A series of stories, statements, and hurried denials from Republicans this week should have served to alert every sitting Republican member of Congress that, even if November 2 brings good or even great news, November 3 should not be a day of backslapping old friends and celebrating the return of chairmanships and budgeting authority.
On the day after the GOP leadership should gather and announce their intention to begin planning both to (1) block anything except minimalist measures in the lame duck session of the most-profligate and destructive Congress of modern times and (2) to develop the agenda for early January. They ought as well to pledge maximum transparency in those deliberations. A very smart move would be to designate a senior spokesman for each caucus whose job it will be to inform the public what the plan is for going forward. If two respected conservatives come forward each day with a summary of the planning --say Senator Jon Kyl and Congressman Paul Ryan-- the deep concern over the return of "Beltway Conservatism" will be assuaged for at least the few weeks it takes to formulate an agenda for confronting President Obama with the demand for fiscal responsibility and repeal of Obamacare that will be the mandate of a victory on November 2.
Push out the details. Get into the legislative weeds. Respect the voters who may provide a mandate and do not in any way adopt any of the arrogance and condescension which has come to define Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's tenure in Congressional leadership.
Disaster awaits the GOP if either a "go slow" or a "compromise" strategy on either spending or Obamacare emerge from either the Senate or the House caucus. Congressman Darrell Issa, usually a resolute, principled conservative, ignited a firestorm this week when he declared that it was "pretty clear" that "the American people expect us to use the existing gridlock to create compromise and advance their agenda." This is a head-shaken misstatement of national mood, a classic, wrongful refighting of the last war --the Clinton-Gingrich confrontation of 15 years ago.