cuts permanent. They then fell into the Washington trap of spending more than they had, despite record revenue coming into the Government and they wandered into the Sex, Drugs and money scandals. They were beat bad in 2006 and again in 2008.
These past two years, they did nothing to improve their position. There are two things that have brought them back. The Democrats gave them a gift that can never be repaid. They passed the stimulus package which enraged the American people. This brought about the Tea Parties. Not Republicans. All the Republicans did was vote no on it. They had no power to stop the Democrats. But the Tea Parties rose up around the country. Cap and Trade (or Cap and Tax) passed the House. Again, against the will of the people. Obamacare passed, again, against the will of the American people.
The Democrats, in effect, created the Tea Parties. As if that's not enough, at Town Hall meetings around the country, Tea Party people, and Americans not affiliated with the Tea Parties, showed up and expressed their displeasure with the Democrats passing these various laws. They were ignored. They were made fun of by the press and they were dismissed out of hand by the Democrats. Rather than listen to the American people and the Tea Parties, the Democrats closed their town hall meetings or stopped having them altogether. The beneficiaries of the Tea Party's? The Republican Party.
Tea Party candidates started cropping up all over the country. Those speaking with the tea parties were backing some candidates and not others. Bob Bennett for instance, was considered getting fat and sassy and arrogant and he was booted out. His replacement, backed by the tea party is likely to be the next Senator. Marco Rubio in Florida was beating Governor Charlie Crist so Crist left the Republican party and became an independent. He's now trailing by double digits.
The Republican Party backed a man in Kentucky. The Tea Party backed Rand Paul. Paul won decisively. And on it went. Senator Boxer is in trouble in California, Senator Murray in Washington, Senator Feingold in Wisconsin and so on.
But two recent events show that the Republicans are acting arrogantly or as elitists. Senator Lisa Murkowski was beaten by Joe Miller in Alaska. Miller is the Tea Party backed candidate. The worst event was in Delaware. Christine O'Donnell beat Mike Castle. As O'Donnell was giving her victory speech, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said they would not back her in the race for the Senate. They backed off the next day and gave her the maximum amount allowed under the law, but their initial reaction was childish at best. How dare the people of Delaware choose someone other than the Republican choice for Senate??
Karl Rove said on Hannity's television show that O'Donnell cannot win. Charles Krauthammer said on O'Reilly's show that she has a one in ten chance of winning and that it was wrong to choose the conservative over the moderate in the northeast.
When did the people become the lap dogs of the Republican party? The Republicans are taking the gift that the Democrats and the Tea Parties gave them and are trying to hand it back to the Democrats. The Republican Party exists because of the American people, not the other way around.
But they don't appear to understand that. Mike Castles goal should have been to defeat the Democrat nominee in Delaware. If the people chose his opponent to defeat the Democrat, then it is his responsibility to back O'Donnell or to leave the Republican Party or to just sit down, shut up and enjoy the retirement. Instead, Castle blamed his loss on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin. He also refuses to back O'Donnell. Refusing to back her is the same as endorsing the Democrat opponent. Does Mike Castle believe that O'Donnell is not a good enough Republican? Who cares? The people chose her. The people that would have backed him had she not run, decided she was the better choice to represent their interests against the Democrat. I wouldn't be surprised if Castle decides to run as an Independent or as a write in candidate.
Which brings up Alaska. Lisa Murkowski lost to Joe Miller in the Republican Primary. Yesterday, Murkowski decided to run as a write in candidate. She's not satisfied with the choice of the people of Alaska. So she's putting herself back into the race despite the people telling her they wanted Miller rather than her.
Bob Bennett was bitter and let it be known when he was ousted. Castle is bitter and refused to show any class by congratulating the person that beat him out by the will of the people. Murkowski is doing the same thing in Alaska.
Bennett had moved to the left in his Senate career and the people he represented didn't like it. Castle has always been moderate to liberal. Crist is a moderate who actually hugged Obama during the stimulus passing, and Murkowski is a moderate who was not put into the Senate by the people. She was appointed by her daddy and she won an election during the Bush years. Now that her dad is out and Bush is gone, she can't make it on her own, within her own party, so she's trying to force her way in.
The people are choosing more conservative candidates to replace the moderate and liberal people that have been there or in other positions. But the moderates and/or liberals can't face this. The Republican Party is not reveling in the more conservative candidates, they are retreating from them. They are retreating from the people that put them there. They are showing that they believe that they need to fool the American people, then once in office govern the way they want and not the way their voters want them to govern.
If these Tea Party candidates win, and a sizeable amount of them probably will, we could be seeing a battle within the Republican Party over what direction the Republicans take the country. Will the new Tea Party victors have to buckle under to the Republican establishment or will they change the direction that Republicans go and pretty much reinvent how Washington works?
If the establishment portion of the party controls, the Republican victories in November will not last. If the Tea Party Senators and Representatives hold their ground and aren't afraid to stand up to the establishment, we could see many more Tea Party candidates in 2012 and watch the party go more conservative.
If this battle becomes a messy battle that goes on for two years, the Democrats could take over once again and we'll be back to all of the same problems we have today with Democrats running roughshod over the people and the people not being able to do anything about it and the Democrats not even attempting town hall meetings, let alone canceling them.
The Republicans, both the establishment and the Tea Party Senators and Representatives, have an opportunity to set the direction of this country into very prosperous times, both financially and through national security or they can have a playpen fight that leads this country into extremely tough and dangerous times.
Nobody likes to lose, but if you must lose, lose graciously when you've lost. Everybody likes to win, but win with humility when you win. If you lose without the dignity and class, such as Mike Castle, Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Crist, and others you run the risk of destroying more than just your reputation.
Mike Castle didn't accomplish making a point about how good or bad O'Donnell is or isn't. He only proved that he has no respect for the people that he depended on for that victory. He's proven that the best man for the job in Delaware was actually a woman. Christine O'Donnell. Murkowski proved that in Alaska, the best man for the job was a man.
These candidates are supposed to be running to represent the people. Those losing candidates only proved that they were in the race to represent themselves and didn't give a rip about the people.
The Republican Party had best learn that they too are there to represent the people. If they choose to only give lip service to the people until they get in power then represent themselves, they'll only prove that they aren't worthy of holding any decision making positions.
I really like Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer, but the things they said following O'Donnells victory were not only wrong, but stupid. Do they think that Chris Christie, the new Governor of New Jersey is a mistake because he's more conservative? You don't improve an area by replacing liberals and moderates with liberals and moderates. Apparently, the people of Delaware understand it. Why can't Rove and Krauthammer?
If Mike Castle was a shoo in to win in the general election, but he's beat by who the people consider a better candidate, then why isn't O'Donnell considered a shoo in?
I wonder if the Yankees make it through the playoffs and are expected to win handily in the World Series but get beat will Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer then say that it's a mistake?
The Republican Establishment had better grow up quickly and understand the will of the people or they will find they no longer exist. Then God help the country.
The Democrats provided a gift to the Republicans and the American people. If the Republicans really want to give a gift in return, I'd suggest that they take a page from Obama's list of gift giving. Send them a DVD set of classic movies as Obama did for the Prime Minister of Britain. Or maybe a recording of their speeches as Obama gave to the Queen of England. But don't give them the country.
You're welcome to comment.