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  #1  
Old 11-09-2006, 10:01 AM
sfloriII's Avatar
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Two great articles on why the Republicans lost:

And why I'm so upset with them!

Foley: The Final Straw
In 1994, pollster Frank Luntz helped congressional Republicans sweep into power. Now he says the G.O.P. has become everything it once swore to destroy

By FRANK LUNTZ

Had Enough?
America has. Anyone who reads the polls accurately and honestly will acknowledge that the Republican Party is likely to lose control of the House of Representatives, the so-called "People's House." The Democrats maintained control for 40 years. The Republicans — just 12.
What went wrong? Why do Democrats finally appear to be heading toward electoral success and Republicans back into the political wilderness? In a word, fatigue. Americans are tired of the war, tired of watching illegal aliens race across our unguarded borders, tired of high energy costs, tired of wasteful Washington spending, and tired of story after story of political corruption and misbehavior.
As a pollster, my job is to tap the public mood. As a linguist, my efforts are focused on the words of the electorate and how best to communicate a set of priorities and principles. For the past three months, in focus groups literally from coast to coast — and a dozen states in-between — I have heard the constant grumblings of Republicans that their party didn't do enough to follow through on their promises and the anger of Democrats who felt the GOP went too far. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.
And the language voters now use to describe Congress can only be heard after nasty divorce settlements and in the subways of New York. I've had voters spit on me as they emphasize the "d" in "do nothing" and the "c" in "corrupt."
Who can blame them? The Republican Party of 2006 is a tired, cranky shell of the aggressive, reformist movement that was swept into office in 1994 on a wave of positive change. I knew those Republicans. I worked for them. They were friends of mine. These Republicans are not those Republicans.
The leaders of the Republican Party in 1994 were bold, passionate visionaries with the courage to go to the people with a clearly defined agenda. Issues and principles drove them. Today, their agenda stretches no further than the next election. The same people who were elected on a platform of change have become the establishment bulls who fight change today. The 1994 Republicans advocated balanced budgets. Today, they defend deficits. The 1994 Republicans wanted to eliminate government programs. Today, they propose and create them. The 1994 Republicans held themselves and Congress to a higher ethical standard. Today, they seem more interested in protecting their jobs than protecting the people they serve. They came to change Washington. Washington won.
A staffer from the Commerce Committee told me that in 1995 and 1996 he fought to repeal regulations. Now he spends all his time writing them. Another staffer told me how he spent years fighting pork barrel spending on behalf of his boss. Now he spends all his time submitting earmarks for more special interest spending — on behalf of his boss.
It is therefore not surprising that in a recent national poll we conducted, 10% of the electorate that traditionally votes Republican — won't. This time, these Republican leaners (disproportionately older women) will split their tickets. For while Republicans are frustrated with their party, they're not happy with the Democratic alternative, either.
And make no mistake — the Democrats are no better. They routinely dismiss or minimize the indiscretions of their own members. Rep. Bill Jefferson (D-LA) recently led a delegation to Louisiana ? after the FBI found $100,000 in cash in his freezer. They have launched a hundred criticisms but offer no meaningful solutions. They rebuffed efforts to introduce a party platform because they felt they could gain more seats by attacking Republicans rather than explaining what they believe.
And their leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is among the most partisan and negative politicians on the national stage. Not once in the past 12 months has she reached across the aisle or offered any sort of bi-partisan cooperation. In fact, one Member of Congress told me House Democrats have strict orders not to cooperate or even talk to their Republican counterparts until Election Day. At the very moment when the public most craves serious solutions to serious problems, the Democrats' "together, we can do better" message responds with the worst form of sloganeering. As was once said about the Palestinians, the Democrats never miss an opportunity?to miss an opportunity.
To Americans, Washington is a giant cesspool. It's no wonder almost half of Americans (47%) now agree with the statement "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." It's us (the people) versus them (the politicians), and it doesn't matter what primary color you wear. Just as in the closing scene of George Orwell's Animal Farm, even when you look closely, you can't tell the difference between the animals and the people anymore.
But since the Republicans are in charge, it will be the Republicans who will be punished. The scandal involving Mark Foley is, for some voters, the final straw -- not as much because of what Foley did but because of how the congressional Republican leadership handled it, or shall I say mishandled it. For a party that built so much support from its principle of accountability in government, the utter lack of accountability and the constant blame shifting is stunning. Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.
For Republicans to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, they need to acknowledge in the waning days of the election what the Democrats refused to accept in 1994: it's time for a change. I was involved in the 1994 elections, and I will never forget the arrogance of the Democrats back then, and how they refused to accept the electoral reality facing them.
It is no different today. It's time to admit mistakes, to acknowledge voter frustration, and to once again reaffirm the principles that kept them in the majority for more than a decade. This is not giving up — it is the only way to give themselves the slimmest of chances. They must return to being the Republican Party of new ideas, not a party whose only idea is to do what it takes to survive.

