The slow dawning

Kids come back. Upsets happen. Truman beats Dewey. Never say never.

But let’s just say we don’t pull this one out. Panic aside, let’s start thinking hard and smart — not just hard, or hard and angry, the way some of us were when it looked like McCain was going to be the nominee and some conservatives threatened to just sit it out and “teach American a lesson” — about what at least two years in total opposition mode could look like.

Will we push for the institutional changes within the GOP, and demand news kinds of accountability, such as are appropriate in light of the massive and largely preventable reversal of fortunes that has occurred over the last six years?

Will we utilize new media intelligently to overcome, and perhaps bury, the inexcusable bias of the mainstream media against our candidates, our parties, our issues…. us?

Will we find a way to be aggressive, even combative in opposition, without being nutty… antidemocratic… or tolerant of the racism that will rear its head?

Will we find a way to do that without being enemies of our own representative government, which under the Constitution is still every bit ours regardless of who controls it?

Every political exile nurtures a potential political rebirth. Our side, and especially its leadership, has much to learn — or, if we will say it has been learned, much to prove.

A lot of trust has been squandered by the Republican Party. In both houses of Congress the GOP has been involved, and disproportionately, in a shameful quantum of scandal, much of it epitomizing moral hypocrisy of the grossest kind. They mainly chose mediocrities as leaders. Republicans in both houses, too, spent money both in and out of the majority like drunken sailors. Given a period of unprecedented control of both the executive and legislative branches, instead of revolutionizing government, the GOP smothered their own revolution.

The White House exercised zero leadership on this score. Given rebirth after the 2004 success, the Bush Administration still utterly failed to inspire or lead. It made no effort to discipline Congress’s spending. It failed miserably at making the case on Iraq when at the critical political juncture at which it should have been made. Its routine appointment and nomination of marginally qualified insiders and operatives to important posts became a deep embarrassment for principled conservatives and removed a potent political weapon from our own arsenal for the foreseeable future.

Now, the winter for Republicans. What will opposition look like? Who is the Newt Gingrich who will engineer the next return from Elba? And is there anyone who can make it stick this time?

Ron Coleman is generally more upbeat at his blog, Likelihood of Success.

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