After an often-turbulent, 14-year relationship, the American people
broke up with the Republican Party last month, sending a clear message
that they had found new suitors in a Democratic President and Congress.
Today, and for the next year, the GOP must face a touch choice. Does
the party stick around and fight for a love lost, or step back,
evaluate what went wrong adopting the classic “it’s not you, it’s me,”
strategy to assure the party’s long-term viability?
With the events that have unfolded since Republicans were swept out
of Washington, it would be tempting to stick around for a fight. The
Right’s favorite punching bags – the Clintons and their minions are
back as part of the Obama Cabinet. Juicy corruption charges are
engulfing politicians in the President-elect’s home state of Illinois.
Congress is on the verge of an historic heist of the taxpayer’s
With so many opportunities, the temptation to score political points
today must be unbearable. But for the sake of the Grand Old Party, we
After winning the hearts and minds of the progressive wing of the
Democratic Party during the primaries, President-elect Barack Obama ran
in the general election as a blank slate, upon which Americans could
pin their hopes and dream that he could change the country to the
America they desired. Only after the election when he had to start
thinking of governing did Obama shifted to the center of the political
Already, there are rumblings from Obama’s early supporters that
President-elect Obama is not the same man as Candidate Obama.
Congressman Barney Frank is already chiding the President-elect for a
pledge to be a “post-Partisan” President along the lines of California
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger or New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And
Progressive Democrats have created a political action committee to hold
members of Congress accountable in 2010 for their votes in the first
two years of the Obama Administration.
Given enough time to govern, the Democratic Party will tear itself
apart or, at the least, offend the very people who brought them to
power. In two or four year’s time, the American public’s flirtation
with one-party rule from the left could be turned into just another
“rebound” relationship where, as often in romance, bad judgement trumps
There is a natural reaction, of course, to rally around the GOP
flag. Bring up Bill Clinton’s sex-capades, try too hard to link Barack
Obama to the auctioneering of his Senate seat, or appear too
obstructionist on attempts to fix the American economy. With those
“tough love” propositions, Republicans will bring Democrats – and the
American public – closer together, not tear them apart. Given enough
time – and opportunity – the party’s internal divisions will easily
In order to facilitate the self-destruction of Democratic dominance,
Republicans must sit down and shut up for awhile. So for now, it is
best that the Grand Old Party take not just forty days and forty
nights, but forty weeks in the wilderness. Give the Democratic Party
time to bicker, then fight, then tear itself apart.
Step back, and look at how America has changed and how our party
must change in order to win it back voters affection, respect and
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