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Nutshell Explanation for GOP’s Recent Failures

Last week, I linked Jay Cost’s Weekly Standard piece where he urged “Republicans to use their principles creatively—to generate new and compelling solutions to public problems.”

Today, Glenn Reynolds identifies the reason my party has failed in recent years, “THE PROBLEM ISN’T REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES — it’s unprincipled Republicans. ‘Because Republicans didn’t stick, we got stuck.’

UPDATE:  In an excellent post showing how recent polling numbers show that while Democrats are doing worse, Republicans aren’t doing much better, Michael Barone offers what the GOP must do to take advantage of this potential reversal of political fortune:

That instability worked to Democrats’ advantage in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Now it seems to be working against them—I was going to write to Republicans’ advantage, but I think what we are seeing is more disillusionment toward Democrats than any positive feeling toward Republicans. In the short run, Republicans can benefit from this. In the longer run, they need to offer voters a better vision for the future, or they risk losing once again if there is a revival of enthusiasm among Democrats and warm feeling toward them among independents.

Read the whole thing.



  1. Democrats lose when they fulfill their promises. Republicans lose when they fail to.

    Comment by Ignatius — March 23, 2009 @ 3:24 pm - March 23, 2009

  2. Some Republicans on this blog object to the very idea of Republicans holding to any consistent principles or, as the expression goes, “ideology”.

    But I agree: It’s the abandonment of Republican principles / Reagan ideology that got your party into trouble.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 23, 2009 @ 4:37 pm - March 23, 2009

  3. The next primary season might prove rather interesting.

    Comment by Roy Lofquist — March 23, 2009 @ 4:52 pm - March 23, 2009

  4. If I had a dollar for every article about what the Republicans should do, I’d be a target for Chairman Obama’s punative taxes. When are folks going to e-mail or call the Republicans and demand that they do something rather than play dead?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 23, 2009 @ 6:39 pm - March 23, 2009

  5. TGC is right.

    I’m not sure the notion that what got the GOP into “trouble” with the American voter is that they were unprincipled in their principles as Zo at PJM-TV thinks… I think it was that the principals were corrupted by power and exercised it without legitimate license or consensus of the American voter… that, and the principals did a piss-poor job of policy advocate.

    The principals inside the GOP at the Capitol and in state parties, in think tanks and those marginal, GOP-behaving chatterers in the pundit arena have talked and postulated endlessly about what went wrong, how it went wrong and who had a hand in the undoing. Heck, we’ve all done it here to parallel the national debate and belly-button lint gazing –with a split in the view of how best to fix it, who rightly deserves blame and ought to be held accountable and where to go from here.

    But the real way back to power is to take the lesson the Dems and their coalition/allies taught the GOP over the last 10 yrs… hit hard, hit often, take every instance to criticize the majority, nit pick and hammer away at the President, use any injury in the ruling political power’s fabric (even if momentary or fleeting) to shove the knife in deeper and twist it a few times and –most importantly– work to keep your own allies from self-destructing the effort to win-back the American voter.

    Nit pick fairly or unfairly; things can even be done to a point where it becomes almost upside-down in political theatre. I can remember a moment in 2006 when Congressional fatcat Dems like Kennedy were acting like THEY were the protectors and saviors of soldiers… carping about body armor, HumVs shielding, medical care. The farLeft King! That guy’s career has been nothing short of open contempt for the military and soldier class in our Country; talk about upside-down political theatre. Yeow.

    Michael Barone is a policy wonk first, numbers cruncher second –brilliant as the sun, but a wonk at heart. Not in the article you cite, Dan, but he’d like the GOP to come out with 10 point plans on everything, flashy alternatives to glitter up the think tank panels across DC because, inside the beltway, that’s way more sexy than the tougher act of recruiting solid candidates who can appeal to a majority of voters.

    The real answer lies in hammering away at every opportunity against the Dems… fairly or unfairly. Barone’s observation is good news but, like they say in Terrebonne parish, it ain’t frying the sausage yet.

    For instance, if military and civilian deaths start to rise in Afghanistan –as they likely will because American troops will have to take on burden left behind by NATO forces unable and unwilling to patrol– or God forbid in Iraq, they need to be hung from Obama’s ears like weighted Maasai women’s leather gonito ear flaps.

    The GOP needs to harp about the rising Wall of Debt that the O-Administration is creating for our kids and grandkids… the GOP needs to underscore the false hope and higher energy costs that O-Administration’s alternative energy policy will require… as McCain has noted recently, the Obama alternative energy plans are ALL about jobs –but it’ll be about LOSING jobs across manufacturing because of rising costs, not gaining, if the O-Administration has its way.

    Heck, if the GOP could needle away at the Dem’s plans half as well as ILC needles away at nearly everyone here, the GOP would be golden for a generation or more. (wink, just kidding).

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — March 24, 2009 @ 9:57 am - March 24, 2009

  6. filtered?

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — March 24, 2009 @ 9:58 am - March 24, 2009

  7. Not mentioning any names, but there are people who would rather see the GOP become a permanent minority than have to work with those dreadful “oogedy-boogedy” conservatives.

    Comment by V the K — March 24, 2009 @ 12:30 pm - March 24, 2009

  8. The key to a Republican resurgence is unity. The glue that should hold the party together is the core principals and keep the promises. In 1994 many subscribed to term limits. By the year 2000, many of those who were elected in 1994 decided against term limits becasue the liked the power and enjoyed the perks and privileges that came with their office. The Founding Fathers never envisioned a government of professional politicians. Longevity opens the door to corruption. Long termers like Robert Byrd, Chris Dodd, and John McCain become fair game for lobbyists. If Barney Franks had been termed out long ago, maybe the Fannie and Freddie fiasco might never have happened.

    Comment by Roberto — March 24, 2009 @ 1:34 pm - March 24, 2009

  9. LOL 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 24, 2009 @ 2:55 pm - March 24, 2009

  10. The key to a Republican resurgence is unity. The glue that should hold the party together are the core principals. Candidates should keep their promises once elected. In 1994 many promised to honor term limits. In 2000, many who were elected in 1994 opted to ignore term limits. They became used to power, the perks and privileges of office. The Founding Fathers never envisioned professional politicians. Longevity opens the door to corrpution and abuse. Long
    termers like Robert Byrd, Chris Dodd, and John McCain are fair game for lobbyists. Just think, if Barney Frank had been termed out years ago, maybe the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco might not have happened.

    Comment by Roberto — March 24, 2009 @ 4:40 pm - March 24, 2009

  11. dear michigan matt:

    please refer to a dictionary and learn the difference between “principle” and “principal”.

    have a good one!!

    Comment by bob (aka boob) — March 25, 2009 @ 9:06 pm - March 25, 2009

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