Frank Luntz was the pollster of record for the Contract With America in 1994. He is the author of the forthcoming book Words that Work.

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  #2  
Old 11-09-2006, 10:02 AM
sfloriII's Avatar
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Article Two:

From the American Spectator:

Renewing the Contract
By Philip Klein
Published 11/8/2006 12:09:29 AM


Those conservatives who are waking up dispirited about the Democratic Party's takeover of the House and its gains in the Senate would be wise to think back to a Wednesday two years ago.

On the morning of November 3, 2004, conservatives were euphoric as President Bush was re-elected comfortably and the GOP gained seats in the House and Senate -- knocking off Tom Daschle in the process. Republicans began to talk in terms of being a permanent majority. The Democrats, meanwhile, were demoralized -- seemingly destined for political irrelevance.

A lot has changed in two years, and a lot will change between now and November 4, 2008 -- when Americans go to the polls to elect President Bush's successor. Rather than seeing Tuesday's defeat as a crisis, Republicans should look at it as an opportunity to rehabilitate the party in time for that crucial election.

In assessing last night's results it is important to note that it was not a defeat for conservatism; it was a defeat for Republicanism, or at least, what Republicanism has come to represent. In the past 12 years, Republicans went from the party that promised "the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money" to the party of the Bridge to Nowhere; it took control of Congress on a pledge to "end its cycle of scandal and disgrace" and went down in defeat as the party of Tom DeLay and Mark Foley.

Having abandoned its core principles, the Republican Party had nothing to run on this year, so its campaign strategy centered on attacking Nancy Pelosi -- a questionable tactic given that, according to some polls, more than half of the country had never even heard of her.

Republican strategists who projected optimism over the past few months cited as reasons for their confidence: fundraising, incumbency advantage, gerrymandering and new innovations such as "microtargeting." But as this election made perfectly clear, none of this can bail out a party that is bereft of ideas.

We will hear a lot of reasons for why Republicans lost this year. We will hear that they lost because of an unpopular war, an unpopular president, a culture of corruption, a traditional anti-incumbent six-year itch and a dispirited base. But one thing is for sure. Republicans did not lose on a platform of limiting the size and scope of government.

Just as this election wasn't a defeat for conservatism, it wasn't a victory for liberalism. Democrats intentionally avoided a publicized "Contract With America"-style platform advancing a progressive agenda in favor of making the campaign a referendum on President Bush. The closest thing they had to a platform, "A New Direction for America," was not a sweeping ideological document, but a laundry list of initiatives such as making college tuition tax-deductible, raising the minimum wage, and negotiating drug prices. Though a Democratic majority will likely roll back President Bush's tax cuts, they didn't advertise that in the "fiscal discipline" section of their platform. (It is a testament to how enamored Republicans became with big government that they enabled Democrats to run as the party of fiscal discipline.)

After controlling the House of Representatives for the last 12 years and the White House for the last six, a lot of pent up anger developed toward Republicans. If the GOP had to lose an election as a result of this sentiment, better this year than in 2008, when Americans will choose who will lead the War on Terror into the next decade.

The Democratic Party will take power in January. Either they'll demonstrate to Americans that they have no governing philosophy, or they'll play to their anti-war base by pushing for a premature withdrawal from Iraq and go overboard with investigations of President Bush.

While the exposure of the Democratic Party during the next two years will help Republicans, the GOP should not head into the next election thinking that running against Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton will ensure victory. Instead, the Republicans need to differentiate themselves by returning to their small government roots and once again becoming the party of ideas.

In 1994, Republicans swept into power by signing a contract with America. That contract
has been breached, and unless they want to lose the big prize in 2008, it's time for that pact to be renewed.


