Couple of things that jumped out at me this morning….
I saw Jim “Waterloo” DeMint’s picture on the front of The State, still out front leading the charge against the health care reform that is now the law of the land. (Oddly, I couldn’t find an actual story about that to link to; there was just that blurb on the front. But here’s his press release.)
Waterloo For The GOP?
Earlier this week, David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, angered many of his fellow conservatives when he wrote a blog post criticizing Republicans for putting all of their effort into killing the bill, rather than working with the White House to make it more palatable to the GOP. That miscalculation, Frum wrote, turned the health care bill into “Waterloo” for Republicans.
Frum’s view is very unpopular in conservative circles. Erick Erickson, who runs the Web site RedState.com, says Frum is wrong. He says Republicans stuck by their core principles and should be applauded. In defeat, he says, there is a way forward.
“I’ve been telling people not to get mad, get even,” Erickson says. “We need to replace the Democrats who voted for this with Republicans.”
Could Frum be right? Could it be that the steady negativity, the constant tone of being ticked off at everything, of constantly tearing down and never building up, of promising to drag the country BACK through the nasty debate we just had, boomerang to hurt Republicans?
Could, indeed, the mentality that led Jim DeMint to make his own infamous Waterloo remark — the attitude that what matters is not health care, but delivering a defeat to Barack Obama (because they really, really don’t like him) — lead to a setback for the GOP?
Frankly, nothing is likely to keep Republicans from making some gains in November, because that’s the way of the world: a sitting president’s party loses ground in the off-year elections. But I believe they’d do a lot better if they’d find a positive message for once.
As for DeMint himself, he’ll be re-elected. The math is just too much in his favor. An incumbent Republican is not going to lose a U.S. Senate election in South Carolina with a Democrat in the White House — factors which have nothing to do with Jim DeMint; he’s just the undeserving beneficiary.
And you know what the worst news is? He’ll be re-elected, and Republicans will make some modest gains in congressional elections, and they will think it’s BECAUSE of their constantly negative yammering, not in spite of it. And Jim DeMint will be seen as a leader of that movement. They’ll be more convinced than ever that that “get mad; get even” garbage is the winning formula for them.
Of course, what that will do is lead them into a fatal error — a Waterloo, if you will — two years later. Parties never learn. From moveon.org to RedState.com, they think it’s all about feeding anger, about getting people ticked off and keeping them that way.
They would be far better off — and so would the country — if they’d heed Mr. Frum’s advice and come up with a positive message for a change. Stop carrying water for the health insurance industry. Stop trying to lie down in front of reforms that, imperfect as they are, are sorely needed by the people of this country. Stop pandering to the racist discontent of fringe political movements. Move to the center, run something positive up the flagpole, and lead.
I offer that advice for free — knowing that these folks will never take it.