American Thinker | Jonathan D. Strong | May. 15, 2008
Republicans are and should be panicked over the fact that conservative Democrat Travis Childers just defeated Republican Greg Davis by a margin of 54%-46% in the race for a vacant Mississippi congressional seat. That seat is in a conservative district that had given President Bush a 25-point margin of victory over John Kerry in 2004 – it never should have flipped Democrat. This is the third double-digit loss in a row for Republican candidates in conservative districts across the United States.
Childers’ victory came one week after Rep. Don Cazayoux won a House seat in the Baton Rouge, La., area that had been in Republican hands for three decades. Over the winter, Rep. Bill Foster won an election in Illinois to succeed former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who had been in Congress more than 20 years.
What we’re watching is the culmination of the decade-plus deterioration of the conservative Republican brand. Put simply, no one, including base conservatives, trusts the Republicans to govern effectively while following anything even faintly resembling a conservative platform.
That’s unfortunate, since the only time that the Republicans really took the country by storm was in 1994, when they all ran on a set of firm, well established conservative values and issues. When the GOP strayed from that, falling back on the Democratic Party tradition of retaining power through excessive pork barrel spending and questionable ethical practices, they first lost seats – then lost their majorities. To regain what they have thrown away they must return to those conservative principles. If successful, they then must reject the compromising allure of power and promise to govern in the future as conservatives, not as the Democratic Party Lite.
That conservatism is no longer an effective belief system and governing method for the Republicans is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Without anyone in the GOP publicly promoting conservative ideology and a true conservative agenda as a solution to our problems, how do we know that it won’t work? When it’s been tried in the past, it’s attracted enthusiastic supporters and voters – and been quite successful.
Waiting for another Ronald Reagan is foolish – he was one of a kind. But there are new conservative leaders on the horizon, such as Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. The problem is that up and coming national leaders like Jindal are in the future, not present. The current GOP leadership is merely treading water. The House Leadership just announced their “new” message in the wake of the GOP’s special election losses: “Change You Deserve”. Unfortunately, their message sounds suspiciously similar to the message that the Democrats used to win in 2006 and are working on today. And lost upon the Republican leadership is the irony that the faces behind their latest “change” are the same faces that “changed” the GOP from the majority party to the minority two years ago. Voters will recognize that.
The national GOP has fallen for the media lie that voters across America want a ‘moderate’, as opposed to a conservative, Republican Party. Unfortunately, that’s also the philosophy behind the Presidential campaign of John McCain. McCain might very well become the next President, but it will be more because of the inadequacies of his opponent than any wellspring of support for his governing philosophy or ideology.
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