Since it is the proximate cause of this blog, I will write one post specifically on the Republican loss of Congress this past Tuesday.
There is no need to rehearse the disappointing performance of this Congress. For more on that, see the pre-mortem at Instapundit.
Glenn doesn’t say enough about President Bush, though. I think this election was lost on one issue, progress in Iraq. I’ve been a firm supporter of the War on Terror and the war in Iraq. I’m not changing now. By historical standards, the Iraqis are making fair progress. We need to hear about that. Leaders need to over-communicate, and President Bush is not delivering a clear and consistent message. This is partly because of today’s cacophony of information and commentary, but a leader should lead.
Case in point: Monday, the day before the election, I got a mass email from a relative whose politics are fairly far left. He forwarded a link to a recent Time.com reprint of “The Secret Letter from Iraq.” (I read this “secret” letter in September, on Blackfive.) Said my relative: “For the first time in years, I actually feel a bit of optimism about Iraq.” He is a professional, self-employed knowledge worker, and a lovely person. But because of his social and professional circles and his media consumption, he has apparently not gotten the full picture on Iraq. This email was new information. What he does see is spun (note Time’s headline and gloss) and two months late. Yet even this crumb of encouragement was a breath of fresh air to him. Why is he getting this information only now?
I got to hear John Fund speak a few weeks ago. He said that media cocooning was not a problem because it is so easy to find out what the other side is saying. I’m not sure. Press conferences, speeches at bases, and Tony Snow don’t make a megaphone anymore.
Maybe I’m wrong, and the election’s hinge was more than a single issue. Maybe if the Republican Congress had cleaved to its ideals, its base would have come to the rescue. Maybe this loss will benefit Republicans in the long run. Maybe they will be forced to resort to ideas and ideals.
The Republican Party has two years to come up with new leaders and ideas, or succumb to a decade or so of minority status. As Michael Barone said today on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, 1994 and the Reagan years were great, but today brings new problems and different demographics. The answers are right at our fingertips, in the heritage of the party since the 1950s and since its founding: equality of opportunity, clean and limited government, strong defense, free markets and free trade, the competition of ideas.
Finally, I’m not worried about horrible Democratic legislation destroying the Union. I will be very sorry if we rush out of Iraq. All political capital is character, and what sort of national character is expressed by abandoning your client to the regional hegemony of Iran and Syria?
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This blog marks my return to political activity after nearly ten years of relative indifference. It has been a long time coming. So, welcome. I’m glad you took the time to visit. This blog won’t be only politics – more on that later.
And one last thought: Happy Veterans Day. Thank you, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.