There's no way to know for sure how many new Republicans are going to end up in D.C. as a result of this year's election, but we can be sure that there is going to be one hell of a lot of them. While that's certainly a step in the right direction, we saw far too many Republicans in the Bush years who were seduced by the siren song of the liberal media, tempted by the lure of power, and confused by the swamp gas in the D.C. bubble.
Today, some of those same people are comforting themselves by pretending that the problem was that the country was snookered by Barack Obama. Yes, Obama and the Democrats had to lie to get elected. Yes, the country has now seen them for the socialists that they are and, yes, the country has rejected their agenda.
However, the fact of the matter is that the people don't like or trust the Republican Party either -- and they shouldn't. The GOP did a TERRIBLE job during the Bush years and in all honesty, the party richly deserved to be clobbered in 2006 and 2008. Granted, the Democrats may have done an even worse job over the last couple of years than the GOP did during the Bush years, but the American people are tired of being asked to choose between the lesser of two evils. The variations on the "We're not quite as mediocre as the other guys" campaign slogans have gotten really old and tired over the last few years.
That's the real reason why third rate mediocrities like Lisa Murkowski, Mike Castle, Dede Scozzafava, Arlen Specter, Bob Inglis, Bob Bennett, and Charlie Crist have been rejected by the conservative grassroots. A candidate with an (R) beside his name may be more likely to do the right thing than a candidate with a (D) beside his name, but the Tea Parties have now served notice that an (R) alone isn't enough to merit their support.
So, what do conservatives want? They want to see ethical conservative leadership from politicians who listen to the people and have the courage of their convictions. They also want to see Republicans in D.C. who will live and die by these principles:
Honest, ethical, clean government is job one: Even if you set aside doing the right thing and looking out for the country, stringent ethics rules help Republicans more than Democrats. Because Democrats are less judgmental, less critical of each other, and because their liberal pals in the press look out for them, the Dems tend to have a lot more crooks, sleazebags, and perverts in their ranks than the GOP does. So, if we ramp the ethics rules all the way up to the maximum, not only will it help bring back honest government, it will help turn the corruption that riddles the Democratic Party against them.
First, make your base happy; then reach for the middle: This may be the single most basic rule in politics, but half the Republicans in D.C. don't seem to get it. If the people who give you money, put your yard signs up, stuff your envelopes, and make phone calls for you are disappointed in your performance, then you've got a real problem. Make those people happy first; then if you feel like you have to split with them to reach out to moderates, break with your biggest supporters on issues that don't get their blood boiling. Why this is such a baffling concept to some Republicans in Congress, I'll never know.
You're not smarter than everybody else in the country: One of the more bizarre tics of Americans politics of late has been the towering daddy-knows-best arrogance of politicians in D.C. In the last few years, we've seen both parties insist on pushing legislation that is absolutely despised by most of the American people. Yet, despite the fact that the people have flipped out at townhall meetings and called until the Capitol Hill switchboard has melted down, the message we've gotten from D.C. is, "We know best; so do what we say and you'll thank us later."
Consultants and lickspittle staffers may disagree, but outside the D.C. bubble, there seems to be very little evidence that shows politicians in D.C. are hyper-competent super geniuses who are capable of seeing hidden trends nobody in flyover country can pick out. So, a word to the wise: Politicians should try to vote their conscience and do what's best, but if the American people are screaming "stop" at the top of their lungs, it would be wise to respect their wishes if only because they are your employers.
You weren't elected to centralize more power in D.C.: We live in a world where the federal government is too big, too involved in the lives of the American people, and it spends way too much. Moreover, for every 50 new laws the government passes, 49 will do little of note at best and will hurt more than they help at worst. That's why the goal of Republicans in Congress shouldn't be to get government to work; it should be to get government off our backs. If Congress did nothing for the next 10 years but roll back laws on the books, slash regulations, and reduce the power of the federal government, it would do far more good than passing 1000 new laws.
Remember, we don't have all the time in the world: Many Americans are TERRIFIED by what they see going on in Washington. They believe our government is corrupt, the country is rapidly moving towards socialism, and they think that unless we do something right now, future generations of Americans won't have the same opportunities we do today.
It's extremely frustrating for those Americans, who see a tidal wave coming right at this country, to look to D.C. and see Republicans who come across like they're enjoying a lazy Sunday float down the river in an inner tube. This is the most dangerous time for our country's future since WWII and we need Republicans in D.C. who not only SAY that they get it; we need Republicans in D.C. who VOTE like they get it.
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