The GOP’s coming catastrophic (for the GOP) victory

James P. writes:

Along the lines of what I said yesterday, Peggy Noonan warns of a “catastrophic GOP victory.” She wonders, do the Republicans deserve to win? Are they serious? I agree with her that they’re not, and that if they win, they will squander the opportunity.

Which gets us to the Republicans. The question isn’t whether they’ll win seats in the House and Senate this year, and the question isn’t even how many. The question is whether the party will be worthy of victory, whether it learned from its losses in 2006 and ‘08, whether it deserves leadership. Whether Republicans are a worthy alternative. Whether, in short, they are serious.

I spoke a few weeks ago with a respected Republican congressman who told me with some excitement of a bill he’s put forward to address the growth of entitlements and long-term government spending. We only have three or four years to get it right, he said. He made a strong case. I asked if his party was doing anything to get behind the bill, and he got the blanched look people get when they’re trying to keep their faces from betraying anything. Not really, he said. Then he shrugged. “They’re waiting for the Democrats to destroy themselves.”

This isn’t news, really, but it was startling to hear a successful Republican political practitioner say it.

Republican political professionals in Washington assume a coming victory. They do not see that 2010 could be a catastrophic victory for them. If they seize back power without clear purpose, if they are not serious, if they do the lazy and cynical thing by just sitting back and letting the Democrats lose, three bad things will happen. They will contribute to the air of cynicism in which our citizens marinate. Their lack of seriousness will be discerned by the Republican base, whose enthusiasm and generosity will be blunted. And the Republicans themselves will be left unable to lead when their time comes, because operating cynically will allow the public to view them cynically, which will lessen the chance they will be able to do anything constructive.

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Steve D. writes:

Is Peggy Noonan serious? By that, I mean: does politics mean anything to her, other than the tactical wins and losses that collectively define “Current Events”? She completely misinterprets not only the real meaning of “health care reform,” but the Democrats’ determination to go through with it, calling it “a blunder … a miscalculation.” As has been pointed out numerous times on this site, the Democrats welcome political suicide so long as they’re able also to weld shut the emergency exits for the rest of us. Losing political power for a term, or for a decade, is nothing compared to accomplishing a revolution. Noonan and her mainstream compatriots never seem to understand that there’s anything to politics other than policy debates.

LA replies:

I didn’t read the whole Noonan article, just the quote that was sent. My impression was that her concern was that the Repubs don’t have any real position, not that real positions don’t matter.

However, on the other issue you mention, the constant mantra from conservatives that Obama and Dems have “blundered,” that they are “foolish,” etc. when what they are doing is conscious leftist evil, is really a problem and needs to be written about.

I’ll read the Noonan column before I reply further

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 08, 2010 03:27 PM | Send

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