Will Republicans learn?


learnI’m worried.

In spite of super-super majorities of Republicans in the Utah House and Senate, we lost races we “should” have won.

I’m worried that finger-pointing and blaming diverts us from being accountable. There’s a difference between learning lessons and avoiding accountability by looking to blame “everyone else”. We often do one without the other – can we reverse that and actually learn without trying to pin losses everywhere but where it belongs?

I’m worried that our chest-thumping blinds us to the cracks appearing in the foundation. Ask the GOP in Colorado if they wish they would have paid attention to the signs prior to the Dem take-over a few years back. The signs were there. The Blueprint was laid. And it’s being ignored.

I’m worried about our complacency and our arrogance. It will cost us, as it always does.

I’m worried that candidates who “got lucky” don’t realize it was luck and not skill that won their election.

I’m worried that our ability to look down the road goes about as far as the next election cycle. There are individual exceptions, of course and thank goodness. But there are far too few.

I’m worried about the circular firing squad, public flogging, eat-our-own mentality that Republicans do so well and so often. Example #1: Mitt Romney. Within nano-seconds of the race being called for Obama, people who had been Romney’s BFF’s – and scrambling for a spot in the new administration, I might add – started pushing him under the bus as fast as they could. Ann Coulter had a pretty great piece last week titled: Mitt Romney was not the problem. Read it. Learn from it. Then stop it, already.

I’m worried about the 100% or nothing litmus test we give to candidates, irrationally expecting our version of perfection.

I’m also worried at the conflicting sentiment that exists that we should never challenge or hold our own accountable, and the pedestal we sometimes often put our elected officials on.

I’m worried about candidates who make campaign promises they promptly break when the election results are finally tallied.

I’m worried that people think that getting better and learning from the past means abandoning our principles. It does not.

I think we need a good dose of this:

The New Republican Party I envision is one that will energetically seek out the best candidates for every elective office, candidates who not only agree with, but understand, and are willing to fight for a sound, honest economy, for the interests of American families and neighborhoods and communities and a strong national defense. And these candidates must be able to communicate those principles to the American people in language they understand. Inflation isn’t a textbook problem. Unemployment isn’t a textbook problem. They should be discussed in human terms.

Our candidates must be willing to communicate with every level of society, because the principles we espouse are universal and cut across traditional lines. In every Congressional district there should be a search made for young men and women who share these principles and they should be brought into positions of leadership in the local Republican Party groups. We can find attractive, articulate candidates if we look, and when we find them, we will begin to change the sorry state of affairs that has led a Democratic-controlled Congress for more than 40 years. I need not remind you that you can have the soundest principles in the world, but if you don’t have candidates who can communicate those principles, candidates who are articulate as well as principled, you are going to lose election after election. I refuse to believe that the good Lord divided this world into Republicans who defend basic values and Democrats who win elections. We have to find tough, bright young men and women who are sick and tired of cliches and the pomposity and the mind-numbing economic idiocy of the liberals in Washington.
Ronald Reagan, 1977

What do you think?


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10 Responses to “Will Republicans learn?”

  1. Daniel Burton Says:

    True that. True…that.

  2. Utah Democrat Says:

    Be worried.

  3. hollyonthehill Says:

    I do believe I said I was….

  4. jbtalcott Says:

    The difference between Utah and Colorado is that in Utah being a “good Mormon” means being a “good Republican” to the “sheeple” who bother to get out and vote. There are scores of good Democratic candidates who would work nonstop in the Legislature to increase the support for public education, increase aid to those who are disadvantaged and many other programs that are in the public’s best interest. The reason they don’t get elected is that the
    Republican opposition raises the hot button issues of the national party, such as abortion, gay marriage, and handgun control EVEN WHEN those candidates are LDS and do not share the views of the national party platform. In the less LDS areas of the state, those candidates are picked off by gerrymandering as well.

    Whining about a few lost seats in the Legislature when the Right Wing Republicans already have a super majority smacks of wanting not only “power” but “absolute power”. Any political body whether dominated by the Right or by the Left is ripe for the corruption and abuses of power without the checks and balances of a strong two party system. Rather than worrying that the Republicans won’t get more power in Utah than they already have Holly, you should be worrying about the lack of checks and balances in our state government if they DO get more power.

  5. hollyonthehill Says:

    Trust jBT to completely miss the point – but hey – par for the course.

  6. mark Says:


    Its all very interesting. However, it stills deals primarily with image, inter-party issues, and the way the message is delivered.

    As a democrat, I respectfully submit that the message itself has flaws. I always expect the GOP to oppose abortion, but I think its a bit much when the party platform has to include a total 100% prohibition on it in any circumstance every election. The platform ought to recognize exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother–if it is necessary to include it at all, rather than trusting the party’s rank and file to make their own choice.

    More fundamentally, in a nation of immigrants the GOP has to stop opposing legislation like the “Dream Act”. Many minorities legally in this country take offense at this.

    The GOP has to be friendlier and more inclusive to minorities and its going to take more than a few commercials in Spanish to win them over at this point.

    The democrats ran a campaign that tried to paint the GOP as the party of the wealthy and the democrats as the party of working people. You can point with some justification that there was plenty of propaganda and distortions here. However, the GOP played right into their hands. Notions of balancing the budget without raising any taxes at all–even on the wealthiest Americans–seemed unfair to many. It was a way of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. The fact that Mitt Romney was worth $250 million didn’t help much.

    Anyway, that’s just a sampling, but if all you do is change the messenger, you haven’t fixed the problem.

  7. hollyonthehill Says:

    Mark, I agree with you. I did not mean to say only change the messenger. A lot of your points were things I was thinking when I said we as a party are arrogant and reluctant to spend time in introspection. Being squishes who don’t stand for anything doesn’t help. Neither does being extremists who see no room for working with others who don’t see things quite the same way.
    Articulate messengers would also preclude a Todd Akin. I swear, he was the ONLY one who did not realize he lost the day he made an incredibly stupid comment – that, by the way, the rest of us know isn’t even biologically accurate. Embarrassing.
    My question still remains – will we learn?

  8. jbtalcott Says:

    Holly I got your point. Did you get mine is the question?

    From my point of view YOU are the extremist supporting the likes of Jason Chaffetz and thinking that Orin Hatch and Bob Bennett need to be replaced by politicians farther to the right. Farther to the right of these stalwart Republicans IS the extreme Right.

    I also understand your question, which to paraphrase in the words of George W. Bush would be, “Is our Republicans learnin”.

  9. Richard Warnick Says:

    Let’s remember that in point of fact Todd Akin’s position on abortion was 100 percent congruent with the GOP platform and the expressed positions of the Romney-Ryan campaign.

  10. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    All social issues taken to far enough extreme become economic issues.

    And the old republican economic arguments have been proven false, Reagan’s economic theories are the GOP’s problem. You need look no further then the self inflicted economic disaster in Europe to understand the failure of slash and burn austerity conservatism, The German chancellor seeing herself as the next Margret Thatcher has become little more a reenactment of Custer’s last stand.

    And you shouldn’t assume that Todd Akin is why you lost, He was running in Indiana a State Romney won, the States of Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Virginia can’t be blamed on him.

    Hopefully the GOP spends a long time in the woods, I am sure eventually they will find a new way to rebrand the horse and sparrow theory, or trickle down theory and again bring the world economy to its knees, as they do every time they finely gain power.

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