November 08, 2006

Open Letter To The Error-gant Republicans!

Dear Republican Party:

I'm betting that right now you are wondering what happened? Wondering how did we come so low in only 12 years when it took the Democrats 40 years to betray the trust of the voting public and lose the house. Why, we had the "Contract With America" and we had tax cuts and we had a war time President who had such high ratings just 5 short years ago. Well, I'll tell you what went wrong folks: You did.

You sat on your fat butts and spent like you were democrats. You refused to fight for the principles you were elected on. You broke your promise to the American people and they remembered that when they went into the voting booth. You fell down on the job.

Oh sure, you did some good things, but almost each and every time you rolled over for the Democrats and all but apologized for doing it. Need an example? When you passed the Tax Cut the Democrats took the high road and said "Tax cuts for the rich," and you rolled over and let them get away with it. When the war in Iraq started going less than perfectly, the Democrats said "no blood for oil" and "Bush lied and people died" and you kept quiet rather than call them out on playing politics in a time of war. When the Democrats and others of their ilk predicted a major meltdown in Afghanistan, you soldiered on and said nothing lest you be proven wrong when you should have stood up, argued for the rightness of the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan and you should have sent a delegation to the President and said, you need to speak out more often, you need to LEAD, but no, you kept quiet.

You seemed like a bunch of simpering high schoolers wanting the Democrats to desperately like you. Well, guess what, they don't, they won't and now they have the power.

You tried to buy things for your district thinking that if it worked for Democrats it should have worked for you. You let disgusting tirades of a United States Senator standing before the greatest deliberative body in the world and whimper that if you didn't let him have money for a bridge he would resign. You needed to stand up to Stevens and say "Fine, quit, you still aren't getting money that is needed elsewhere." but no, you took the money and gave it to Alaska via the back door where they could spend that money just the same.

You let a United States Senator pork up for repairs to a rail road that didn't need repairing. You spent, and spent and then when all the money was gone, you spent some more.

You let the Democrats demonize you on Social Security, on welfare reform, on taxes. Don't you get it, Democrats want the power that you had; and now they have it. You broke the contract with America and you did it in a smug self satisfied way that turned off the voters. Oh, the Democrats will be gloating now, and some of the libs/Dems who are readers here will come in and gloat, and you know what, that's fine because you fell on your sword and let it happen.

You will be tempted to blame the Democrats, the voters, the bloggers, indeed, you will be tempted to blame everyone but yourselves, but that is where the blame lies my friends, on you. There will be much gnashing of teeth and wringint of hands on the right side of the blogosphere, many will decry the victory of the Democrats. But you know what? The Democrats earned every vote they got, they earned it by out manuvering you on every front. The prime piece of evidence of this is that the Democrats had no program except "We're Not Repubicans," and it worked. So think on that for a while if you will.

Many Democrats ran on a more "conservative" ideaololgy than ever and they won big time. You are about to face reality. America wants governance and since you showed you couldn't do it, the Democrats will now get the chance. I don't think they can do it either, they will not have learned the lessons of the last 12 years either and will most likely revert to the usual leftish style that has governed Democratic policy and practice for the last 35 years. And in that reverting you will find your opportunity.

But you could also blow this opportunity. You have two years to get it right, two short years. Quit-chur-bitchin and think what got you elected in the first place, and do it again. Otherwise, lean back and get used to the idea that the Democrats will be in power for a long, long time.

Many months ago, I wrote you another letter here. You didn't listen then, maybe you'll listen now.

You have failed miserably at reforming the way government works. And, I'm not sure you even think we have noticed. You are going blithely about your business as though we were too stupid not to notice. Well, you are wrong. Further, you are wrong on so many counts. We expect good government and we are not getting it with you in charge. If we wanted all this scandal, spending like there is no tomorrow etc., we would have kept the Democrats in place in '94. But, we wanted change. You started off right but quickly lost your way.

So, I'm putting you on notice. You will have to EARN my vote this year, and you have damn little time to do it. You need to clean up your act and you need to start now. Not next week, not next month, not next year. Now!

Remember, I don't need you, I can get some Democrats to do the same thing you are doing (and probably increase my taxes too.) But you need me in a most desperate way. You need my vote!

