Finding the soul of the new Republican party

The Grand Olde Party got its head handed to it last night. Any other interpretations are deluded, foolish, or otherwise stupid.
So, the obvious course of action is for the GOP to spend a few days — oh, a week at most — performing a perfunctory survey of the warm bodies closest to their leadership seats, and immediately anoint one of them to be the new face of the Republican Party. That’s the great thing about leadership elections, you know — no need to actually consult anyone resembling the actual rank-and-file of the Party. No need to actually consult the people who give the money, who work the campaigns, who actually, ‘ya know, cast the votes to keep a party in power. Or — who don’t.
Wrong. Very wrong. Amazingly, stupendously, staggeringly and absurdly wrong.
The reality of November 8, 2006 is that the Republican party no longer has control of the agenda in Congress. And yes, that includes the Senate — class=”textlink”>it’s over. The GOP doesn’t get to decide what bills will come to the floor. The GOP won’t control committees; it won’t control legislation. There is one, and only one, major decision that the Republicans have to make right now to influence how the next two years go — and that is who the party will choose to be their leaders.
This is a huge decision, and it is not one that should be rushed. Historically, however, it is a decision that has been taken behind closed doors, made by the Congressional members themselves without any whiff of input from the actual rank-and-file of their Party.
This past January, however, that changed. In the last House leadership election, the process opened up — just a little bit — when bloggers interviewed all three candidates for the GOP Majority Leader post in the House. The audio and transcripts of those interviews can be found here (please pardon the old TTLB template, and enjoy the ‘classic’ page header).
And now, the GOP faces a new leadership election. In the House, and almost certainly, in the Senate as well.
As Hugh Hewitt noted today, bloggers are now organizing in the hope that we can have a voice in this new fight. We want the potential candidates to step up to the plate and answer questions from the people that they will be, in the truest sense of the word, representing.
I don’t claim to speak for right-leaning bloggers as a whole; I speak only for myself. But if you ask me, the imperative right now for the GOP is clear: to slow the heck down, and to take the time necessary to consult with the true grassroots of the party to find the absolute best leadership team possible that will lead the GOP back into majority in 2008.
If you’re a blogger — or even if you’re not — and you want a voice in the leadership elections, add a comment here, or drop me an email directly.
The election is over. The fight for the heart of the Republican party is just beginning…
UPDATE: I’ve set up a page to solicit questions to be asked of the potential leadership candidates. If you want to make your voice heard, click over here and submit the questions you want to have answered!

17 thoughts on “Finding the soul of the new Republican party”

  1. Election Aftermath

    Mark Tapscott sums things up pretty nicely: “When Republicans worry more about staying in government than about limiting government, they get thrown out of government.”
    I disagree, however, with his long range forecast:
    What happens in the …

  2. Bear,
    I agree whole heartedly, however my voice is not being heard. I am a staunch conservative and I VOTE!
    The problem is, I currently live in Adam Schiff’s (yuck) district and therefore have no Republican representative to e-mail.
    We need a serious introspective examination of our position. Not the status quo CYA capitulations to the liberal agenda. That’s exactly what got us into this mess in the first place.
    When all we can run on is “electing the other guys is worse than electing us” we are in serious trouble. That is what happened. We need leadership that can articulate who we are and what we stand for. Mike Pence is exactly the kind of leadership we need. A Newt Gingrich visionary with a Reagan backbone.
    Thank you,
    Niles H. Kershner

  3. NZ –
    I’m with you. The GOP should be actively seeking out opportunities to engage bloggers and this is a PERFECT opportunity.
    I haven’t decided whether holding off the election benefits the incumbents or the reformers. I’d hate to push to move the election back only to see that play into the hands of the incumbents.
    So far, between Mike Pence (the challenger) and John Boehner (the current GOP leader), Pence is definitely looking like the best option. Same for Shadegg (challenger) as compared to Blount (current whip).

  4. Well, I learned a lot about the leadership candidates from the last pass during the majority leadership interviews.
    I’ll be blogging on this issue later today, and will make sure I trackback here.

  5. An American ship with the wind in its sails

    If you’re among those who feel that your party must cleave to its base in the aftermath of Tuesday’s elections, you are in danger of missing the boat. There’s still time to catch it before it sails, though:
    The common theme of the Rec…

  6. I agree enthusiastically. We never know who these people are or what they stand for. I have written to my congressman and posted the letter at mly blog.

  7. So, are we going to sulk? Or do something productive?

    (UPDATE: Yikes, I hate typos! oopsie in the title fixed…) Me, I think it would be wise to start to plan. KT Cat (thanks, hon) e-mailed me just now and pointed me to his post “Using the Center-Right Blogosphere Constructively

  8. Finding the Soul of the Republican Party

    In their rush to select new leadership, the Republican congress runs the risk of alienating further what remains of it’s loyal supporters. Each of us needs to contact our congressman (those of us who still have republicans) to urge their serious atte…

  9. Military Reactions

    Hat Tip to Amy Proctor for this wonderfully written piece, which got me thinking about our soldiers and how THEIR opinions seem to mean less to everyone than our politicians. Their opinions mean less than those that sit on their asses and watch CNN a…

  10. Gee, I dunno. I can just see the alternative headline: “GOP IN DISARRAY. A full week after its stunning [sic] defeat at the polls, the GOP is still doing its impression of a deer with its eyes caught in the headlights. Unnamed party insiders are fuming that even now, the Republicans seem to have no clue how badly they’ve lost. ‘We’re outraged at the inaction, and so are the grass roots. It’s as if they’ve decided the time has come for navel-gazing, donning sack and ashcloth — anything but gearing up for action and cleaning house in a time when the house is on fire.'”
    I mean, Bear, it’s not as if it’s a big mystery what happened and why. The fact that this group proceeded through the second Tuesday in November as if in a drunken stupor doesn’t mean that on the morning after it need not be abundantly clear who it was put that lampshade on his head.

  11. I have real doubts about the success of the GOP’s reorganization efforts… paraphrase Einstein, “one cannot solve a problem with the same thought processes that created it.” If the GOP dips into the same well for new leadership that the old leadership sprang from, we’ll all be speaking Democrat for decades.

  12. “Any other interpretations are deluded, foolish, or”
    — historically informed. The GOP lost, but there have been worse turnovers. Don’t exaggerate to get attention.

  13. I had the EXACT same thought Ron Coleman did when I read your comment. The press coverage if they don’t meet will be far worse and damn than if they do.

  14. We can have this discussion now, with our own input, analysis, and rhetoric, or tomorrow with the input, analysis, and rhetoric privided by the drive-by media and what they will impute to us, the entire electorate, and all of the factions of the “conservative movement”.
    Which do you want those politicians who survived this election, the potential candidates for the next election, and the political doners to hear?
    We (and I include myself) can make this decision today, but not making this choice is picking “choice B” by default.
    Sort of like skydiving. You can choose to pull the ripcord any time of day until you hit the ground.
    Once you have hit the ground, your choice no longer matters.

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