The 2010 and 2012 elections are critical to the shape and condition of America for decades to come. They give us the opportunity to replace the foundering policies of the Obama Administration with ones that benefit the vast majority of Americans, and not just political insiders or fringe groups. However, the Republican Party must be prepared to seize the moment by putting forth credible candidates and polices that make sense for the country as a whole, and reflect a real contrast with the extremist policies which we see today. Thus far, there are serious questions about whether they are doing so.
Rather than indicating a true public preference for burgeoning, activist government, the current situation is the result of a historical accident, the fiasco of the Republican Senatorial campaign in Illinois in 2004, which brought to prominence Barrack Obama. To run against the obscure state senator who emerged with a plurality from a crowded Democratic primary field, Republicans initially selected a strong candidate named Jack Ryan, who had been a huge success in the private sector and held degrees from Harvard Business and Law Schools. All pundits agreed that Mr. Ryan had a good chance in the fall election and was probably the favorite ... until Mr. Ryan became entangled in a bizarre sex scandal involving his ex-wife, and was forced to withdraw in late summer.
In a further "accident" he was replaced by the buffoonish Alan Keyes, a talk show host from Maryland, having no connection to Illinois, who was predictably trounced by Mr. Obama. Absent these events, and the mess that was the McCain campaign in 2008, President Obama probably would have resumed being State Senator Obama, and things would look a lot different today.
Today, all polls indicate that voters in huge numbers are rejecting a reprise of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and ready for real change that helps them with fundamental matters such as
• Maintaining a job and decent standard of living;
• Having a manageable tax burden;
• Having access to decent health care;
• Maintaining their physical security in the face of so many external threats;
• Getting their children off to a good start in life; and
• Retiring with some degree of comfort and dignity.
They are unhappy with the old-fashioned big government Democrats are offering and want candidates who have proven their interest and ability to bring about constructive, innovative and realistic change in these areas. There is no evidence that voters in electorally significant numbers are interested in gay rights, guns, abortion or (outside of southern border states) immigration, as these things have little to do with voters' day-to-day lives.
Republicans can take advantage of this opportunity by avoiding candidates who are more interested in ideology than in results, and running only candidates who reflect the voters' feelings and the ability to do something about them, but several situations indicate that they are not heeding this message, and running too many marginal candidates who are out of touch with mainstream needs, and need to change their approach (and many candidates) before its too late.
Nevada is perhaps the best example, as one of the states which is hardest hit by the housing bust and is dubiously "represented" by the out-of-touch Majority Leader Harry Reid. It has as its only other choice, the Tea Partier, Sharron Angle, who won a divided primary with a small plurality and emphasizes the social issues of guns and abortion, not to mention her opposition to water fluoridation and any federal funding of education, none of which have anything to with easing the suffering of those impacted by the bust. Her lack of interest in job creation is equally inappropriate. This lack of connection with voter needs may harm not only Nevadans, but the country as a whole if one of the principal architects of our current problems is allowed to stay in the Senate. Ms. Angle is correct when she states that [Nevada voters] "are disillusioned, disappointed and disgusted with what has happened since the 2008 election." But in my estimation incorrect that such feelings have anything to do with her signature issues.
We see a similar disconnect in Colorado where the GOP candidate for governor is now enmeshed in a plagiarism scandal which threatens the party's credibility.
Even my own Congressional district in Illinois, features a very weak Republican who has questionable ties to the district and has experienced little success and many financial reversals in the private sector, running against an arrogant, self-absorbed Democratic incumbent who has little interest in the needs of the district. The Democrat is in office as a result of "accidents" involving Republican candidates who in 2006 and 2008 obsessed over immigration and other social issues having little impact on the district, and a long-time Republican incumbent who drastically overstayed his welcome and became largely non-functional. The situation is the same in the Illinois Senate race. In what should be a walk-over victory for the Republicans against a scandal-plagued failed banker, they are running a wishy-washy congressman with serious credibility problems regarding his prior achievements which makes the race a tossup.
The country desperately needs the Republicans to run candidates who can demonstrate to the masses far more than single issue slogans and anti-intellectual rants glorifying ignorance or politicians likening themselves to wild animals. It needs people who know what they are doing!
I'm calling on Republican leadership to objectively review the candidates who are currently running and who seek to run in 2012, and prevail upon those who are not willing and able to deliver the change which is needed, to step down. With the failed Democratic policies of this Administration, it's not hyperbole to say that our future is at stake.