“This defeat had a thousand fathers,” the editors of National Review said Nov. 8 at www.nationalreview.com.
“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.”