The Republicans are jubilant in their recent victories; Conservatives and Tea Party people see a new dawn. Democrats are morose. Sounds like a mirror image of two years ago. Things can change quickly.
The Democrats blew it by doing what Obama said they would do all along - redistribute income. The question now is whether the Republicans/Conservatives/Tea Party people can do or at least try to do what they were elected to do. The indications are that they will not be able to do anything. That is not surprising given they only hold one house and the other guys hold the other house and the veto pen. But can they convince the American people that the steps that the current Administration are taking on the economy are the wrong ones and that the cutting taxes and spending are the right ones? The indications look like the answer is they won't even be trying.
Winning elections is more one of public perception than having great public policy. For better or worse, the last Presidential election was run with a guy who promoted Hope and Change against a guy who was closely associated with a very unpopular President. The recent Congressional elections were a mirror image. An unpopular President’s party got “shellacked” based upon their policies. That is good for the Republicans if they use it. But…
1. Republican leadership Senators have come out in favor of earmarks. The public perception of the Republican policy is that when the other guy has the gavel, earmarks are wrong but when Republicans have the gavel we really need them. This despite the fact that recent election used earmarks as a platform to spank the Democratic candidates and energize their faithful. Bad start Mitch. Another step back but this can be a big PR gain if they do it right.
2. Committee Chair Appointments. This will be a big one. Some of the people at the top of the list for key positions don’t get it. If leadership just follows the “oldest guy wins” philosophy, most of this will be for naught. The majority of the public will not make a distinction between the “good” Republicans that are trying and the old boys who want to keep the sugar flowing. All Republicans will lose – for the second time and we are in a two strikes and you’re out situation. If they blow it again, it will take a real calamity by the Dems before they get another chance. An avoidable disaster but we shall see.
3. Talk Radio. Much of what these guys say is sound economics; they are also equally adept at saying dopey things. Look at Hannity. He likes to preach to the choir (killing talking to Ida from South Carolina about how they are both “Great Americans”) and has programmed reactions. The “Blue Ribboned Panel” recommended cutting almost everything to balance the budget. Hannity immediately takes any cuts to the Defense budget off the table. Apparently, there is not one military base – foreign or domestic – that has one marching band that could do with one less tuba player. On the larger scale, whether there are opportunities in the huge Defense budget to cut obsolete, useless or bloated programs is not to be considered in Hannity's world. There is a difference between sound defense and unlimited spending. He needs an about face here.
4. Joe Miller in Alaska is contesting an election he appears to have lost. The Republicans lost the PR battle in the Florida “hanging chad” election. Whether they were right or not, that is what happened in the media. Miller is reinforcing that image to the public that the Republican plan is to steal elections. Unless he can better demonstrate a case, even if he wins, the Republicans get hurt. Time to give up Joe. Over all, a step backward for the Republicans no matter what.
5. The Social Conservatives will get restless. The election had nothing to do with “social values”. Whether Frank marries George and/or the both serve in the military has no effect upon jobs being created. The new guys will pick a fight over this one and the Republicans will alienate a few more percent of the people. Another lost PR opportunity.
6. Goals. The NYS conservative Party ran a poll asking what the first thing the newly elected representative should vote on. Repealing the Health Care bill took first with 38%; second was decreasing spending at 30%. The Republican Party stood by while the media and the First Dope branded them as the Party of NO. So after winning 60+ seats their first goals will be to say no again. Who the hell does there PR? How about a goal of REPLACING ObamaCare?
7. Goals II. Hannity again. He starts his show everyday announcing that the Stop Obama/Pelosi/Reid Express has come to a halt and the next step is to see that Obama is a one term president. That most certainly is not the next step. The thing to do is to continue to expand the percentage of the voting population that understand that A) Democratic policies and wrong for the economy and that B) Republicans have sensible, workable and historically successful solutions to the problems that plague us. If those two things are accomplished, the next election will take care of itself.
8. Hannity Redux. Not to pick on him (he deserves it) but one that is personally annoying is that he spent a good part of Election Day – while polls were still open in NY and everywhere else – trumpeting a huge Republican victory. Think about that. Someone you follow says that your candidate has already won. Do you get off your butt and go vote or stay on the couch? He contributed to lowering the Republican tally. Good job, Sean. You are marching the wrong way.
9. There will be more