Defeat can be good if you learn from it. Republicans just learned that you can lose if you give voters less reason to vote for you than Democrats, or give them more reasons to vote against you. The Republicans committed both sins, and all the Democrats did was let voters know they weren’t Republicans.
The sin of not being a Republican. Republicans support strong national defense, a healthy economy, and individual freedoms.
The sin of being like a Democrat. Republicans lose support when they forget about fiscal responsibility and personal integrity.
One thing that usually comes from defeat that is totally useless and unproductive is finger pointing. Republicans can blame the war in Iraq, but look about, and they will see a lot of politicians elected and reelected who did not campaign to cut-and-run in Iraq. We can start the list with Joseph Lieberman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and most of the soon-to-be Freshmen Democrats in Congress. Nancy Pelosi is going to have a lot of fun trying to build a coalition between her old gang of raw-meat leftists and the new crop of “Republican Lite” Democrats.
It’s no sin for a Democrat to act like a Republican. Look what Bill Clinton did after his “Hillary Care” disaster.
Republicans could have impressed voters by championing fiscal responsibility. However, as with Democrats before them, Republicans soon were using taxpayers’ money to buy their love. As it often ends when love is for sale, Republicans found their lovers were only rented, and were still available for sale to the next highest bidder.
Republican profligacy got so bad that right-wing bloggers created Pork Busters to try to stem the tide. However, the only way to curb a politician’s pork addiction is to vote them out of the Tribe, and the Tribe has spoken. I hope Republican Survivors heard.
Republicans campaign on platforms of personal integrity, Democrats campaign on platforms of accusing Republicans of a lack of integrity. When Democrats violate standards of integrity, Democrats forgive them. When Republicans violate the same standards, no one forgives them. Knowing these facts of life, instead of whining and moaning about the double standards, Republicans should hold themselves and all other party members to the highest standards. Dennis Hastert might still have his job if he hadn’t tried to just wish the Mark Foley problem away.
The Republicans already have a Hall of Heads, displaying their colleagues who lost theirs because they thought they could behave like Democrats. The recent list includes luminaries such as Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, and Tom DeLay, and each accusation dominated the news and diverted Republicans from serious legislative accomplishments. With all the Democrats shooting at them, Republicans decided to see what all the fun was about, and shoot themselves in the foot.
The most painful wounds are self-inflicted.
So are the most painful losses.
UPDATE: Republicans show few signs of learning anything, if Trent Lott is the evidence.