The Autopsy

Interesting stuff. From a recently completed pre-election survey:

The decisive defeat Republicans suffered in Tuesday’s election came because conservative voters decided the party had lost its way, not because the electorate has shifted to the left, according to Issue Autopsy ’08, a survey of swing state voters in Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia commissioned by the American Issues Project, the group that accounted for the largest outside expenditures made to advocate conservative issues during this election cycle.

Some specifics:

The survey found that approximately 72 percent of those voters agreed that: “The Republican Party used to stand for keeping government spending under control, but not anymore.” More than 75 percent of likely voters agreed with the statement: “When the Republican Party took control of Congress in 1994, they promised to reform government and clean up corruption in Washington, but they failed to live up to that promise.”

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This is the legacy of the Bush administration’s expansion of both government and spending, aided and abetted by the rubber stamp Republican Congress. I’m not arguing that the Democrats are going to be any better, but then Democrats never claim to be small government types. What is being said here is that the Republicans basically betrayed their principles and the voters held them responsible.

The question, of course, is whether they’ll learn something out of this.

Republican Congressman Jeff Flake hits the old nail on the head:

This is not to say that it will be an easy transition. Congressional Republicans picked up some unattractive habits over the years in an effort to hold on to power. Whether it was relying on the redistricting process to help us choose our constituents, using the appropriations process as an ATM or passing legislation — such as a generous prescription drug benefit and a bloated farm bill — to pacify individual constituencies, these habits and voting patterns will be hard to break.

The good news for Republicans is after all their yammering, whining and complaining, Democrats now have to govern. And it goes without saying, based on past history, that they will indeed present the Republicans an opportunity to get back in there in the very near future.

“Tuesday’s elections were a shellacking that revealed the Republican brand is diluted to the point where the American people do not really know what the GOP stands for anymore,” said Ed Martin, the organization’s president. “The clear lesson from the American Issues Project survey is that while the United States remains a center-right country, voters no longer trust the Republican Party to represent those interests in Washington.”

The question is will the Republicans figure that out and be ready to take advantage of the opportunity the Democrats are sure to present?

[Crossposted at QandO]

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