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Having had power & lost it, has GOP learned its lesson?

In her column on the ninety-eighth anniversary of the Gipper’s birth, Peggy Noonan heralded the new-found serioiusness of the Republicans:  They hadn’t been this way in years!.  She cautioned them not to get overconfident, to return their focus and not to “revert to the triumphalism of the Bush era, when they often got giddy and thick-necked and spiked the ball.

Perhaps, they had become so giddy and thick-necked because when then-President Bush won re-election in 2004, increasing Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress, it was the first time in more than three-quarters of a century (since 1928) that Republicans retained control of the White House and both houses for two consecutive congresses.

in 2004, the then-senior Senators of Alaska and Virginia, Ted Stevens and John Warner, respectively, were the only incumbent Republicans in that chamber who had been alive the last time their party had so been returned to power.  And back in 1928, Stevens was not yet 5 and Warner, at 21 months, just learning to talk.

Simply put, Republicans didn’t know what it was like to keep a majority at the executive and legislative level.

Now, that they have lost both, let us hope that they have learned their lesson.  Should the GOP do well in ’10 and ’12, there will be numerous congressional Republicans who will know what it’s like to have held power and lost it, with others joining them who had observed this phenomenon from the sidelines.

In his latest blog post, Michael Barone touts polls showing Republicans doing well in a number of upcoming elections.  Perhaps, this is because as voters witness the Democrats’ extravagence, they’re beginning to believe the GOP has learned its lessons.   Or, at least hoping it has.



  1. Is anyone aware that 2 women who represent only 1.3 million people are the lynch pin to the OBSCENE PORK BILL we are facing?
    2 liberal women from MAINE plus Arlen Col Sanders Spectacle are spending us into obvlivion and not fisxing a damn thing,

    Think about that. We need to learn with the quickness.

    Comment by GUS — February 9, 2009 @ 2:44 pm - February 9, 2009

  2. It’s waaaaay too soon after their last debacle to say that they’ve learned their lesson IMO. They’ve caught my interest, but that’s it for now. The most I can say is that I doubt I’ll vote GOP or Dem for VA Guv but will consider challengers to Senator Webb (D), unless of course they align themselves with the Religious Right. I’m not ready to work with that faction yet – especially those from Virginia.

    Comment by John — February 9, 2009 @ 3:08 pm - February 9, 2009

  3. Republicans will always be at a disadvantage because Democrats are “the government party.” Government is the Democrats’ business. And they want to grow their business. When in power, they use their power and influence to make government bigger, make more people dependent on it, and squeeze it “competition” from the private sector, charities, and religious institutions. They fight harder to control power because it’s their lifeblood.

    It’s a fundamental philosophical difference that I don’t think the GOP is aware of.

    Also… yeah, I’m gonna keep beating on this until someone listens… the GOP apparatus at the state level is a shambles. The state level party organizations are putting up weak candidates, and their ground game is disorganized and inferior to the Democrats. The GOP’s structural problems are worse than their ideological ones.

    Comment by V the K — February 9, 2009 @ 3:27 pm - February 9, 2009

  4. Proving my point: Democrats plan to use the economic crisis as an excuse to undo Clinton Era welfare reform.

    Comment by V the K — February 9, 2009 @ 3:32 pm - February 9, 2009

  5. Politicians seldom, if ever, learn anything until they’re out of office or dead–too late either way–regardless of party. The GOP has clearly demonstrated an abandonment of sound fiscal policy by their behavior and enabling of spending for the last decade. If they actually cared they’d have been consistent. I shouldn’t even have to begin to eviscerate the fiscal priorities of the Spendocrats–they speak for themselves.

    We’re screwed. No matter what any of them espouse, their concerns are:

    1) Their own wallets and lifestyles
    2) Their progeny
    3) Re-election
    4) Just about everything else under the sun
    5) Constituent interests

    When we allow public servants–which is what they were meant to be–to carve careers out of political office, the interest of the public takes a backseat to career advancement and security. We need term limits and greater public participation on every level, from dogcatcher to POTUS.

    We need the public to be informed, attentive, and interested.

    Like I said: we’re screwed.

    Comment by Jamie — February 9, 2009 @ 3:45 pm - February 9, 2009

  6. Thanks for placing religous bigotry over patriotism, john. You’re a class act.

    Comment by DaveP. — February 9, 2009 @ 4:28 pm - February 9, 2009

  7. You’ve learned well from the extreme Left, DaveP. Yet I assure you that I didn’t need any reinforcement of what I’ve experienced: many of the partisans on the extreme Right are no better than those on the extreme Left. They can be just as shrill, just as quick to play the role of victim while whining about others, and only talk about small government when THEIR pet issues aren’t involved. I have no use for any of them nand refuse to give my vote anymore to folks on either side who fit that description.

