Jenifer Rubin (AKA the Jewish Athena) has a great short post calling Obama’s victory “impressive” but not a landslide. While she contends “It is no consolation to Republicans who lost to say it could have been worse. But it really could have:”
This suggests that if the Republicans manage to get their act together, by recruiting better candidates and coming up with a competitive and distinctive message, they can get back in the game. That’s what Republicans did between 1976 and 1980 and between 1964 and 1968. And in each of those cases they were even further in the hole than they are now.
She’s right. We need to better articulate our message. And we need effective messengers.
While Republicans did win the White House after those two four-year cycles, they didn’t between 1992 and 1996, but still the party did manage to rebuilt in that period. Our success was thwarted because of our lackluster presidential nominee in 1996 and the then-Democratic incumbent co-opting our issue.
Great leadership at the RNC helped us get back on message from 1976 to 1980 as it did from 1992 to 1994. After losing his bid for reelection to the Senate from Tennessee in ’76, Bill Brock took the helm of the RNC. Sixteen years later, Haley Barbour (now Governor of Mississippi) did the same thing.
Under Brock’s leadership, we went from 38 seats in the Senate in 1977 to 53 in 1981. The GOP picked up 12 seats alone in 1980. Under Barbour, we won both Houses of Congress in 1994 and even expanded our Senate majority (by two seats) in 1996 despite Clinton’s reelection.
Right now, we need to find someone like Brock or Barbour to help rebuild the GOP, someone able to get our message outÂ today’s media. How about Fred Thompson? Maybe Newt Gingrich?