Friday, September 26, 2014

"Where's the wave?" wonders...

...Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal today.

I don't normally quote (or even read) Ms. Noonan, but I actually agreed with much of her column, "Republicans Need a Direction." My emphasis: 

In a year when Republicans are operating in such an enviable political environment, why aren't their U.S. Senate candidates holding big and impressive leads? Why does it look close? Why are party professionals getting worried? 

But Republicans aren't achieving lift-off. The metaphor used most often is the wave. If Republicans can't make, catch and ride a wave in an environment like this, they've gone from being the stupid party to the stupid loser party. 

Shouldn't the Republican Party make it clear right now exactly what it is for and what it intends to do? 

A second reality is the GOP's brand problem. 

The cliché is that Republicans are old, white, don't like women or science, are narrow, numeric and oppose all modern ways. 

Cliche? I'd say consensus. 

When you have a poor brand, do you spend all your time saying the other guy is worse? Or do you start rebuilding your reputation? In politics that means saying what you are for, not what you are against, and what you will do, not what the other guy will do if the voters let him. 

Republican political professionals need to get the meaning of things back. Otherwise, if Republicans do take the Senate, their new majority will arrive not having won on the basis of something shared. They will not be able to claim any mandate for anything. That will encourage them to become self-driven freelancers in a very pleasant and distinguished freelancer's club, which is sort of what the Senate is. 

It's good to win, but winning without a declared governing purpose is a ticket to nowhere. 

Republicans need to say what they're for. 

I think that's the third time she said that. But haven't people been saying the same thing about the GOP ever since President Obama got elected in 2008? Is it really enough just to oppose the Democrats at every turn or do you need a positive agenda? At least Ms. Noonan finally gets that. So where's the rest of her party?

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