    Comment by John — February 9, 2009 @ 6:27 pm - February 9, 2009

  8. DaveP, have you ever noticed you never hear anyone say, “I won’t support the Democrats unless they get rid of the socialists/America-haters/welfare pimps?”

    Comment by V the K — February 9, 2009 @ 6:42 pm - February 9, 2009

  9. V, John says that he won’t “give his vote to the haters”.

    Does that mean he would refuse to vote for himself?

    John, don’t complain because I called you on your hateful and unAmerican behavior. Suck it up, put your Klan hood back on, and go about your business.

    Comment by DaveP. — February 9, 2009 @ 7:05 pm - February 9, 2009

  10. Love how you put quotes around words you attribute to me yet are actually your own. I couldn’t have asked for a better example of a partisan of the extreme Right mimicking the style of those from the extreme Left, thereby proving my point. You have learned well, DaveP.

    Comment by John — February 9, 2009 @ 7:14 pm - February 9, 2009

  11. VtheK: Did I say I wouldn’t vote for any Republicans ever? Nope. I also didn’t say that I would support a Democrat whom I believe fits your description here. Should a Republican candidate come along in any of the races I vote that I find palatible, I’ll consider them. Otherwise I won’t. What I will not do anymore is vote party-line, which actually I haven’t done for the past 2 election cycles. Call me a ticket-splitter if you like because that’s how I’m voting.

    Eh, considering how I voted last November (GOP, Dem & Libertarian) I guess I can catch flak from all sides.

    Comment by John — February 9, 2009 @ 7:19 pm - February 9, 2009

  12. I won’t support the DemocRATS unless they get rid of the socialists/America-haters/welfare pimps.

    There! I said it.


    Comment by torabora — February 9, 2009 @ 7:32 pm - February 9, 2009

  13. John, I agree with you in part –there’s a side of the religious right that is, indeed, scarey. I also agree with others here that I rarely hear a similar debate from moderates inside the Democrats saying that folks like CodePink or the anti-military nutjobs in SF or those anti-semites who support liberty for Hamas should be booted from their party. Nor do they say that about the eco-terrorists burning down suburban miniMcMansions… or the NRDC nuts who have held nuke power hostage in the Courts for years and are now attacking CleanCoal.

    The truth is that each Party has it’s shady elements and attract all kinds of passionate whackjobs to the effort. I’ve met some folks at GOP natl events who literally caused me to shudder with their hatefilled and wild conspiratorial theories –or the ones who are there only because of a single issue and won’t tolerate open debate on “their” topic/issue/litmus test.

    I once heard Lamar Alexander explain to a group of Gold Standard zealots at an RNC regional function in Nashville… he basically said “You know, I don’t understand you folks at all and I think your issue is the biggest non-issue if there ever was one. Flat tax, I get it. No UN commander of US troops, I get it. Cutting back on foreign aid, I get it. No tax money for PBS and NPR, I get it. You guys, I don’t get.

    But I support your involvement in the Party, welcome your contribution and hope you stick around long enough so that when returning to the gold standard becomes important, we’ll be the Party set to deal with it.”

    And to think that Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes got more support than Alexander for GOP Prez in ’96 is amazing. Maybe Alexander understood you need the whacked-out folks with passion and energy inside a Party. Maybe the farLeft does that for the Democrats?

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — February 9, 2009 @ 8:17 pm - February 9, 2009

  14. BTW, inside my own church, we have the “Cancel 3rd World Debt” folks who often get a petition placed inside the Prayerful Petitions during Mass. Last week, we prayed that poverty in the Middle East would end and the medically uninsured in America would find relief… along with calling for an end to 3rd World Debt created by the greed of capitalists.

    Maybe I’ve been around these types too long… but they pale in comparison with the farLeft and farRight in our political culture.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — February 9, 2009 @ 8:22 pm - February 9, 2009

  15. #13 – MMatt, imho, the Pope needs to repeal Vatican II and return the Church to its proper roots.

    Maybe that’s why my Eastern Orthodox Church gets so many converts from Catholicism.

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — February 10, 2009 @ 11:59 am - February 10, 2009

  16. 14, wow, you’re EO? kind of surprised, never hear about them in my neck of the woods.

    Comment by The Livewire — February 10, 2009 @ 12:38 pm - February 10, 2009

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