The WSJ editorializes on exactly what the Republican Party needs to do. It's rather simple:
As they lick their wounds, Republicans are no doubt wondering what went wrong and what to do now. The answers aren't all that complicated: Revive the reform convictions that earned them power in the 1990s, and start that process in the House of Representatives by electing a new slate of leaders.
Of course, there's always the possibility that the current Republican leadership, in its zeal to hold onto power, will manage to ignore the lessons of this election cycle and actually get themselves reelected. That would be a disaster. There is no quicker way to completely demoralize the base than to keep the same guys in power who steered us into Big Government Conservatism in the first place.
Pence and Shadegg, guys. Pence and Shadegg. Do what's right for the party. Do what's right for the people who have supported you for the past 12 years.
When did they lose their way? I think you'll remember the moment as well as the WSJ does:
If we had to pick the precise moment when House Republicans lost their way, it would be three years ago during the floor vote over the Medicare prescription drug bill. So unpopular was the bill among conservatives, and rightly so, that House leaders kept the vote open for an unheard of three hours as they dragooned reluctant Members to vote aye.
The good news is that a younger generation does seem to be stepping forward. Mike Pence, of Indiana, has already declared for minority leader, and John Shadegg of Arizona is seeking the number two job as whip. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Jeff Flake of Arizona (see his essay nearby) are among the other Members who have tried to put ideas above mere incumbency. Republican Members will make up their own minds, but their willingness to consider new leadership will say a lot about the lessons they've learned from this week's drubbing.
Do NOT mess this up, guys. Pence and Shadegg. We need new blood, real bad, and these guys have proved themselves as supporters of the things we actually believe. And, the things we actually believe are still winners:
Yet this week a separate poll found that 59% of Americans still favor fewer government services and lower taxes compared with 28% who favor more government services and higher taxes. "Big government conservatism" was a nice think-tank proposition; it merely lacks support from actual voters.Pence and Shadegg.