I've been thinking about the election a good part of the day (at least, while I wasn't at the range shooting). I've read any number of articles in the press on the subject. Allow me to share with you some initial thoughts.
In the last two elections, the Republican party has had its collective ass handed to it, and it was well-deserved. The question is, how did a party that has held the White House for 20 of 28 years (if I count correctly) and controlled Congress for nearly as long fall so far?
The answer is multi-part. First is that the Party of Reagan isn't the Party of Reagan any more. They're Democrat Lite. They want most of the same things the Democrats do (call it "more government intervention in your daily life")--they simply differ in how to pay for it. The Democrats will tax you, Republicans will borrow the money.
Second is that power brought arrogance. The American people, of all political stripes, usually don't take arrogance in public officials too well. They may put up with it for a while, but eventually they will swat you down. The Republican Party has been swatted pretty hard. Lose the arrogance, or keep losing elections. This isn't House.
Third, and perhaps worse, is that the people running the party have spent too much time listening to political consultants who keep telling them that "You just have to appeal to the independents." The people in power apparently took that as permission to spend money like a drunken sailor in a whore house while on shore leave, thinking they could buy or bribe the independents with programs. As last night's returns show, it didn't work too well.
How to solve the problems? First, return to being the Party of Reagan. We need big ideas and big plans, but we also need to espouse smaller government and less taxes, and have a plan to make it happen. (McCain allowed Obama to steal the "less taxes" part of the message without a fight. Poor strategy.) We need vision and optimism, not myopia and the same ol, same ol.
Second, learn your lesson. Power is best received when it isn't arrogant. If you hold public office, you damn well better listen to your constituents. When they calls are running 10-to-1 against a bill to allow the people who, in large part, screwed up the economy to dip into our pockets for money to "fix" it, you need to vote "NO!" Not just once and then cave in because you got some pork for your district. As an elected politician, you really need to get a grip on that "public service" thing.
Third, if you want to appeal to independents, stop trying to buy them. It doesn't work. The Party of Reagan attracted independents and conservative Democrats by being--dare I say it?---conservative. While not always successful, they espoused the ideas of smaller government, lower taxes and personal responsibility. They were optimistic and upbeat. The Republican party of today is neither.
Fourth, prune out the dead wood, expell the RINOS and root out anything that even hints at corruption. Get the house cleaned up, because company is coming.
It's going to be all those people who flock to the Party of Reagan again.