NRCC Chairman Tom Cole's Statement on Special Election Results in MississippiShorter Tom Cole: We're DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED...
Washington -- NRCC Chairman Tom Cole released the following statement following the results of the special election runoff in Mississippi's 1st Congressional District:
"We are disappointed in tonight's election results. Though the NRCC, RNC and Mississippi Republicans made a major effort to retain this seat, we came up short.
"Tonight's election highlights two significant challenges Republicans must overcome this November. First, Republicans must be prepared to campaign against Democrat challengers who are running as conservatives, even as they try to join a liberal Democrat majority. Though the Democrats' task will be more difficult in a November election, the fact is they have pulled off two special election victories with this strategy, and it should be a concern to all Republicans.
"Second, the political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short.
"I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election."
Why? Because they thought Rove's plan would work because Bush got elected. They stupidly ignored Bush lost the popular vote and was installed by the Supreme Court and then, in the second election, he won for extingent reasons that had nothing to do with Rove's political strategy. Rather, they played the "vote for us or the terrorists would get you" card for the entire election cycle, including the obvious manipulation of the 'terrorist threat' system with all those warnings running up to the election. Warnings that stopped within days of Bush's re-election.
The truth is that Rove's plan was horseshit in its vision and implementation:
Component 1: Education Standards - The No Child Left Behind act has been a disaster. So much so that even heavily Republican states like Utah give it the thumbs down. You also have a huge majority of individuals, such as our family, that believe public education needs reforms, but not the anti-reforms Bush instituted. We took our child out of school, in part, because she (despite being in a magnet program and in all advanced placement classes) was spending most of her time studying for the annual standardized test so the school can avoid any NCLB act death penalties. Other parents have expressed the same dismay to the quality of their child's education because of the constant "test-driven" focus of the schools.
In this issue, Rove missed a very key component of the educational reform issue: People love their children's public school and they think the problem is "somewhere else." This has been shown in survey after survey - the majority of people are happy with their schools and believe the problem with public education is always "somewhere else."
Component 2: "Faith-based initiatives" - In other words, shit on the Constitution and buy the votes of the Conservative Evangelicals so you can keep yourself in power. This is one of the most idiotic strategies any country can take. The greater the fundamentalist presence in any government, the worse the nation performs. Fundamentalists are toxic to human rights, equality, education and progress. This has not only been demonstrated through-out history, but is readily apparent now. People like to think these conservative evangelicals are "just like us." No, they're not. They're very dangerous individuals subject to mob mentalities and will the first to don the Brown Shirt when that day comes.
Also of note, religious fervor in America is cyclical. We go through conservative movements on an approximate 20-to-30-year cycle. The greater societal response is to become more (net) liberal in the current cycle than the previous cycle. Each peak is less conservative and each ebb more liberal. Ultimately, the beneficiaries are the very people the conservative movement was deliberately harming. It's more than than a bit ironic to see the objects of derision win through the backlash against the inhuman positions of the conservative evangelical movement.
Component 3: Partially privatize Social Security - Oh yeah, that's a winner of an idea... Oh wait, maybe not. Since every Republican and Democrat since the days of Eisenhower have recognized that it would be political suicide to attack Social Security. Nor is like Social Security is actually in danger. That political football has been going on since the 1970's. Every time the actuarial tables need to be adjusted, and Social Security payments and revenues need to be adjusted, the problem gets fixed. Every time. Without privatization.
Component 4: Offer private health-savings accounts as an alternative to Medicare - Yes, first they broke Medicare. Then they failed to get the second part of plan into effect. It will be the Democrats, or nobody, who will fix Medicare and the Republicans will look worse for it.
Had Rove been the genius he thinks he is, he'd have gotten it all done at once. But he didn't, and he couldn't get the remnants of the Gingrich Libertarian-Conservative bloc on board.
Component 5: Reform immigration laws - The pro-business Republicans would love to fix this as it gives their Corporate Masters cheap labor to exploit. Every day Mexicans, as well people from other Central and South American countries, come up here to find work. They're very hard workers who will work for minimum wage in tough conditions so they can send as much money back to Mexico as they can. For business, these undocumented laborers are like manna from heaven - hard working, won't unionize, easily exploitable. With a pro-business Republican party in power, this should have been a no-brainer.
But Rove, once again, completely misunderstood his own party and his base. The problem here is that the Republicans have been openly deliberately dog-whistling to the racist, xenophobic crowd in their rhetoric for DECADES. Simply put, their base won't let them make this reform, and it's their damn fault for encouraging this behavior in their base.