Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Ken Mehlman’s Advice is Good for the GOP: Energize the Base, Don’t Become Agnostic on Bush’s Program. If You Do, Remember `54.

Ken Mehlman’s advice to Republicans meeting in Colorado is, of course, the right advice: (1) there will be losses in Congress in the off-year; (2) strive to run campaigns that energize the base rather than panic and court votes by being “independent” of the national administration; (3) running a campaign like, say (this isn’t Mehlman saying this but me) Bill Brady who tried going agnostic on Topinka but leveled firing power on Oberweis, spurs a confusion in the base that causes it to either stay home or drift elsewhere.

The fact is that the biggest unifying element in the Republican message is the chaos the Democrats present on foreign and domestic policy. All you have to do to gain Republican base unity is to speak about potential House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who is even opposed, secretly, by Rahm Emanuel as being too dovish. Here in Illinois, one of the farthest left incumbents (my own Congressman) is Jan Schakowsky who is at least two notches to the left of Howard Dean. Believe it or not she’s teamed up in a campaign appearance with, believe it or not, John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the multi-decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam who made national headlines urging an immediate pull-out from Iraq. Their foreign-defense policies are rendered indistinguishable—get-out-with-the-white-flag-flying-and-run-as-fast-as-you-can.

Marrying those two together does a disservice to ideologies both have to-date represented: Schakowsky’s and Murtha’s. Schakowsky is a pretty vibrant character, a Molly Pitcher of the left, loading the cannonades, campaigning in the brie-and-white-wine suburbs as a full blown Deaniac, decrying “huge” military spending, the White House’s “domestic spying” program—in short becoming a walking-talking replica of the ACLU position paper to which is added the economic philosophy of “The Nation” magazine.

She decries tax cuts for “the wealthy” and massive spending in behalf of a Marshall Plan for energy plus even more ferocious programs for affirmative action and wide open doors for illegal immigrants. Socially, she’s for gay marriage with all the trimmings. Now one of Schakowsky is not bad if you’re a guilt-ridden exurbanite because you can smoke funny weeds, fly the black flag of anarchy and sing the Internationale. But teaming her with Murtha who is a jowly old soldier and Pentagon shill who very late has come to get the dove religion? It’s bound to turn off both the lefties and the moderates because the cynicism reigns supreme.

Bad as the Republican status is, it’s not difficult to carve out additions to the base after hearing those two: they are an impossible marriage politically, and accomplished through the machinations of Pelosi, not Rahm Emanuel who is far more astute than to tolerate that nonsense. Running as a Republican you cite those two, the wildness of Schakowsky and the rather cynical late-hour espousal of the left by Murtha. Following which it shouldn’t be difficult to calculate the wreckage the economy would find itself in with the Ways and Means chairmanship of Charlie Rangel who would replace the retiring intellectually peerless ex-economic prof Bill Thomas. And that’s only for starters.

I am far less pessimistic about Republican chances than are some of the professional prognosticators. The only way the Republicans can lose control of Congress is to be panicked into a stampede, the way they were in 1954 (pardon a senior citizen’s allusion) when because of moderate depression on the farms in the Midwest, Engine Charlie’s misinterpreted comments about GM and some minor league scandals, they ran like scared antelopes with Republicans calling for high price supports and turning tail on their administration. The turn-off deflected the GOP turn-out and the Dems were elected. Take the leaders of Congress a Democratic victory would produce: Hang-Dog Harry Reid who frequently has to wipe his nose with a Kleenex (better than his sleeve which he has been known to do) and Nancy Pelosi who has difficulty smiling because of the Botox tightening her facial muscles. Yes, we have defections in our group: those who voted for those two presidential winners Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul…but generally with an aggressive marketing campaign we should be all right. Bring `em on, I say!


  1. Glenn Poshard - Democrat and I doubt you will be voting for JBT either. You know better than party right or wrong and I don't think we were "spoiled children" when casting those votes.

    I hope the Republicans retain congress for the simple fact that it is the lesser of two evils. Republicans have become what they campaigned against in 1994 - a fat, bloated, corrupt enabler of spend, spend, spend. The only difference on the spending issue is Democrats want to raise taxes and spending whereas Republicans want a future generation to pay.

    Maybe the Republican Party finds religion in time to keep both houses this fall. If they want to win in 2006 and beyond they better return to their abandoned principles of less government and fight for THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER vs. creating the THIRD LARGEST WELFARE PROGRAM IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

    Once you abandon principals, you abandon the support of the American people and your own credibility. The poll numbers reflect this. 2006 is THE final wakeup call for house and senate leadership that quite frankly may not be up to the task.

    Republicans have a few months to determine if they do in fact have a spine and if so to show the American people that Republicans do stand for something and will fight for their principles and for a better America – for today and for future generations who will be burdened with our ever growing debt ($8.363 trillion + $76 trillion in unfunded entitlements which would be on the books on any company’s balance sheet but is regrettably absent on the national ledger).

  2. I voted Buchanan in the primary (2000) but Bush in the general election. My 2004 vote for Bush was much harder to cast but unfortunately the lesser of two evils came into play again.

  3. Murtha's comments aren't nearly as cynical to America as Bush's use of the 9/11 tragedy to promote budget busting, pre-emptive & unsuccessful overthrow strategies.