Recently we've seen endless articles about how lost and disorganized the national Republican Party is and how the future for Republicans looks bleak. Well, that may or may not be the case. What many who believe the Obama administration and the Democratically controlled House will fail don't recognize is that President Obama, despite encountering a rough ride as of late, remains popular with much of the nation.
If Obama loses steam, it will be under the scenario I recounted in my book "Paranoid Nation," one in which he has admittedly liberal policies turned into darn near socialist ones by a speaker of the House who represents one of the most liberal districts in America and has nothing to lose in pushing his policies farther to the left.
It was a similarly strong House speaker, Tip O'Neill, who had his way with Jimmy Carter, weakening Carter to the point that Ted Kennedy was able to challenge the incumbent president and set him up for a pummeling by Ronald Reagan.
That scenario may or may not repeat itself over the next four years. Certainly even news organizations such as Newsweek report that the stimulus package became a free-for-all once it reached the House, and pointedly noted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi imposed her politics on the bill to a point that President Obama had no hope of any bipartisan support.
But four or even two years is a long time in politics. And Republicans, or even conservatives and Libertarians who have abandoned the GOP but most likely must hope for the revival of the party in the next few years, can't build their party up by simply knocking the other party down.
As I've noted before, the only times I've seen Republicans take control of government is when they had not only policies they could attack, but truly bold ideas they were proposing. Just uttering the phrase "tax cuts" won't win elections anytime soon. The GOP must be bold or prepare to be lost in the wilderness for years to come. Rather than simply make observations, let me set forth the foundation for a new agenda for Republicans.
First, they should return to the GOP's one-time position that term limits are a good thing for the U.S. House and Senate. If you want evidence, look no further than Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Byrd was quirky and smitten with the "exclusive nature of the Senate" even back in the early 1980s, when I worked as a Senate staffer. Now, besides being the king of pork, he is also completely out of touch with the real world.