Two years ago I wrote a post mortem on the election titled, “Did Microtargeting hurt or help the GOP’s voter turnout efforts?”
My opening salvo of that article stated...
“12 years after the Republican Revolution began, voters summarily tossed the majority out of office on November 7th. Too many House Republicans became, to quote Dean Wermer in the movie Animal House: 'fat, drunk and stupid…' As a conservative there is no more apropos quote to describe the blithering rebuke the American people laid on the doorstep of House Republicans."
Two years later, our party’s congressional leaders offered little change within the halls of Congress (continued earmarks, more ethical lapses, and larger expansion of government) and voters rewarded them with yet another set of blistering losses.
If it seems like Republicans have hit rock bottom--we have. Does it seem like our congressional leaders got the message and intend to change? The jury is still out.
Committed conservative leaders, who practice what they preach, need leadership roles in the Republican Party. On the House side, reformers like Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Jeb Hensarling, and Pete Sessions should be leading our party. In the Senate, we need to exercise the leadership and talent of John Thune, Tom Coburn, and Jim DeMint.
Without radically changing our message and leadership, the 2010 federal elections offer very little hope for a party trying to make a comeback.
Of the 34 senate races in 2010, Republicans must defend 19 seats, with Democrats defending 15.
Many of these Republican senators up for reelection could face stiff races, including: David Vitter (LA), Jim Bunning (KY), Mel Martinez (FL), Kit Bond (MO), Judd Gregg (NH), Richard Burr (NC), and Arlen Specter (PA).
On the other hand, the Democrats up for reelection are hardly vulnerable: The 15 include: Blanche Lincoln (AR), Barbara Boxer (CA), Ken Salazar (CO), Chris Dodd (CT), Daniel Inouye (HI), Barrack Obama’s seat (IL), Evan Bayh (IN), Barbara, Mikulski (MD), Harry Reid (NV), Chuck Schumer (NY), Byron Dorgan (ND), Ron Wyden (OR), Patrick Leahy (VT), Patty Murray (WA) and Russ Feingold (WI). Of these, maybe two are vulnerable to a strong challenge.
Republicans may not make up ground in 2010, but we have to restructure our leadership for the sake of setting the foundation for Republican Party principles. Ultimately this will lead to electoral success.
Two years ago, I felt House and Senate Republicans hit rock bottom. Boy was I wrong. I ended my 2006 post election analysis by stating:
“12 years ago Republican neophytes vowed to change the system and shake things up in Washington, D.C. Republican Get-Out-The-Vote strategists should vow to do the same and adapt to all political environments. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat history.”
Seems like we repeated history on November 4th. Will I be writing the same thing again in a few years?
Phillip Stutts is president of Phillip Stutts and Company. In 2004 Stutts served as the National 72 Hour/Get-Out-The-Vote Director for the Republican National Committee and President Bush’s reelection.