UPDATE: John Boehner is running for minority leader:

Why we lost seats. I'll be talking with everyone in our Conference in the coming days about how we can rebound. If I haven't talked with you yet, I will soon. Widespread concern about the war in Iraq was clearly a factor, but to my mind the issue was much closer to home. Our voters stopped thinking of us as the party of principle because we lost our commitment to and confidence in our core principles. We fell into the trap of exploiting the marginal advantages of majority control instead of constantly advancing those principles. We got used to talking with those whom we'd already convinced instead of persuading the unpersuaded. We got used to playing not to lose instead of playing to win. And somehow, we grew to accept the notion that we were entitled to continued majority control, instead of having to constantly earn it.
Exactly!! Now, will Boehner make a good leader? That remains to be seen.

Posted by GM Roper at November 8, 2006 07:17 AM | TrackBack

I didn't get farther than the first three paragraphs, but my goodness, aside from the very valid criticism of GOPer fiscal policies, nothing you wrote in the third "money" paragraph is factual or could be substantiated by any evidence - the GOPers haven't accused Dems of playing politics over Iraq? They "rolled over" to the Dems on tax cuts ? The GOP hasn't been gung-ho enough on the war ? The sad thing is how unwilling you obviously are to take any criticism of how badly BushCo has actually performed strategically in these wars seriously - that the problem is that Bush hasn't spoken out, rather than the obvious incompetence of this war council.

Awesome in it's dishonesty and/or ignorance. Nothing personal. But this tirade is embarrassing to read. You constantly claim that I'm some blindered "true believer" - this is about as blindered and oblivious of reality as it gets.

You are in a major state of denial...

Posted by reg at November 8, 2006 07:49 AM

Another Bogus Talking Point: "Many Democrats ran on a more 'conservative' ideaololgy than ever and they won big time."

You've been watching too much Brit Hume. The handful of fairly conservative Democrats who won did so by beating far more conservative Republicans. Chafee lost because of his party identification - it was not a rebuke to his moderate liberalism. Also, the Dems picked up at least nine state houses and a bunch of governorships. The election was a shift in the direction of the moderate left across the board. The only arguable exception is Lieberman who won because he got nearly all of the Republicans in Connecticut to vote for him. Lieberman basically re-ran the Democratic primary in the general election and the GOPers abandoned their man and leaped in to give it to Holy Joe. And Lieberman isn't what I'd consider conservative on most issues aside from Middle East policy and the usual pro-corporate K-Street garbage that afflicts both parties - he got the support of major pro-choice and pro-gay groups. Lieberman is a neo-con "former Henry Jackson Dem" fave, and their stock has dwindled to about zero.

It's going to be fun watching the knives coming out in all directions among GOPers. There's so much unhinged ideology (as reflected in your comments), and so many internal contradictions and long-term bad trending - not to mention the incompetence, scandals and corruptions - that the recriminations are going to be an enjoyable drama for the rest of us who aren't caught in a corner.

Posted by reg at November 8, 2006 08:07 AM

Immigration...they let the ball drop BIG TIME on this too.
I didn't realize just how important this issue is to so many people- and obviously neither did the GOP.

Posted by Raven at November 8, 2006 08:08 AM

Do you know how hard it is to make an MU.NU blog take a trackback??

They don't ever update on the blog rolls either, unless some really nice person throws an occasional 'ping' at em...

Cross posted this at

Looks great GM...

Posted by TexasFred at November 8, 2006 08:28 AM

How many Democrats who won are former Republicans? I think I heard someone say seven.

Posted by Woody at November 8, 2006 08:59 AM

Raven makes a good point on immigration. One of my biggest disappointments and now the problem will get worse. Porkbarrel spending hurt too.

I believe the Republicans could have survived Iraq if it hadn't been for all the other stuff. If the Democrats capture the presidency in two years, I predict another major terrorist attack in the U.S within two years after that.

Maybe, we're going into another cycle like 2 years before Carter was elected.

Posted by DADvocate at November 8, 2006 09:32 AM

Basically I agree with everything Reg said.

If you want to accuse Republicans of abandoning conservative principles, go right ahead. I certainly don't remember Abramoff mentioned in the Contract with America. But the idea that the reason Republicans have lost is because they aren't partisan enough is ridiculous. This administration has pursued partisan ends relentlessly.

