(1) Humility is the key to success
It's a life lesson with particular application here. John Boehner and Marco Rubio have made a refreshing start, acknowledging that the GOP gains are not
"all about" Republicans. Rather, voters are offering Republicans a second chance. So let's not waste it.
But along with humility toward the larger electorate and country as a whole, within the GOP, Republican establishment types and Tea Partiers might also want to make some acknowledgements, at least to themselves. However disappointing it was to see otherwise winnable Senate seats fall because of inexperienced or controversial Tea Party-backed candidates, without the Tea Party, the GOP would still be flat on its face in many ways. On the other hand, the Tea Party might want to acknowledge that well-intentioned, principled establishment types might, on occasion, have accumulated knowledge and wisdom worth heeding. (Listening and learning isn't selling out. You listen, learn, then do what you believe is best for the country.)(2) Ignore victimization politics / media madness.
The press will start right in trying to push Republicans into difficult positions -- "so, what are you going to cut first?" (the political equivalent to "when did you stop beating your wife?"). Just don't play. And refuse to be drawn into distractions like comparing press coverage of Obama and Boehner, or how liberals mistreat conservative women. We all know these people, how they operate and where their sympathies lie. Increasingly, so do Americans. Instead, just keep EDUCATING Americans on what the GOP is really doing -- and why (thank heaven now there are outlets to do it with!). Eyes on the prize, friends -- a freer, more prosperous America for all.(3) Be mindful of unions' powers.
California and Massachusetts voters can only shake their heads at their electoral outcomes. Is it a coincidence that unions -- and, esp. in California, government employee unions -- are incredibly powerful? Query whether government unions should be able to use taxpayer money to lobby for an increasingly irresponsible and taxpayer-hostile agenda
(obviously, its individual members should be able to do as they please, with their own money). And after last night's debacle, it's clear to me that only a "celebrity candidate" -- with built-in name-id and a positive image -- is likely to win as a Republican.(4) Regain the public trust.
With its behavior regarding ObamaCare -- employing legislative chicanery and ignoring the clearly expressed public will -- the outgoing Congress perpetrated a real abuse against our representative democracy, which only operates on the theory that our public servants will heed and honor the wishes of those they are supposed to represent (especially when, as with health care, people were well-informed on the issues and there was no national emergency that required urgent action). It's time to regain public trust. There are some big structural changes I hope that Republicans can make -- but they need to form the consensus that Obama and the Democrats were too arrogant to bother with. America deserves better than they got. Let's hope the GOP acts with honor and respect for all Americans.
If there were any lessons to come out of yesterday's elections, I'm thinking that they are these: