The GOP's Era of No Feelings

A look at almost all the polling shows that this is supposed to be the GOP’s year. The Republican Party has everything to gain – control of the Senate, greater control of the House, an effective means of stopping the President Barack Obama’s agenda. It is difficult – though not entirely impossible – to imagine the GOP not meeting at least their goal for the Senate. Though the poll is a tremendous outlier, my colleague RMJ noted earlier that Mark Udall’s performance in Colorado is abysmal. This is but one example of Democrats slipping in places they, frankly, shouldn’t be.

Polling itself is all over the place, but the trends are remaining the same. Republicans are in the lead. They could take the Senate, and I believe they ultimately will. In speaking with Brandon Finnigan of the Ace of Spades Decision Desk on the RedState Weekly Briefing Sunday, he expressed some reservations about that chance, and he has a point. If the Republicans don’t score a “sweep” this year, they may not get the chance again for six more years. This is the cycle that has the most vulnerable Democratic seats, and the Republicans do not seem to be taking advantage of that as well as they should be.

Couple that now with Erick’s post regarding the National Republican Senatorial Committee earlier. They’ve run out of money, and are asking for more from the very groups they spent their money attacking already. Instead of sitting back and waiting for a contender to blow their wads on, they fought for weak, insufferable candidates who now stand the chance of losing in seats Republicans should comfortably hold.

So, why is this?

After the Napoleonic Wars, there was a drive among members of our government to really unify the nation, and create a bigger national identity. This was often attributed to James Monroe and his push for, among other things, to unify the parties and eliminate division among government. Now, granted, the term “Era of Good Feelings” is largely an ironic one – things could not have been more divided in government then (not unlike now). The Republican Party, as it is today, seems to be aiming for a similar goal, but in their Era of No Feelings. This Era includes:

  • The hushing of political attacks on Obama and Obamacare (largely during the 2012 election, but even now it lingers)
  • The pushing of “moderate” legislation (read: Democratic bills with negligible Republican rewards)
  • The greenlighting of Obama’s agenda
  • The promotion of the same old (emphasis on old) guys who have run the show for years and have lost touch with the base
  • Thad Cochran, who may or may not actually remember what “feelings” are (outside of feelings for farm animals)

The party leaders want to run on the issues that seem safe. They don’t want to risk voter backlash. But, voter backlash also creates voter defense, while a distinct lack of passion and conviction in your politics creates voter apathy. Consultant groups will not admit they are wrong in this, despite polling showing that Americans want to see these issues fought for. Instead, we have consultants running candidates with platforms that read “We are not the Democrats,” but with no explanations as to why. Voters are supposed to be hooked in which a great, inspiring campaign.

Instead, with rare exception, we get candidates who are not at all inspiring. This is a problem, and one Republicans will have to address if they want this wave to even stay afloat. We want emotions. We don’t want cold, almost emotionless, politicians* “working for us” in Washington D.C. A lot of us – a growing number of us, even – would like passionate candidates who will work against Washington D.C.

At the very least, tell us with a straight damn face that’s what you’re going to do.