Byron York's article in the Washington Examiner highlights Republican shortcomings in recent years causing the shift to a Democrat-controlled Congress. While I agree with some of his points, I think York needs to go further with a few critical elements.
In analyzing the Franken-Coleman senatorial race, it doesn't simply come down to 'if only 157 Franken voters would have voted for Coleman, then Coleman would have won' mentality. When, in fact, on election night:
Mr. Franken trailed Mr. Coleman by 725 votes after the initial count on election night, and 215 after the first canvass.
York does not mention this fact as well as the main factor in overturning the election results was the strategy to challenge the rules to secure a victory with a proven technique.
The Democrat's strategy from the start was to manipulate the recount in a way that would discover votes that could add to his total. The Franken legal team swarmed the recount, aggressively demanding that votes that had been disqualified be added to his count, while others be denied for Mr. Coleman.
So to simply say that 'if only voters voted for Coleman, then'....one cannot do.
As for the defection of Arlen Specter, Specter was never really a Republican. He made it apparent that he was siding with the Democrats and the overall agenda, so why stay in the GOP. Republicans in Pennsylvania made it very clear in polling data that Specter was going to be lambasted in the next election if he stayed on the Republican ticket. Specter is about Specter. PA voters only voted for him because of his seniority, but that has changed. Voters don't care; they just want to be represented. They have been duped enough times by Specter, and they have had enough. He had no chance of getting re-elected as a Republican. So it was a strategic move--Specter supports the Obama-Democrat agenda, so he'd better go to the party whose base supports the current agenda to win re-election.
Additionally, York cites that Republicans keep reminding voters that "Elections have consequences." I agree that voters need to be reminded of this fact--especially when Congress defies the will of the people. Voter's tend to have very short memories and need a constant reminder that they possess the power rid the Congress of the far left and corruption. Indeed, an uninformed electorate affects the entire country. I'm not sure if the Republicans blame themselves as York states, but they may blame their lack of fight.
York is right in that the GOP did lose the public trust in their capacity to govern in 2006 and 2008 and ultimately "created the conditions" for sweeping losses. The GOP should have tackled the budget and health care reform while they had the chance, and Iraq had its issues. Katrina, although a state and local issue, in addition to a personal responsibility issue as the residents did have mandatory evacuation orders, the GOP and Bush administration took the fall, rather than the irresponsible residents who violated the mandatory evacuation order and mismanagement by Democrat mayor and Democrat governor of Louisiana.
It was at that moment in time the GOP and, frankly, the RNC should have had the epiphany that the MSM was about to steamroll them. The left had their crisis, cries of racism, and so-called federal mismanagement; and in September 2008, they had their financial crisis. As a side note, I always wondered why the GOP never effectively explored the fact that Obama not only did not return to Washington during the financial crisis (yes, I know Obama can walk and chew gum at the same time--I got the memo), but more, why Obama was the ONLY member of Congress who wasn't even the slightest bit alarmed at the financial meltdown. Remember, if you need me, call me.
The GOP should have put the mainstream media on notice at onset, rather than try to backfill the issues, and rightfully blame-shift the disasters to the Democrats, much like Newt Gingrich had done in the 1990's. The GOP should have called out the media, rather than retreating into a corner so as not to be branded as racists, obstructionists, the party of no, or worse, conservatives.
Again, it was at this time that the MSM started its ground assault of the Bush administration and mauling of the GOP. And the GOP never fought back. Bush never fought back.
With this defeatist attitude, the MSM reshaped conservative thought to hate Bush, creating apathy and division in the Republican party, and ultimately causing Republicans to vote Democrat or stay home on election day in 2008.
In reality, the American people crave a party to take on the media, Democrats, and corruption. Just look at Joe Wilson, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, Andrew Breitbart, Rush, Hannity, Beck, Tea Partiers, and our own Erick Erickson. Look at Fox's sky-high ratings. All signs of the American people's thirst for knowledge and someone--anyone--to stand up against Obama, Congress, the media, and the left. And those who do get major support from the GOP base.
The GOP's white flag allowed the left to gain momentum, until it was unstoppable. So much so that the McCain campaign wouldn't even touch Obama's associations or Rev. Wright's anti-American sermons. I think this was due to fear of what the left would do to them with their compliant and obedient MSM ready to report. The Obama campaign said repeatedly that their intentions were to transform America. The MSM never called them out on what that transformation was going to look like. And when McCain started to gain momentum, he would pull back and actually give kudos to Obama and his campaign. With such a non-strategic campaign, circling the wagons and shooting in, and the wrong presidential candidate, the GOP met its doom.
The political climate is like we have never seen before. The country is on the brink of a huge tipping point. The will of the American people has been voiced, but unto deaf ears.
The beltway GOP better find its moxie, stand firm in its conservative roots, and in order to rally its base, had better financially support and endorse conservative candidates. They had also get a serious reality check into the ulterior motives of the Obama administration, which in case they haven't figured out yet, is the clear dismantling of the USA, its sovereignty, and economy.
The grassroots has done most of the hard work in uniting the base, but without the continued fight and right candidates, the results may not be fruitful for the GOP in restoring America back to the Founders' vision.
Crossposted at SmartGirlNation.