Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dispirited Republicans Retiring from Congress

The number of Republicans in Congress who have announced that they are retiring or seeking other offices may reach a record this year. After becoming a minority in the last congressional elections, the GOP has struggled to find its message. Fundraising is lagging the Democrats, and even party insiders admit that the party once known for its incredible message unity and discipline is in disarray.

[Republican consultant David] Johnson said Republicans "haven't adapted to life in the minority" and that the party lacked a cohesive strategy to rebound. He gave credit to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who offers a very different public image from that of Newt Gingrich, the former Georgia congressman who led the House after Republicans won control in 1994. That's the last time the parties traded control.

"Part of the Republican problem right now that I see as a strategist is our communications effort," Johnson said. "We don't have any good communicators. We don't seem to stay on message. We come across as grumpy old men. I hate to say it, but that's part of the problem. We're not telegenic on TV. We're going against Nancy Pelosi, who could be damaged but — I have to take my hat off to her — she's done an excellent job with the media. Nothing seems to stick on her like everything stuck on Newt Gingrich."

Speaking of grumpy old men, it doesn't sound like the Republicans are banking on McCain having any coattails. Although McCain is considered a moderate, a sizable majority of the retiring GOP, at least ten seats, belong to the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership. The RMSP states that its mission is:

...to promote thoughtful leadership in the Republican Party, and to partner with individuals, organizations and institutions that share centrist values.

The Partnership is comprised of party members and public officials who are fiscally conservative deficit hawks. The Partnership is working to Grow Our Party through a pragmatic approach to governing that reaches out to a broad base of Americans who share the Republican ideals of fiscal responsibility and limited government......

Well, you can certainly see why they're anxious to get outa town. Try spinning Bush's last 7 years in light of those goals.

For a list of the congressmen retiring or running for other offices, click here. No Texans are on this list.

Update: Judith at Castle Hills Democrats has a recent post that does a good job summarizing the trouble Republicans have defending their legislative accomplishments over the last few years. Yes, this is Bush's legacy, but he couldn't have succeeded without a Republican Congress marching lock step with him on every bad policy decision. We are a poorer nation now on many levels than we were when George bullied his way to the White House. The question is: Are we any wiser?

1 comment:

Judith Ford said...

Thanks for the nod. The Republicans can learn some valuable lessons from the total destruction of their party by Bush & Co...but will they? I won't hold my breath. Even as we speak, the evangelical arm of the party (which is the minority) are loudly trying to call the shots.