2nd, let me add that the "more conservative" Democrats are what is typically called centrists. The only reason you keep referring to them as more conservative is to keep the word "conservative" out there, as if it's mere appearance vindicates or at least attenuates the poor Republican showing.

The conventional wisdom will say that Republicans lost by governing hard to the right and ceeding the center. This time, the conventional wisdom is absolutely right.

Posted by Mavis Beacon at November 8, 2006 10:31 AM

Well GM- you said it. I am one of your Dem readers...but I'm not here to gloat. I don't even want to say "I told you so." You pretty much said it all in your post.

As the only Liberal amongst my circle of friends, I was arguing against Bush's politics and our current state of affairs in Iraq since Day One. Of course, I was always ganged-up on during these arguments and usually the yelling would start. Then comes 2004. A couple of my friends (both who happen to be vets) decided to vote Dem, just to get "anybody in there but Bush."

Now, in 2006, it seems that many voters have flipped- not for the reasons that I would hope- but just like you said: As long as they aren't Republican.

George W. and his stubborn stupidity soured the Republican party to the majority of the United States. Good job George.

Posted by MichaelAZ at November 8, 2006 10:35 AM

Boy, they're coming out of the woodwork like roaches.

We needed more rain.

Very good article:

Posted by Woody at November 8, 2006 10:35 AM

What I hear most loudly from the election results is a call for leadership. While the American public remains sharply (and essentially evenly) divided over the direction this leadership should head (i.e. program), they clearly have repudiated the Faustian bargain between President Bush and the Republican congressional leaders.

In particular, since Mr. Bush took office, rather than exert the power of his office to sell his programs (domestic and foreign), he left it up to Congress to enact his programs into law, relying on party discipline among the majority Republicans. The other half of this bargain, though, is that he abdicated his power to reign in the spending and hubris of the Congressional leaders (tossing away his veto pen in the process) as he was beholden to them to pull his irons out of the fire.

This bargain reminds me of the Biblical "Faustian" bargain between King David and his army commander Joab - and the devastating consequences it had on that nation.

The house of cards finally toppled this year, offering the Democrats the chance to see if they can do a better job of leadership and also offering the Republicans a chance to regain their bearings (and conscience). However, given the centrifugal forces within both major parties, it remains unclear whether coherent policies and effective leadership will result from the political realignments that need to take place.

The more likely consequence, I fear, will be futher disintegration of our democratic institutions into endless bickering and jockeying for transient partisan advantage. Unfortunately, we will not have that luxury for much longer of fiddling while Rome is burning in light of the political, military, and economics forces igniting in the world at large.

Posted by civil truth at November 8, 2006 11:28 AM

...and Rumsfeld just resigned! Finally!

Posted by MichaelAZ at November 8, 2006 11:55 AM

The RINO's had a House/Senate majority Plus the White House, and basically squandered it big time. Oh the things you could have done if only you had had some real leadership. I think most of us got tired of asking "Why don't they just change things? ... they're in control!". Well now the not-so-loyal oppositon is in control 'cause we want to see what they can do since you couldn't do much of anything. Bend over and enjoy it, RINO's - It's about time.

Posted by Vulgorilla at November 8, 2006 12:03 PM

One does have to wonder how the Republicans let it all slip away. Had we merely bombed Iraq instead of going ahead with a full-blown invasion, I think the '06 elections would have turned out very differently. And the country would still be as safe as it is now. Maybe safer.

Posted by e. nonee moose at November 8, 2006 01:53 PM

Did you notice one thing different about this election from other recent ones? The difference is that the losing party didn't whine and complain that their votes weren't counted, that they were blocked at the polls or kept from voting, that the machines were rigged, that blacks and Hispanics were disinfranchised, that chads were hanging, that winners were selected rather than elected, that a court cheated them, on and on and on, and they didn't hold up the results for weeks while lawyers blocked military votes and tried to circumvent the will of the legitimate voters. Some people are more gracious losers than others.

Posted by Woody at November 8, 2006 02:22 PM

These days, though, graciousness and five dollars will just buy you a cup of coffee.

