10 Quick Warnings For The GOP

Most conservatives, myself included, tend to be relatively optimistic by nature and so I thought it would be a good idea to post 10 things to help keep us from getting caught up in triumphalism after the great election we just had. Here we go…

1) On the one hand, George Bush defeated John Kerry and we added four seats in the Senate. On the other hand, despite the fact that John Kerry was in essence another Michael Dukakis, had another 70,000 voters in Ohio gone the other way, we’d be talking about “President Kerry” right now. So don’t get cocky.

2) After being pounded for three elections in a row, the Democrats may have experienced enough pain to start moving to center. As Bill Clinton proved, Democrats who are PERCEIVED to be centrists are capable of beating Republicans in big elections.

3) During the 2004 election cycle, the left absolutely beat us into the ground on fund raising. Not only did John Kerry almost achieve parity with Bush in raising hard money, Democratic 527s outraised GOP groups 5 to 1. We could be in real trouble if that continues election cycle after election cycle.

4) Expect a lot of conservative infighting over the next couple years which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.

5) A large portion of the conservative base is angry about government spending and illegal immigration. They were willing to compromise — for a while — in order to get Bush back in. The days of compromising on these subjects are largely over which will make for particularly nasty fights on the Hill.

6) Remember that even though we made a lot of gains in 2004, we’re still not going to get everything we want as conservatives. So don’t get upset if we don’t win on every little issue and have to make some less than pleasant compromises. That should go without saying, but just keep it in mind.

7) Expect the Democrats to fight with everything they have to block conservative judges from getting on the Supreme Court and expect conservatives to fight back just as hard. The GOP is holding more cards this time around than we did over the last two years, so expect us to win most of the fights — if we’re willing to duke it out to get real conservative judges on the Supreme Court.

8) I like and respect social conservatives and I know that a lot of them are excited because they believe “moral issues” played a decisive role in Bush’s reelection. But here’s a word to the wise: don’t let your “eyes get bigger than your stomach” on “moral issues”. People like politicians in Washington who they believe are sensitive to their concerns about morals, but they also become furious if they believe a politician is trying to force moral standards on them that they don’t share. In other words, it’s a fine line, so go easy.

9) Just because the blue state libs are ranting and raving about red states doesn’t mean we have to do the same thing. Slam the libs as much as you like, but remember that the blue states include places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and a number of other states that we lost by very small margins. And if you insult “blue states” instead of libs, you’re insulting lots of potential voters. Better to let the liberals do that.

10) The war on terrorism is still in full swing and it doesn’t end with Iraq. We’ve got to finish destroying Al-Qaeda, get nukes out of the hands of North Korea, stop Iran from acquiring nukes, and get Iran and Syria out of the terrorism business, among other things. While we’re doing this, our country is still going to be in great danger from terrorists, possibly armed with weapons of mass destruction. Not only is this urgently important for the country, Bush was reelected in 2004 largely because we’re the party that takes national security seriously. So we’ve got to keep getting the job done in this area.

*** Update #1 ***: I changed “150,000 voters in Ohio” to “70,000 voters” in Ohio to make #1 more accurate.

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