Philip Klein is a reporter for The American Spectator.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2006, 10:57 AM
MedMech
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Why so many words?

Heres my article:

Bush and Rumsfeld are hard headed egomaniacs; that is why the Republicans lost.
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2006, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMech View Post
Why so many words?

Heres my article:

Bush and Rumsfeld are hard headed egomaniacs; that is why the Republicans lost.
Except that Bush and Rumsfeld seem to be the very same people they were in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Is soemthing else at play, or have most folks just not been paying attention?
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Old 11-09-2006, 11:08 AM
MedMech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
Except that Bush and Rumsfeld seem to be the very same people they were in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Is soemthing else at play, or have most folks just not been paying attention?
No, the Afghanistan action was decisive and on target, your mentor will admit that.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2006, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
Except that Bush and Rumsfeld seem to be the very same people they were in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Is soemthing else at play, or have most folks just not been paying attention?
Maybe you're right. Maybe the mood of the country has changed. Maybe we were willing to give Dubya and Rummy the benefit of the doubt back when we were watching endless replays of the Pentagon and WTC bombings.

I think the Republicans HAVE changed. I think they have become more arrogant and less interested in public opinion. They seem to have gone the exact opposite of the direction the Democrats went during the Clinton administration. They seemed to change direction with every fluctuation of the polls. The current leaders don't seem to pay any attention to the polls.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMech View Post
No, the Afghanistan action was decisive and on target, your mentor will admit that.
Sorry, I think Reagan and Goldwater are dead (not sure which one you meant), they would have a hard time admitting anything...
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  #8  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee8go View Post
Maybe you're right. Maybe the mood of the country has changed. Maybe we were willing to give Dubya and Rummy the benefit of the doubt back when we were watching endless replays of the Pentagon and WTC bombings.

I think the Republicans HAVE changed. I think they have become more arrogant and less interested in public opinion. They seem to have gone the exact opposite of the direction the Democrats went during the Clinton administration. They seemed to change direction with every fluctuation of the polls. The current leaders don't seem to pay any attention to the polls.
Yes, they have changed a great deal. They have abandoned the virtues of true conservatism for the horrors of social conservatism.
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:19 PM
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I'm glad the Republicans are finally seeing what I and many others have been saying time and time again that they have abandoned their principles. Too bad it took such an electoral shock for that to sink in.
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  #10  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMech View Post
No, the Afghanistan action was decisive and on target, your mentor will admit that.
Agreed, we went after the guy responsible for 9/11 and the state that was harboring him.

My only ***** is that I don't think we were decisive enough in Afghanistan. I kept waiting for the Sunday punch - 82nd Airborne to seal off the border with Pakistan, Marines to seal off Tora Bora, even a tactical nuke on top of the SOB, ANYTHING to finish the job. But it seemed we kept holding back, more concerned with the buildup for Iraq, and let bin Laden and his cronies escape to fight another day.
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  #11  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:28 PM
MedMech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
Sorry, I think Reagan and Goldwater are dead (not sure which one you meant), they would have a hard time admitting anything...

I think Vining is alive and well.
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  #12  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:34 PM
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Bush was never a conservative. He learned how to do something his dad never learned: How to talk like one. It worked.

Bush & Co, especially Congress, lost me when they couldn't control their own discretionary spending and failed to move on SSI. Instead, they went even farther into socialism. that crap is not conservative.

I am divided on Rumsfeld, which I'll get to in a moment. Unlike most of you folks, I think Bush is his own man, not a cat's paw of Cheney nor some dark conspiracy. I think Bush & Cheney just pretty much see eye-to-eye. They have known each other for several decades and work well together. That kind of relationship can build a lot of trust, especially in politics where trust and faithfulness are so rare. The same goes for Rumsfeld. the three of them genuinely like and trust each other. So ultimately, Rumsfeld's failures are less his own than they are Bush's.

Concerning Rumsfeld, I think he was too timid and risk-averse in prosecuting the war. Afghanistan was run beautifully for the most part. It was successful mostly because it was orchestrated by SF & CIA types. They formed relationships from the bottom up with local tribal leaders and were going to win the war whether or not traditional mech infantry and air forces ever got in theater. had that war been allowed to continue the result would have been an Afghan revolution and an Afghan new government. This would have been more likely to have satisifed the Afghan people, in the long run.