Posted by civil truth at November 8, 2006 03:28 PM

"Some people are more gracious losers than others"

You could also say that the difference this time is that the winning party didnt rely on unethical party hacks like Katerine Harris to certify documented voter fraud in Florida. Are you arguing that people werent willfully purged from voting lists in that state? Anyways Rope's election post mortem is so painfuly removed from reality that it borders on delusional. He argues that Bush and his gang were too flexible, too open to dissent on issues like the iraq war, too apt to listening to criticisms and bowing to pressure. This strikes me as a bizarre interpretation of yesterdays vote. What was rejected, it seems to me, was this regimes bone headed and brazen ideology, their refusal to see reality for what it is in Iraq, where they've sowed the seeds for sectarian violence for decades to come. Their utter and complete disregard for constitutional rights and green lighting of torture. This is an administration that has proved unwilling to adapt, incapable of listening and they are now out of step with the mojority of Americans. For that we should be happy. The grossly absurd idea that the Bushniks should have kept doing what they were doing, but with more vigilance, as Roper asserts, makes for good partisan propaganda but its hardly the stuff of serious analysis.

Posted by Ahmed at November 8, 2006 04:01 PM

GM.. about your 'Open Letter To Error-gant Republicans'.. all I gotta say is AMEN brother!

Posted by LittleOleLady at November 8, 2006 06:34 PM

reg, Mavis, et al.

Did Bush keep many of Clinton's judicial nominees up for approval upon taking office - a gesture unprecedented in history - or did he not? Did he allow Ted Kennedy's staff to write the education bill, and then support it over the objection of many Republicans, or did he not? Did Bush invite the Democratic leaders to the White House immediately after 9-11 to hear their opinions, or did he not? Did he seek the opinion of key Democrats before judicial nominations or did he not? Did he change the wording of the authorization of force resolution to please Democrats, even though he had enough votes without it, or not?

You have the Impression that Bush is deeply partisan. I have a different Impression. But impressions are subjective, often deriving from tribal or partisan prejudices themselves. Thus, I give you objective evidence, above. Bush made numerous attempts to reach out and unify the country with gracious gestures. These were rebuffed by a Democratic party seething with narcissistic injury.

Again, reg, is there ever a chance that you might be even 1% wrong?

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at November 8, 2006 07:04 PM

I agree with others that the GOP lacked leadership, although I think the failings were in both the White House and Congress. There can be no excuse for the pork, corruption, and arrogance displayed by the Republicans in Congress. Nor can we excuse President Bush - he acts more like a corporate CEO than a wartime President and the leader of the free world.

Throughout his Presidency and especially in the past election, Bush has shown himself to be his father’s son - a decent but principles-light man who is more concerned with being good than being right. As a result, in the next 2 years, we will “enjoy” new taxes, amnesty for illegals, an ever-escalating minimum wage, and recession as Bush bows to the mandate he believes the American people gave the Democrats in this election. He will do this because he’s a blue-blooded, fair-play guy who is not wedded to conservative principles. The fact that Bush 43 is bringing in his father’s old team is additional proof that he embraces and welcomes the views of Bush 41.

In a way, I think Bush is glad for the respite this election provides. For the remainder of his term, he can react to Congress rather than frame the debate. My guess is that Bush will lead the US the same way he led Texas as Governor: Let others take the lead and the bully pulpit; He’ll follow along to provide executive oversight. George W. Bush has always been a guy who knows, as we say in West Texas, how to “go along to get along.” The next 2 years should be perfect for him.

Posted by DRJ at November 8, 2006 09:04 PM

In reading these and other comments, it strikes me how important specific people are to Democrats as opposed to specific policies. They hate Bush and are thrilled to see Rumsfeld resign. As a conservative, I'm not fond of Pelosi, Rangel, Kennedy, or Dean but I know that others like them are waiting in the wings. It's not the people that bother me near as much as the policies they embrace.

Maybe I'm wrong but it seems like Democrats are more people-driven while Republicans are policy-driven.

Posted by DRJ at November 9, 2006 12:04 AM

Even better, Mike Pense has also announced his candidacy for minority leader.

Posted by civil truth at November 9, 2006 12:21 AM

And John Shadegg is running for minority whip (can't get Redstate link to work-but his letter is on the RS front page).

(Here again is the link to Mike Pense's announcement as the link above doesn't seem to be working.)

Posted by civil truth at November 9, 2006 12:37 AM

That's good news. I like Mike Pence.

On a separate note: Dadvocate, what about this reminds you of the 2 years before Carter's election?

