Don't be stupid GOP

As an accounting / finance type I am, by nature, a cautious fellow.  I like fixed rate loans so that I know what I’m paying every month.  I drive defensively.  I read my e-mails at work 3 or 4 times before sending them. 

Within that framework, however, I am still cautiously optimistic about the upcoming elections and the prospects for a conservative resurgence (as best embodied by the GOP, although the GOP has disappointed me in some areas).  I’m not as optimistic as Bill Kristol is in his piece here at The Weekly Standard where he says a 60 seat pickup in the House is possible (although Mr Kristol has always struck me as a cautious optimist himself).  I also don’t think there is any way the GOP will take over the Senate.  Too many things would have to break their way.  I would be thrilled to get 46 – 47 seats (besides, in 2012 a staggering 26 Dem senators are up for re-election.  That’s when the GOP can really make it’s senatorial push). 

Broadly speaking, however, I think it will be a good November 2.

But then I read a story like this.  So Rep. Jack Kingston’s (Ga.) appering on “America’s Morning News” says that Sarah Palin should stay out of the Republican primaries because she “….is dividing the Republican Party at a time when we don’t need to be divided”.

Now I appreciate that Palin is a divisive personality.  There seems to be little middle ground with people either loving her or hating her (put me squarely in the “loving her” camp).  However, if you’re in the GOP, throwing out red meat quotes like that to the MSM does you no good, whether you agree with her endorsements or not.  Furthermore, love her or hate her, there is no denying that she has injected a lot of enthusiasm and vitality into a party that sorely needs it.  I would also say she serves as a constant reminder to the GOP that they need to return to their conservative roots, as opposed to the Washington-established GOP that is often indistinguishable from the Dems.  So don’t be stupid Congressman Kingston.

Then there is Ben Quayle.  The son of former VP Dan Quayle is running for Congress In Arizona.  I’m not going to speak to the side show of whether or not he was involved with some racy web site.  He denies it.  I’m not interested enough to care.  That will sort itself out one way or another.  However, on a more national note, he recently ran an ad calling Barack Obama “…the worst President in history”.

It’s not that I necessarily disagree with him, but throwing out broad inflammatory rhetoric like that once again does not help.  The American public will render that verdict but having you put it in an ad just makes you sound like the nutty left when speaking about George W.  Also, it doesn’t help when you’re Dan Quayle’s son.  VP Quayle was treated miserably by the press and was made out to be a cartoonish buffoon for a couple of innocuous gaffes during his 4-year tenure (most notably correcting a grade school child’s spelling of the word “potato” and incorrectly changing it to “potatoe”.  Horrors.).  But if you take all of Dan Quayle’s gaffes in his 4 years as VP and add them up, what you end up with is a pretty average week for Joe Biden.  Be that as it may, the lasting impression, of VP Quayle is not a favorable one in most American’s minds, and his son throwing out statements like this one about Obama is only going to dredge up old history and bad jokes about the former VP.  If nothing else, Ben, your Dad didn’t need this.  Don’t be stupid.

Those are two stories that were prominently featured this week (along with the concocted GQ story about Rand Paul supposedly “kidnapping” a girl while in college and forcing her to do drugs.  The woman has since come forward and refuted the story (dare I say, “refudiated” the story.  Tip of the cap to Sarah.))  This in a week when Harry Reid made another round of racist comments, unemployment claims went up further, the market took a dive, the controversy over the 9/11 mosque heated up, etc.  Good to know the MSM has its priorities straight.

Furthermore, I am disturbed by what I am starting to see as overconfidence bordering on arrogance coming out of the GOP regarding the elections.  I’m seeing too many stories that seem to assume they will take over the house.  I’m seeing some politicians acting like they already have been given a mandate by the public. 

Also, the GOP strategy heading into the elections seems to be one of trying to run out the clock.  Bash Obama.  Point out the weaknesses in the economy and his unpopular agenda.  Now vote for the GOP.  That’s not good enough.  You’ve got to stand for something other than platitudes.  Few have shown the courage of a Paul Ryan in actually laying out a budget proposal with his fiscal “roadmap” (special kudos to Ryan for going mano a mano with Paul Krugman of the NYT over his plan and pounding him into submission).  Or how about showing some “cojones” (one more tip of the cap to Sarah) like Chris Christie in taking on the unions?

So I remain optimistic, yet cautious.  I still think there are those in the GOP who can find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Just don’t be stupid.

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