I was asked recently what lesson should the GOP have learned from the results of the 2006 Mid-Term elections. That’s easy: You can’t please everyone, but you sure can make them all mad at you at the same time!
Voters are not in the mood for petty political bickering or platitudes about “hope”. In fact, they are more skeptical of so called “political solutions” and even more negative about the direction the country is taking than they were in November 2006. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that more American voters now think their children will be worse off than they are.
These factors, among others, are setting the stage for this November’s crucial state and local elections. Keep in mind, the stakes were already high due to the fact that the governors and state senators elected this November in New Jersey, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky will decide the shape of the legislative and congressional maps after the next census. Consequently, the election results will now also serve as an important indicator of what’s at stake for both parties in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections.
With an overwhelming majority of voters seeking answers and progress on the challenges we face, Republican and Democrat candidates cannot simply expect their respective base to achieve victories. In order to win, candidates will have to communicate a message that is not bound by party lines, but in fact pulls us together through a common vision that speaks to our prosperity and our security.
In my travels for state and local candidates, I am seeing a new generation of Republican leaders emerge who are serious about fiscal stewardship and who respect the opinions of those with whom they may not always agree. I am meeting Republicans who reflect more and more the communities they come from and who are speaking with clarity on the issues that matter in the everyday lives of individuals and families.
This new generation of Republican leaders realizes that there is no magic formula, no secret potion nor handshake that will make our Party more attractive to voters. Our success, they correctly surmise, rests in demonstrating our commitment to strong families, a strong economy and a safe and secure world.