Posted by DRJ at November 9, 2006 01:11 AM

DRJ - Incompetent, arrogant, unpopular with ethics scandals Republicans, i.e. Nixon, having been in power primarily. People looking for something "not Republican." The Democrats ran on not being Republican both times.

Posted by DADvocate at November 9, 2006 05:29 AM

DRJ - very interesting observations. I think you should expand on the people-driven versus policy driven idea. I have described it as a tribal, our sort/their sort approach to politics by the Democrats, but yours is worth examining.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at November 9, 2006 07:56 AM

Isn't there an old expression that goes something like this: victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. I wouldn't be surprised if George through the haze of nostalgia will try to relive his Texas governor days as he reverts to having to work with a legislature controlled by the opposite party. Reliving that past is probably a lot more attractive and comfortable to him than continuing to take heavy flack wearing the mantle of the leader of the Free World. We shall see, but picking up his father's leadership team is not an encouraging sign for the GWOT.

DRJ, about your last point contrasting Democrats and Republicans, one of the unique qualities about Ronald Reagan was that he successfully integrated in himself both traits - people-driven and policy-driven - in a way that no other recent President has been able to.

Posted by civil truth at November 9, 2006 10:37 AM

Deleted by Site Administrator as an irrelevant post.

Posted by James Goodman at November 9, 2006 12:05 PM


I see your point. I hope that's what this election was about and that it doesn't carry over to the next one.

Posted by DRJ at November 9, 2006 03:28 PM


My comment was more an observation than a theory although I think there are other factors that tie in. For instance, Democrats are more likely to identify with people based on their personal qualities (such as African-Americans, immigrants, women, etc.) than Republicans, who tend to group according to ideological issues. (e.g., pro-fence immigration reformists, small government/fiscal responsibility proponents, etc.). The Democratic groups are more fixed than the Republican groups, where we tend to realign on issues and make it difficult to stay on the reservation.

Of course, there are exceptions for both parties, such as abortion, but polarizing issues like that are few and far between. Even on something like abortion, however, I'm not sure it causes most Republicans to become single-issue, party-line voters the way pro-choice views seem to affect Democratic voters. The only issues I see that unify all Republicans are the war on terror and possibly, and to a far lesser extent, Supreme Court vacancies. Democrats seem committed to a more cohesive vision.

I think Democrats are also more likely to be attracted to and motivated by a candidate’s charisma than Republicans, although probably most Democrats think Republicans don’t have charisma with the exception of Ronald Reagan. (I think that’s why Civil Truth views Reagan as both policy-driven and people-driven.) Republicans could field charismatic candidates and Democrats could proffer policy-driven candidates but I don't think those qualities resonate with their respective voting bases.

Another thought is that this could explain why Republicans feel free to disagree with party leaders on issues, even when they are in power. Republicans don’t hold elected officials in overly high esteem except for the man (or someday, the woman) who holds the office of President, and that esteem is directed at the office and not the person. As a result, it’s easy to find Republicans who agree with a Republican President on 10 straight decisions but object vehemently on issue number 11.

Conversely, Democrats tend to focus on the person rather than the policy so critiquing the person is far more devastating ideologically. I think the reason Democrats don’t focus on policy is that their belief system is more dependant on circumstances. While Republicans may be comfortable with a black-and-white system that says “if A, then B,” Democrats see more grays and less certainty. It thus is imperative for Democrats to have confidence in the instincts and judgment of the person in power because criticizing the person undermines the decision. In other words, Republicans can criticize the message without doing much harm to the messenger. Democrats can’t.

AVI, people like you, GM, Dadvocate, and Dr. Helen can do a much better job than I can in considering the psychological aspects of politics. To the extent something I’ve said rings a bell with you, please take it and run with it. I look forward to reading your opinions since I know I will benefit from them.

Posted by DRJ at November 9, 2006 03:38 PM

DRJ, thank you for your kind words. I ran into another related concept today - the evidence that there is a heritability to political beliefs - and have downloaded a lot of scholarly papers (several of which are over my head) to push through. I should have a blog post of my own over at sometime tonight. I quote you.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at November 9, 2006 08:41 PM

Thanks AVI, I'll definitely check it out although please clean up my misspelled words first! (I really should break down and buy those bifocals.) I also hope you give the credit - if any - to GM because his blog makes average people like me feel comfortable leaving comments on politics and such.

Posted by DRJ at November 9, 2006 09:17 PM

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