Charlie Klinge

Republicans are rightfully depressed by the reelection of President Obama and for the failure of the Republican Party to take the majority in the Senate. I have read much and heard much. But, I have heard very little about the Republicans expressing contrition for their past failures and very little that demonstrates that today’s Republican Party leaders recognize the causes of those past failures.

No one should be surprised by Obama’s reelection. He was a very popular candidate who swept into office in 2008 and he was a formidable incumbent this year. The only reason Romney had a chance was because of Obama’s radical agenda and incompetence. Had Obama been even somewhat moderate in approach, then he would have won overwhelmingly. Obama apparently had enough charm and rhetoric to avoid President Carter’s fate even on a similarly dismal record.

Again, this year’s result should not come as a surprise. Some people sadly foretold this result after the 2006 mid-term elections when Republican failures resulted in a Democrat takeover of the House and Senate. The Republicans were in desperate shape at that moment to win in 2008, and losing 2008 would likely mean a Democrat President through 2016 due to the power of incumbency alone.

But, what were those Republican failures? Bush was elected in 2000 but in a historically close contest and took over a White House that had been home to unspeakable abominations—yet those were all spoken. Bush had majorities in the House and the Senate, but the latter lasted only until June when Jeffords switched and Tom Daschle became Senate Majority Leader. It was a difficult start and then Bush and the country were literally smacked with 9/11. Bush was by far the right person, the right leader, to be our President to deal with the 9/11 attacks. The following years resulted in greatly improved security due to Legislation passed with his leadership. Not all perfect, but there was action and on the whole we felt more secure and we are more secure as a result. The wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq were approved by Congress, but nevertheless, the Bush Doctrine must shoulder whatever praise or criticism that history rightfully imposes.

But, the problem is what else did the Republicans accomplish during the Bush years? The Republicans maintained the House majority and took back the Senate in 2002 giving them full control from 2003-2006. Those were the years that Ted Stevens led the Senate and Denny Hastert was Speaker of the House.

We got the Bush tax cuts . . .

We got No Child Left Behind including “massive increases” in federal funding for teacher training etc.


Charlie Klinge

Charlie Klinge is a property rights attorney in Bellevue, Washington, and former vice-chair of the King County Republican Party.