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August 31, 2009

Republican Comeback: The Leaderless ‘Party of No’ Is On the Rise


Since November, we have heard it from political “strategists” on TV and read it in online commentary: The Republican Party is in trouble. The Republican Party cannot win if it remains the “Party of No.” The Republican Party is “leaderless,” and absolutely must figure out who its “leader” is. The Republican Party must “moderate” its views in order to stand a chance in future elections.


Well, it has been only eight months since the inauguration of the unequivocal “leader” of the “Party of Yes” and his enormous congressional majorities, and, well, he’s not doing so hot. The half-deity at the Democratic Party’s head has seemingly made an impressively concerted effort to force a collapse in his numbers in every single poll, some of which have shown his approval ratings fall below 50 percent and his disapproval ratings in majority territory.


Despite a silver tongue, zombified supporters and propaganda signs at every roadwork site reminding the populace of how The One is benevolently and generously rebuilding their roads via his “stimulus” package, Barack Obama is already on the verge of objectively becoming an unpopular president.


Yet in the meantime, the leaderless Party of No has been advancing at a pretty satisfactory pace, thank you very much. While on November 2, the GOP trailed the Democrats by six points in the Rasmussen poll’s generic congressional ballot, Republicans are now ahead by five points in the most recent ballot. Rasmussen also shows that Republicans have become more trusted on eight of 10 political issues that mostly saw a Democratic advantage only months ago – national security, health care, the economy, Social Security, education, abortion, taxes and education. The two parties are tied on a ninth issue, and the Democrats lead on one.


And all of this is happening while the Republican Party has been nothing other than the Party of No, has agreed on no leader and has stuck to conservative principles more than it did in its last few years in the majority. And on top of it all, Republicans are so much on the rise that they are managing to block Democratic legislation that should be easily passed by a comfortable House majority and a filibuster-proof monopoly in the Senate.


Contrary to the insistence of political commentators, being the Party of No is actually quite effective when what you are saying “no” to is expanded government, increased taxes and violation of individual freedoms.


Now of course, opposition has been led by grassroots conservatives, and not the GOP leadership that has supported reshaping the party into the likes of Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist. But congressional Republicans have now caught on, and have been unabashed in opposing government-aggrandizing legislation such as the “stimulus.” This confrontation has put the Democrats on the defensive, and has forced those representing the least liberal districts to become accountable to their constituents – which explains the Blue Dog resistance to ObamaCare. Obama now knows that he cannot push left-wing legislation without being called on it by the Republicans.


The conventional wisdom also deemed it necessary for Republicans to select a “leader” for their cause. Little did the promoters of such an idea realize how contradictory the idea of a personal leader was to a movement that prided itself on dedication to a fixed set of principles, and not on a cult of personality. Conservatives know what they want, and then look for fellow citizens who are willing to push their cause in government. This reality presents a striking parallel to the Democrats first selecting Barack Obama without knowing what he stood for, and trusting him to lead them whichever way he wanted.


Republicans cannot and should not entrust their entire cause to a single “leader” whose personal imperfections and inevitable mood swings could single-handedly bring about, say, the fall of small government principles or the discrediting of traditional values. Republicans cannot package their hopes into a single individual, then offer him on a silver platter for vitriolic attacks of personal destruction by the other side of the aisle. Principles are bigger than that.


Republicans have been playing their cards right, and have been doing it in complete inconsistency with the prevailing conventional wisdom. Times like these require a principled movement that stands up against what is wrong, and does so without reliance on the whims of any individual. As we have seen thus far, success awaits at the end of this tunnel.

© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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