12 October 2006

Today's rant: Losing might be a good thing

I'm as fiercely competitive as anyone, and I hate losing. I'm also as Republican as they come, so you can imagine how I feel about the upcoming elections. With many close races in both the House and Senate, there remains a possibility that the Democrats may take over control of the House (possible) and/or Senate (possibly but less likely). Republicans have controlled Congress since the midterm elections in 1994 and the White House since 2001. The Supreme Court is a somewhat mixed bag, but the Rehnquist Court was generally conservative, too. So in a sense, we (as Republicans) have controlled all three branches of government.

In that time, I think we've let the power get to our heads.

Instead of reducing the budget, we've continued needless pork-barrel spending. Tax cuts are nice, but without spending cuts the deficit has reared its ugly head. Going from a surplus under Clinton to a deficit under Bush doesn't exactly make us look very good at running the government. I know 9/11 and its impact on the economy has something to do with that, but on the other hand the Congress has made little effort to control spending.

The Mark Foley incident continues to unfold, but it seems to me the House leadership was hoping it would just "go away" instead of dealing with the issue. I don't think there was a conspiracy here to cover things up, but the power issue may have clouded some judgments.

If Republicans were to maintain control of the House and the Senate, even by very small margins, they would see the result as a justification for everything they've done. They would believe they have been vindicated. However, losing the House and/or the Senate would be a jolt to Republicans in Congress and the White House. It would serve as an important reality check for the Republicans that they'd better get things right or 2008 is already a losing cause.

Since 2001 the Democrats have been horrible with their policy agenda. Instead of being for something, they've always been against something. Being against something doesn't win elections. If they took control of the House and/or Senate, would they finally be for something?

The reality here is that the prize is 2008, not 2006. Losing the House and/or Senate next month might be the reality check for Republicans to regroup, reformulate their agenda, and return the party to its roots so that the White House can be ours in 2008.
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