Sunday, November 19, 2006

Election Post-mortem: Newt's 4 Cs and Armey's "Dead Skunk"

Newt's 4 "Cs"
If you been keeping up with the Sentinel, then you know that I've advocated for the return of Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey to the intellectual head of the Republican Party. A few days after the election, Newt spoke to the Alabama Policy Institute and offered, not only his analysis of the 2006 election, but also a "way forward."

Newt outlines the 4 "Cs" of the Republican debacle: Competence, Candor, Corruption, and Consultants. See the video here.

Important: You'll also want to see Newt's Open Memo to House Republicans, in which he enumerates the questions and principles that must be addressed if we are to return the majority.

Also, see CNSNews story - Gingriach Says Historic Challange Face Americans - on Newt's address to GOPAC

By the way, Newt will appear on Fox News Sunday - following John Kerry. It should be instructive.

Pre-order for Newt's new book - The Art of Transformation - is now available.

Armey's "Dead Skunk"
On the same day that Newt spoke in Alabama - Nov. 9th - Dick Armey offered his post-mortem in the WSJ and declared the end of the Republican Revolution of 1984.

If there was still any doubt, the Republican Revolution of 1994 officially ended Tuesday night with the loss of at least 28 seats and majority control of the House of Representatives. As I write this, the race in Virginia that will determine if the Republicans also lose control of the Senate is too close to call, but leaning Democrat.

It was a rout.

How did we get here? The war in Iraq and historical voting patterns that favor the opposition party in off-year elections are factors suggested by many post-election pundits. Certainly, the mounting problems in Iraq were on voters' minds, but
responsibility for the conduct of the war lies with the executive branch, and
President Bush was not on the ballot.

That said, this was a national election, driven by national issues. One big issue in exit polls suggests widespread voter backlash against the "culture of corruption." There is something to this, I think. Over time, too many Republicans in the governing majority forgot or abandoned their national vision, letting parochial interests dominate the decision-making process.

In laying out a simple prescription for recovery, Armey cautioned Republicans - "don't go back and check on a dead skunk.

Moving forward, my advice to Republicans is simple: Don't go back and check on a
dead skunk. The question Republicans now need to answer is: How do we once again
convince the public that we are in fact the party many Democrats successfully pretended to be in this election? To do so, Republicans will need to shed their dominant insecurities that the public just won't understand a positive, national vision that is defined by economic opportunity, limited government and individual responsibility.

We need to remember Ronald Reagan's legacy and again stand for positive, big ideas that get power and money out of politics and government bureaucracy and back into the hands of individuals. We also need again to demonstrate an ability to be good stewards of the taxpayers' hard-earned money. If Republicans do these things, they will also restore the public's faith in our standards of personal conduct. Personal responsibility in public life follows naturally if your goal is good public policy.

Besides the obvious impact on the House and Senate, Tuesday's elections will no doubt redefine the Republican field going into early presidential primary states like
Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. It will be up to grassroots activists in those battlegrounds to establish a constituency of expectations that anyone aspiring to be the next president of the United States must satisfy. To voters I say: Demand substance and you will get it. To Republican candidates for office I say: Offer good policy and you will create a winning constituency for lower taxes, less government and more freedom.

Republicans would do well to digest these critiques, and than build upon this sage advice.

See Dick Armey's interview in U.S. News and World Report here.

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