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Thursday, November 6, 2008

As The Dust Settles...

The Loft.

Posted by Bobby Eberle
November 6, 2008

As the dust settles on what many are calling an "historic" election, the soul-searching has already begun in Republican circles on how to rebuild. Let us be clear: the Republican Party is in shambles, and a top-to-bottom house-cleaning is in order.

But, before we simply "throw the bums out," we must understand exactly what went wrong and not be misled by the media or certain political pundits. The Republican Party thrives (as does America) when it is driven by conservative ideals and a reformist vision. Step away from that recipe, and the Republican Party becomes "Democrat-light," and we all know where that has led.

In watching the election coverage on Fox News, one particular topic was discussed over and over again. The question was posed, "Is America, which has generally been a center-right country now turning into a center-left country?" The answer is an unequivocal NO. We are a center-right country which was governed by a center-left Washington. When things went bad in Washington, and Americans started looking for "change," most legislators with an "R" next to their name became a target. The center-right country wanted center-right government, and the Republicans didn't deliver. Period.

There are three main events which have shaped my outlook of America and approach to politics. First, as someone who grew up in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was the first president who connected with me. Yes, I have memories of the Iran hostage crisis under Jimmy Carter, and his speech when America boycotted the Olympics in Moscow in 1980, but it was Reagan who was president during my high school and college years. It is the America in the eye of Reagan that became a part of who I am. An America of optimism, an America of conservative ideals -- one which would not back down in the face of turmoil.

Another of the three events that shaped my outlook is the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As many know, I was in Washington, DC that day. After hearing reports of the two airliners being flown into the World Trade Center in New York, I knew America was under terrorist attack. It was with that realization that I then saw American Airlines Flight 77 fly overhead and smash into the Pentagon with a terrifying explosion. The events of that day and America's singular unity and response showed what our nation can do when put to the test. We can come together, and we can lead the world.

The third event was the Republican Revolution of 1994. Although Reagan helped shape my outlook for what America could be, I had no real interest in politics. The 1992 election piqued my interest a bit, but when I realized the problems facing the country and how the Republicans were putting together a plan that was reformist in nature and conservative by philosophy, I was hooked. I jumped right in and helped on a congressional race, and I have been involved ever since.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I review what has happened not only this week, but over the last several years. Republicans didn't lose on Tuesday. We were simply given our report card for the last eight years. When we stopped being reformists and conservatives, we stopped being the party that could govern.

Republicans (under a conservative banner) do NOT support big government. What ever happened to the idea of local control? By embracing big government programs like the prescription drug plan and no child left behind, the Republicans in Washington started adopting the liberal philosophy of "what can government do for you?" The answer is that it is doing too much, costing too much, and taking away my freedoms.

Republicans (under a conservative banner) support the rule of law and the protection of our borders. As soon as Republican leaders such as President Bush and Sen. John McCain started falling in line with Ted Kennedy and other illegal alien amnesty programs, the nation as a whole rebelled. Legislation when down in flames thanks to mass protests by the American people, and what was the follow-up? More legislation. How about protecting America and the American people?

Republicans (under a conservative banner) support returning tax money to the taxpayers, not keeping it in Washington to pay for pork projects. As more and more Republicans joined the list of those taking earmarks for ridiculous programs, the label of "reformist" ceased to apply. Tax money belongs in the hands of taxpayers, not in the hands of Washington beaurucrats.

We need to get back to our roots, and we need leaders who represent those values. In this past election, Obama won in-part by trumpeting a tax cut for 95% of the American people. The claim was patently false, but the point is that he promoted a tax-cutting message. McCain never mounted a serious message on tax cuts. Rather than having the courage to really explain the tax situation to the American people and tell them that Republicans will not pit one economic class against another and that "fair" tax cuts mean tax cuts for all, McCain eventually joined the Obama bandwagon and only talked about tax cuts for the "middle class."

When was the last time we actually had a conservative nominee? Well... that's too long. We don't need "fresh" ideas or a make-over of our philosophy. We simply need to return to our conservative roots and have leaders and spokespeople who will promote those ideals. Kudos to Rush and Hannity during the last two years for stepping up more for conservative ideals even if it meant calling Republicans to task. As we proceed with the house-cleaning, maybe Fox News can finally get rid of Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol. They are useless and do not represent conservatism. They represent elitist Republicanism which led to part of the decline. When Fred Barnes calls House Republicans idiots for standing up for conservative principles regarding the financial bail-out, he's got to go.

There are so many aspects to analyze, but another point to mention is that when Republicans come to power and are only focused on keeping power, the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. The last eight years showed that we could win the presidency, but at what cost. The conservative movement was crushed. The majorities we built in the House and Senate are gone and will take a generation to restore. Thanks a lot!

I will write more on what needs to be done as we move forward, but moving forward without studying what went wrong is foolish. In short, when the Republican Party is led by a conservative core, then America, as a center-right nation, will embrace the party and its ideals. If we are corrupt, embrace big government, push for earmarks, and don't respect the rule of law, then America will turn away. America needs the real Republican Party... and I want it back.