That model should also have been used in Iraq.

But instead, and in both cases, tradtional combat forces were brought in. This transformed the wars into something our to brass and politicians understand, to the devastating loss of the initiative in both cases. Rather than kill bad guys and live with and among good guys, we garrisoned heavy infantry away from the locals. That is a traditional army of occupation -- conquerors. That is EXACTLY the wrong message and method.

The other Donald did things that I completely agree with: Implemented the long-overdue transition from a military designed to confront and defeat the USSR to a smaller, far more lethal and integrated military. the goal for all branches is what the Navy and USMC have developed over the years. the process is not complete but I think it is on the right path. Had the integration been completed in the 1990's (as it should have been, IMO), I think the strategy & tactics of war in Afghanistan and Iraq would have stayed in the SF & CIA mentality.

B
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  #13  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMech View Post
I think Vining is alive and well.
I didn't realize he was a Goldwater conservative -- thanks for straightening me out on that.
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  #14  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Bush was never a conservative. He learned how to do something his dad never learned: How to talk like one. It worked.

Bush & Co, especially Congress, lost me when they couldn't control their own discretionary spending and failed to move on SSI. Instead, they went even farther into socialism. that crap is not conservative.

I am divided on Rumsfeld, which I'll get to in a moment. Unlike most of you folks, I think Bush is his own man, not a cat's paw of Cheney nor some dark conspiracy. I think Bush & Cheney just pretty much see eye-to-eye. They have known each other for several decades and work well together. That kind of relationship can build a lot of trust, especially in politics where trust and faithfulness are so rare. The same goes for Rumsfeld. the three of them genuinely like and trust each other. So ultimately, Rumsfeld's failures are less his own than they are Bush's.

Concerning Rumsfeld, I think he was too timid and risk-averse in prosecuting the war. Afghanistan was run beautifully for the most part. It was successful mostly because it was orchestrated by SF & CIA types. They formed relationships from the bottom up with local tribal leaders and were going to win the war whether or not traditional mech infantry and air forces ever got in theater. had that war been allowed to continue the result would have been an Afghan revolution and an Afghan new government. This would have been more likely to have satisifed the Afghan people, in the long run.

That model should also have been used in Iraq.

But instead, and in both cases, tradtional combat forces were brought in. This transformed the wars into something our to brass and politicians understand, to the devastating loss of the initiative in both cases. Rather than kill bad guys and live with and among good guys, we garrisoned heavy infantry away from the locals. That is a traditional army of occupation -- conquerors. That is EXACTLY the wrong message and method.

The other Donald did things that I completely agree with: Implemented the long-overdue transition from a military designed to confront and defeat the USSR to a smaller, far more lethal and integrated military. the goal for all branches is what the Navy and USMC have developed over the years. the process is not complete but I think it is on the right path. Had the integration been completed in the 1990's (as it should have been, IMO), I think the strategy & tactics of war in Afghanistan and Iraq would have stayed in the SF & CIA mentality.

B
Lucid, well-written post -- I agree with most of it.
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  #15  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post

Concerning Rumsfeld, I think he was too timid and risk-averse in prosecuting the war.
Unfortunately I agree. But I think that's symptomatic of the malaise affecting America in general. America is casualty averse with the result that the necessary overwhelming military force is not used because it looks too much like you are going to get into a real war and the populace doesn't have the courage for that.

So you try to do it with a "small footprint" and that will never work.

Quote:
Afghanistan was run beautifully for the most part. It was successful mostly because it was orchestrated by SF & CIA types.
I wouldn't regard the escape of OBL and the boys at Tora Bora a success. From what I've read the SF's and the like who were involved were hopelessly inadequate in numbers to do the job. But perhaps the reality is that the US itself is simply too weak to do the job. There is no meaningful border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The British, then the Russians, now the US have discovered that. I dont think the US military is anywhere near big enough to seal any foreign border.

Quote:
Had the integration been completed in the 1990's (as it should have been, IMO), I think the strategy & tactics of war in Afghanistan and Iraq would have stayed in the SF & CIA mentality.
I think that's a huge IF Bot. I think all that would have done is make the US even less effective. Small "kampfgruppe" can work fine, sometimes, if you're looking for a specific target in isolation, but when the enemy supply is endless you will eventually simply be swamped.

- Peter.

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