Tony Blankley

And so the inter-party struggle pauses, if briefly, and the intra-party struggles begin. After such a profound shift of political power as resulted from this week's election, both the winning and losing parties will inevitably enter a prolonged period (months, perhaps years) where each party's factions -- both ideological and other -- and their interest groups, will struggle to gain advantage and dominance within their party.

The Republicans will argue amongst themselves why they lost and how to win next time, and the Democrats will argue amongst themselves why they won, and how to continue winning next time. At the same time personalities in each party will seek to become leaders (both nominal, in the Congressional caucus leadership elections, and actual leaders of the hearts and minds of their parties. The latter category is not restricted to senators and congressmen, but will include party activists, theoreticians, governors and 2008 presidential aspirants).

In those intra-party arguments, logic, reason and facts will be tempered by factional or personal interest. For instance, in the Democratic Party, the centrists will argue that they won the election because of centrist candidates; thus they may argue not only for centrist policy initiatives and at least the appearance of gestures to bipartisanship, but also for somewhat restrained oversight hearings of the Bush administration. Thus, by proving themselves responsible and moderate, they will argue, the public will see the Democrats as ready to lead at the presidential level in 2008. (A plausible claim.)

The liberal, anti-war, activist, Internet-driven base will claim that passionate anti-war, anti-Bush voters drove the Republicans out of office. (Also a plausible claim.) Anything less than highly aggressive oversight hearings (and perhaps radical health care reform and tax-the-rich legislation), they will argue, will only prove to their electorate that the Democratic Party is still the business-money driven, principle-bankrupt party it has been since Bill Clinton took it over. The Democrats cannot be powerfully partisan on the oversight hearings and simultaneously appear to be bipartisan -- as seen either under the dome or in the public eye.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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