An interesting note from Newt Gingrich that in my view is half right and half wrong. First of all, the half wrong part:
I was saddened to learn that at a time of national trial, when a president-elect is preparing to take office in the midst of the worst financial crisis in over seventy years, that the Republican National Committee is engaged in the sort of negative, attack politics that the voters rejected in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.
The recent web advertisement, “Questions Remain,” is a destructive distraction. Clearly, we should insist that all taped communications regarding the Senate seat should be made public. However, that should be a matter of public policy, not an excuse for political attack.
In a time when America is facing real challenges, Republicans should be working to help the incoming President succeed in meeting them, regardless of his Party.
From now until the inaugural, Republicans should be offering to help the President-elect prepare to take office.
I hate to say this, but Newt misses the role of the RNC. The RNC is not about policy or about governing, it’s about politics and winning elections. The RNC is going to be as involved in Obama’s tradition as the DNC was in Ronald Reagan’s. And honestly, how much help does the President-elect need to take office?
The RNC’s job is to make the case for the party, to challenge the President and this ad raises legitimate questions:
Obama has been less than forthcoming on this issue. And the fact is that somebody who he helped elect Governor has fallen into this type of scandal is relevant and it’s this type of Chicago connection that was ignored by the media during the campaign.
While one could argue the ad is too partisan, there’s another level to the politics here, because Mike Duncan is running for re-election as RNC Chairman. He wants to appear tough and ready to fight. If Duncan and the RNC weren’t out doing this, they’d have a chorus of critics calling him listless and out of it. The RNC is being partisan-that’s it’s job. Where Newt does get it right is the second half of his letter to Duncan:
Furthermore, once President Obama takes office, Republicans should be eager to work with him when he is right, and, when he is wrong, offer a better solution, instead of just opposing him.
This is the only way the Republican Party will become known as the “better solutions” party, not just an opposition party. And this is the only way Republicans will ever regain the trust of the voters to return to the majority.
The RNC has got to take shots at the administration and they’ve got to call out unethical behavior and release press releases, but come the 2010 elections, there had better be something resembling a real agenda out there that people can latch onto.
The 2002 Mid-terms saw the Democrats lose ground, including their tenuous 50-49-1 Senate Majority. The Democrats blamed their loss on the fact that they didn’t get their message out. Truth is: They had no message.
The, “count on the other side being unethical, stupid, and incompetent” school of winning election is a loser. You either come with a message as to how to make the country better or you’re going to be years waiting for enough supply of stupid to build up to blow your opponents out of power.
Of course, the RNC isn’t the source for exciting new ideas. That will come from Congressional leadership which isn’t leaving me terribly optomistic at the moment.