It’s time for GOP to focus on winning
by Michael Reagan
December 25, 2013 11:58 PM | 717 views | 2 2 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Will Republicans ever learn?

Will they get their own house in order in time to take control of the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016?

Will they stop fighting with one another in public over internal family matters and focus the GOP’s collective eye on those crucial political prizes before it’s too late to save the country?

It sure doesn’t look like it.

Republicans proved once again they’ve learned nothing from their past mistakes during the recent squabbling over the bipartisan Ryan-Murray budget deal.

The GOP managed to do two things, both of them bad for the battered Republican brand.

The party again showed the public how dysfunctional it is. And it proved how little its leaders and internal wings and factions have learned in 2013.

Last week, House leader John Boehner made headlines by blasting the fiscal hardliners at Heritage Action, Club for Growth and FreedomWorks for denouncing the Ryan-Murray deal before they even saw it.

Then Boehner accused the tea-party wing of the GOP of “misleading their followers” and destroying their credibility.

It’s hard to fault Boehner’s outburst. For the entire year the GOP has been more interested in shooting down its own rising stars than breaking the Democrats’ chokehold on Washington.

Conservative principles are great. But to little-tent conservatives who’d rather win Republican primaries in May than win general elections in November, it’s still all about ideological purity in the short run and not about winning the war in the long run.

To the GOP’s tea-party minority, Paul Ryan has gone from GOP poster boy to sell-out. Ditto Marco Rubio for his impure thoughts on immigration reform.

Ditto Chris Christie, first for embracing the president and second for not being sufficiently conservative while racking up a big win in the blue state of New Jersey.

One of these days the Republican Party is going to find out that it is not the Conservative Party.

There are liberals, moderates and conservatives in the GOP — and conservatives are going to have to understand that they are in fact the minority.

Meanwhile, here’s a radical idea for my good tea-party friends and soulmates.

If you want to see a federal budget you can abide, or if you want to have a smaller, kinder, gentler federal government that runs the way you want, I suggest you do what the Democrats do — win.

Winning isn’t easy. When Republicans only have the House, and not the Senate or the White House or the courts or the media, we’re starting from ground zero.

We can’t afford to throw rocks at each other in public or nit-pick at each other’s ideological purity.

Winning back the Senate and the White House has to be the GOP’s master plan, and it can’t be sabotaged by things like intramural budget fights.

Budget fights? In the real world, the federal budget is never going to be 100 percent of what anyone wants.

Is a budget fight to the death by hardliners really worth another government shutdown that causes future Ken Cuccinellis of the world to lose and makes the GOP look like the party of dumb bad guys?

I don’t think so.

Once Republicans win back the White House and the Senate, conservatives can make all the budget changes they want.

Until then, if Republicans in Washington are going to attack each other, they should learn to do it behind closed doors.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution.”

Comments
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KFO
|
December 26, 2013
The mainstream GOP welcomed the Koch-brothers funded tea partiers with open arms in 2008-2009. They never considered their own candidates would be targeted along with Democrats.

Now moderate Republicans are being primaried out of office and replaced by unelectable far right wing religious extremists. Reagan's father couldn't be elected in the current tea party climate.

It's the best thing that ever happened to Democrats.
LibinCobb
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December 26, 2013
An important point for the GOP if they are going to win the White House.

FIND a candidate who can win. We all saw what happened in 2008, when the GOP decided that a tired old man with warmed over George ideas and a running dope with no ideas at all ran as the GOP presidential and vice presidential choices. Then fast forward to 2012, the GOP in its lack of wisdom choice a man who was and is completely out of touch with the public at large and ANOTHER running mate who could best be described as TOXIC.

The GOP has undertaken class warfare on a variety of groups in this country and they were surprised that Mittens lost in 2012.

Bobbi Jindal said it best, "We have to stop being the stupid party".
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