National Party News

National Party News

What next for congressional Republicans on health reform?

It’s official. August is over and the tallies are in. President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats were hosed for the better part of six weeks as they dedicated virtually all of the summer district work period to convincing America theirs was the best plan to fix the nation’s ailing health system.

Clearly, the president and his party have been buffeted not by the other party, but the American people themselves. Poll after poll shows extreme disapproval of the administration’s current offering. What amazes me even more is the level of specificity in the plan that voters are most critical of — the public option, the extreme costs, the reports of who will be covered and who won’t lose their coverage. You can’t coach that through MoveOn talking points, folks.

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Pick Your Battles

Conservatives have a good target in taking on President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan. It has all the elements of a winning issue for the GOP. It is too costly, too big, too intrusive and too risky.

They should focus on that battle and let some other things go.

By other things, I mean Sonia Sotomayor, Cash for Clunkers and Bill Clinton’s rescue of the American journalists in North Korea.

Sotomayor was going to get in as soon as she was picked. She had plenty of experience, impeccable academic credentials and an inspiring life story. It doesn’t hurt that she is Hispanic — or a wise Latina, as she might call herself. Conservative groups hoped to derail her on issues like gun control and affirmative action. But she skillfully batted aside any efforts to pin her down, and going after her any further is a big waste of time. Republicans get more credibility for taking on the next Obama nominee by voting for this one. Let her go.
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Republicans Say Yes to Recruitment; Dems the New 'Party of No'

Last month, I penned a piece for the U.S. News & World Report highlighting the recruiting successes Republicans have had over Democrats, both in senatorial and congressional races. Since then, the successful GOP recruitment has only continued.

This week alone, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) has two major successes to herald — the prime recruitment of New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, who was appointed to the position by the Democratic governor, and Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk, both of whom jumped into Senate races in their respective states. These are top recruits for the GOP.
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Al From and the Founding of Today’s Majority Democratic Party

This column appears originally in The Washington Times of Monday, June 29.

Sometimes a private citizen — someone who has never run for office but has a vision and a political idea, someone who is both stubborn and insightful — can change the course of political history.

Thomas Paine is an example of one such person. His words and ideas literally helped change the course of U.S. history. In 1776, his first two of four pamphlets, "Common Sense" and "The Crisis" — the latter beginning with the famous opening line, "These are the times that try men's souls" — have been credited with mobilizing public opinion to help motivate American colonists to fight the British in what was deemed to be an unwinnable war. They reportedly were read by a greater percentage of the population of the American colonies than the percentage that watches the Super Bowl today.
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Sarah Palin at the June 8 Republican Dinner

Last year when Neil Young was promoting some new material, people kept asking him to play the old songs. He told a reporter that he preferred doing the new material because he was a different person back then — Young headlined at Woodstock and was a leading voice into the next decade — and he can’t even remember who that person was.

That is a comment on the artist’s life well-lived, taking it as it comes and always peering ahead on the smoky river, never looking back. But it creates issues for the firm. The corporation hates change. It wants to sell the old songs in the back catalog. That is the problem the Republicans had with Sarah Palin at the Republican dinner. As said here months back, if Gov. Palin is to come forth, she will come forth at the June 8 dinner. And she did.
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The RNC Pelosi Ad

Gee, guys — thanks a lot.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) ad depicting Nancy Pelosi as Bond girl "Pussy Galore" set party efforts back a few years. Such silliness about such a serious matter on the part of a few of the boys over at the RNC casts a pall over all of us. The actions of a few are now considered to represent the entire party.
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Steele’s Resolve

It’s no secret I’ve been critical of the job Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele has done in recent months, beginning with his hip-hop flop, and continuing on with other PR snafus.

The front page of The Washington Times today would lead you to believe that he has yet to turn a corner in his chairmanship. But let’s give some credit to the man for his recent leadership on this totally nonsensical notion that some in the party want to pursue in formally referring to the national Democratic Party as the “Socialist Democratic Party.”
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Name-Changing Resolutions Won't Change the Game for the GOP

Political eyes will be on the National Harbor in Prince George's County, Md., as the Republican National Committee meets to consider what we're going to call Democrats.

With the GOP on the receiving end of back-to-back electoral smackdowns in 2006 and 2008 and the party's polls numbers still hovering somewhere below those of trial lawyers (though above John Edwards's numbers!), spending time and money on what is essentially a name-calling resolution — to rename the Democratic Party the "Democrat-Socialist Party" — is at best a waste of time.
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Thin Ice

In baseball, when a team loses 10 games in a row, the owner starts thinking about firing the manager.

Whoever owns the Republican Party should start thinking about firing Michael Steele.

Steele’s run at the Republican National Committee (RNC) has been inauspicious at best, a complete disaster at worst.
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The Misguided Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell has lost his bearings on what it means to be a Republican.

He certainly can be forgiven for supporting Obama over McCain. He can be forgiven for criticizing Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. He can be forgiven for criticizing the direction of the Republican Party.

However, he cannot be forgiven for disparaging the core of the philosophy of the Republican Party. At a recent conference, Powell stated, “Americans do want to pay taxes for services." He also continued that "Americans are looking for more government in their life, not less."
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