Tuesday night was a night of great victory, yet for myself, and I imagine most of you as well, it was bittersweet, as some of our favorites went down to defeat. I believe it is important to learn from what we did right, as well as what we did wrong, and move forward smarter and stronger than ever, so that we can do even better in 2012.
Let’s start with a general lay of the land. We control the House, and we do so with a very nice margin. We won’t know the exact margin for some time, but we know it’s sufficient to pass a good solid Conservative agenda. We also know that, because the Senate is still controlled by the Democrats by a bit, and because Obama is still the President, that Conservative agenda probably won’t end up becoming law, at least not without some kind of compromise. The Government is still 2/3 Democratic, but we control the power of the pursestrings. No spending bill can originate except in the House. If we don’t fund Obamacare, it doesn’t get funded. If we don’t increase spending, it doesn’t get increased.
Therefore the first major order of business for our side, is coming up with a Budget. This budget will never become law, that isn’t the point, the point is that since we control the People’s House, it is our responsibility to lay out before both the Democrats in Washington, and more importantly the American People, exactly what kind of Government we believe in. It is possible that the budget we lay out in 2011 will become a major issue in the Presidential campaign of 2012. Therefore it is important that Speaker Boehner hold meetings with all potential Presidential candidates, getting their input and sharing his vision with each of them, in an open minded and nonbiased way, because whoever becomes our Party’s standard-bearer will need to run ‘with’ Speaker Boehner and the House’s budget priorities, not against them.
Another thing we must focus on is Election Strategy. We need more co-operation between the Party leaders and the Tea Party leaders, so that we can all agree on the strongest candidate in a given state or district, and avoid the bruising primary fights that cost us so dearly. For example, Christine O’Donnell was leading Chris Coons as late as June or July, before the Delaware GOP and the Castle campaign engaged in an incredibly vicious negative campaign, a campaign that didn’t fool most Republicans, but did fool enough Independents and liberal Republicans to cost us the seat in the fall. Had we been able to clear the field for Christine, or at least gotten Castle and the Delaware GOP to stick to a positive campaign on the issues, and then endorse her after she beat him, we would have won in Delaware. Clearly working together to keep Crist in the Governor’s mansion and Rubio as our Senate nominee would’ve made everything much smoother, although happily in Florida everything worked out nicely in the end anyway. Also in Nevada, if we could’ve all gotten behind Angle early she wouldn’t have been bankrupt after the Primary, when Reid spent who knows how many millions of dollars on negative ads, turning her double digit lead into a defecit. Of course Colorado was another bruising primary that cost us dearly in a super-close race, if Buck had avoided that fight and saved his money he surely would’ve won in November, and not only would we have Senator Buck today, but Governor Norton as well. That fight cost us very dearly indeed.
Another important element of strategy is the Ground game. We desperately need to get back to what we had in the Bush years, an unprecedently awesome ground game. I’m not quite sure whose idea it was to stop doing what we were doing so well, but we definitely need to get back to it, it’s an incredibly important part of any campaign, certainly you need look no further than Nevada to see that. Angle’s lead in the polls was erased by a superior ground game by Harry Reid and the Unions, that should never have happened. Especially in a year like this, when our enthusiasm advantage was so huge, to lose huge ground on Election Day is completely inexcusable, and it bodes very ill indeed for any year, including 2012, when our enthusiasm advantage might be less high than the awesome heights of this year.
In future posts I will go into more detail on specific issues and the strategies associated with them. For now, let me share an interesting piece of trivia with all of you. Most of you may have already heard it, but if you haven’t, it’s a good one, you’ll like it. As you know Obama became the first President in a very long time to lose the House but not the Senate. You may agree that he has a lot in common with the previous President to do so. That President? Herbert Hoover.