Pence flatly predicts the House will be back in Republican hands after the November election. That would take a net gain of 40 seats. Some think that is highly unlikely, but Republicans needed 40 seats to win control in 1994. Many thought that goal unrealistic. Republicans won 54 House seats that year.
The problem for Republicans is that memories remain fresh. The reason the party lost its grip on government in 2006 and 2008 is that members were insufficiently Republican. Like Democrats, they sought to follow the demands of the masses and big media, instead of leading the masses where their best interests lie -- in the direction of liberty, not larger and suffocating government.
"Republicans have got to stand for something," says Pence. Indeed they do. But what is it for which they stand? And if Republicans fulfill Pence's prediction and regain power, what will they do with it this time?
In an "open letter to friends and supporters" in which he explained his decision not to run for the Senate, but seek re-election to his House seat, Pence explained why he took the job of chairman of the House Republican Conference one year ago: "I accepted that responsibility because I believed that if Republicans returned to their conservative roots, they could win back the confidence of the American people. And I see it happening every day."
The country faces staggering debt and, according to Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf, the nation's budget outlook is "on an unsustainable path." Retreating GOP House members had better start embracing those conservative roots and fast, if they want to advance in November and in 2012.