I've told readers before that in 1980, the national Republican establishment despised Ronald Reagan. But I've neglected to point out that until he and Jimmy Carter debated on national television rather late in the campaign, Carter was leading in most polls by nearly double digits.
What changed so quickly? It was simple. Republicans and swing-voting Democrats and Independents watched the debate and heard a man, Reagan, with a new message; one that they could see that he really believed in. They knew somehow he was a man on a mission -- a mission for them, not for himself.
What will the Republican Parry need to do if Nov. 4 turns into the sort of repudiation that puts comedians like Al Franken in the U.S. Senate and gives so-called "Red States" over to Barack Obama?
Clean house. Every last Republican elected official should consider whether they have stayed in politics so long as to become a mirror of what they sought to replace. Fresh, new candidates will have to find the courage to challenge Republican incumbents in primaries, with the hope being that the dinosaurs of the party won't have the energy to fight for another in a long succession of terms of elected positions.
Sarah Palin may have been a mistake as far as giving an already edgy electorate the idea that the Republicans could not provide effective leadership in the tough times to come. But make no mistake: Palin and the many others like her who have yet to emerge are the future of the GOP. It's not Palin's ideology that energizes the party and captivates the interest of the rest of the nation. It's her humanity.
Let the house of cards collapse. Torch the gilded thrones. Let the Potomac Fever break into a cold sweat. Then the GOP can rebuild its whole party. Trust me, nothing can be more fun or rewarding than having a cause greater than one's own personal political greed.
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