Deadly per­cep­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

“This de­feat had a thou­sand fa­thers,” the edi­tors of Na­tional Re­view said Nov. 8 at­tion­al­re­

“There will be a temp­ta­tion sim­ply to blame Pres­i­dent Bush for it, given the lib­eral in­ter­est in con­tin­u­ing to weaken him and the con­gres­sional-Repub­li­can in­ter­est in avoid­ing blame. [. . .] But let’s not for­get how many wounds the con­gres­sional GOP in­flicted on it­self,” the mag­a­zine said.

“Repub­li­cans lost roughly 29 seats in the House. If party lead­ers had forced Don Sher­wood, Bob Ney, and Mark Fo­ley out in 2005 or early 2006, they would have cut that to­tal by three and been able to spend more re­sources turn­ing nar­row de­feats into nar­row vic­to­ries. Tom De­Lay and Curt Wel­don should have left ear­lier, too. In the Se­nate, Con­rad Burns should have been forced out. Had Ohio gov­er­nor Bob Taft been pres­sured to re­sign early, a num­ber of races there might have turned out dif­fer­ently.

“It is con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans, more than the pres­i­dent, who are re­spon­si­ble for the loss of the party’s re­formist cre­den­tials. Repub­li­cans were per­ceived not just as the party in gov­ern­ment, but as the party of gov­ern­ment. That per­cep­tion, deadly for the rel­a­tively con­ser­va­tive party in our pol­i­tics, was ac­cu­rate.”

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