“A postelection stay in the cool, cloudy capital reveals a sober Republican Party attempting every day in conversations throughout Capitol Hill a rancor-free analysis of why the party lost, and in a way that was so killingly close and yet brutally decisive,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.opinionjournal.com.
“There is a general sense the loss was not undeserved — this is an unusual attitude for runners just back from the race — and that it was not so much a vote for something as against something: them. And roiling, rudderless Iraq. And an unpopular president,” Miss Noonan said.
“There is a sense the nation’s culture and politics are and have been changing, shifting, and agreement that the election was not a realigning one, but could yet prove to be if, among other things, Republicans fail to step back, refind and rethink their philosophy, style, priorities and meaning. They must develop a conservatism that speaks for and to the times. And stop being pigs — i.e., earmarking careerists who started with belief and wound up with hunger.
“As for Democrats, they have a unique opportunity, one they haven’t had in 14 years, to redefine for the public what their party is. It is their chance to change their public label. Now, with the cameras of the country trained on Capitol Hill, they can throw off the old baggage of the 1960s and ‘70s and erase the cartoon version of their party, which is culturally radical, weak in its defense of America, profligate, McGovernite, bitterly devoted to the demands of its groups as opposed to the needs of America.”
Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.