Resolved: 2009 Will Be a Better Year for the GOP
It is the season for New Year's resolutions. In keeping with the tendency to turn resolutions into advice columns I'll join the brigades of advice-givers and offer some guidance for those both in and outside of the Beltway.
For my fellow pundits, everyone enjoys a good take-down of an intellectual opponent, but when it devolves into "Blogger A is all wrong about his criticism of Blogger B's take on the fight between Bloggers C and D," just stop. Really, no one other than Bloggers A-D is following. More importantly, there's a world out there of events, politicians, legislation, and campaigns. That's where the action is. The danger to the right blogosphere is that is becomes a closed circle of inside gossip, increasingly irrelevant to the political and intellectual life of the country.
For the RNC chairman candidates and the voting members of the RNC, remember how the Republicans lost the White House and control of the Congress. The voters don't like Republicans much these days (and that includes conservative voters). Who is going to be a positive, effective, and articulate leader of the minority party? If none of the current crop of candidates fits the bill go draft someone who won't embarrass Republicans on Meet The Press, doesn't think Twitter is a bird, and understands that a majority party means getting more, not fewer, adherents to your cause.
For the Senate Republicans, choose the battles wisely. If there are one or two cabinet nominees whose public character and current legal predicaments are troublesome (you know who they are), grill them at the confirmation hearings and make the case against their confirmation. But the other guys won and the vast majority of the nominees deserve a swift and courteous confirmation hearing. Likewise on legislation, the filibuster can only be used for the big stuff -- card check, for example -- when the Republicans have the better of the issue and a hope of prevailing. So the rest of the time the most the Senate Republicans can do is offer alternatives, warn against the foolishness of the majority, and fight to investigate wrongdoing and abuse.
For the 2012 presidential candidates, just pipe down. Go do your job if you have one or, if you don't, be a constructive force to reform and revitalize the party. But no one really wants to see you lurking around coffee shops in New Hampshire or attending prayer breakfasts in Iowa. There is no such thing as "inevitability," so save your money and frequent flyer miles until 2011.
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