Monday, December 29, 2008

Loseritis: The Hangover Continues

No I am not talking about the fact that the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Bucs and my beloved Denver Broncos all blew it in the last four weeks of the NFL season and all will be sitting it out in the land of "hangover" with a time for some serious reflection. New York wasted little time in firing its coach, as if the coach is systemic of the problems.

You see there are alot of similarities between the NFL and politics. The above mentioned teams, supposed to make the playoffs, can now join the others who will be sitting it out in the coming weeks, but as fans and owners reflect will there really be any true changes. I mean replacing a coach matters very little if the front office and management is absolutely clueless on how to attract or draft talent via the draft or free agency. Not unlike the current political problems facing the Republican Party.

The Republicans lost in November, though have rebounded with some other elections since, and in true football fashion seek to cure the hangover by simply changing the principles but not the management. Afterall, there are those so entrenched that they think the Party belongs to to them not unlike the owners in the NFL, but fail to release without the people/fans your product as in your team is worthless. Replacing your coach does very little if the management corrdinating the organization is inept at addressing the needs on the field.

There is a reason why in politics we call it the "ground game". Its taken literally from fottball. If you can't effectively run the ball (message) on the ground come the playoffs (election day) you haven't a chance of winning. In the end the players on the ground have to execute the direction of the coaching staff in order to be effective. No matter the challenger, you still must play the game.

Just like alot of NFL teams, the Republican Party is questioning just what direction it shall undertake in 2009 and beyond. It has countless issues it must address, but the biggest one is Loseritis. Too many conservatives in the Blogosphere look to blame the poor performance in November on the usual and easy suspects. Ie. Sarah Palin. failing to identify the fact that within the Party you have the Dallas Cowboy-like interfamily turmoil between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives who each feel they are not getting the ball enough.

The fail to recognize they had a melting of both at the top of the ticket in McCain/Palin and still lost. Much has been made about Colin Powell post election and his impact on the election. While respecting Powell greatly, Powell is no conservative nor has he ever been. If there was a single candidate on the stage in the Republican Primary that Powell would have been able to endorse across the board it was McCain---and he did not. Powell opted to vote and support the most liberal leaning Democrat from the U.S. Senate. The shocking "Powell Moment" was shocking because McCain should have been just the kind of Republican a Powell could support if any; moderate on most issues and even closer to the left on things like immigration and the like. Powell will now be that star the team let get away who will forver haunt them as he works to undermine the team that either would not give him enough or at the very least failed to protect his reputation. Newsflash Mr. Powell-Republicans did not tarnish your reputation; the administration you chose to work with did.

The Republicans, and its aging team both potentially in actual age and message, must take a look at the entire team and analzye just what players need to be on the field and which ones need to be relegated to the sidelines. The RNC now has an opportunity to retool the entire Party with a fresh new approach and direction to build a foundation to face not the issues of today, but those of tomorrow.

There is a new team being formed. New leaders. New ideas and fresh visions for the Party. The key to this paradigm shift in direction will constitute a better organization and a more effcient one that will implement a strategy that does not dismiss any voting blocks. A young and aggressive team will fight for the future and not be hindered or disabled by the baggage of the past. Afterall, lets face it folks the ultra conservative voting block is an aging block, It is true that those older voters do vote, but take a thirty year view out and where will the country be. What then will be the demographic of the country? You do not build an organization overnight, but you can retool it and lay the groundwork and plant the seeds for the future by going after all demographics and regions.

Who better to lead this change than a Michael Steele and a Bobby Jindal? Steele, an African-American who is a former Lt. Gov. of a Maryland where Republican rarely carry office let alone electoral votes and Jindal, of Indian descent currently the Governor of Louisiana. These two figures fail to fit YOUR GRANDADS OR EVEN YOUR DADS REPUBLICAN ERA STEREOTYPE--and thank goodness. The time has come to dismiss the liberal contention that the GOP is the white mans Party or the bigots Party or the Southern Party. Its time we have leaders that are willing to go into the Northeast where apparently life is so great for liberals that they want to continue to relocate to the South in droves every year and take the fight and ask the hard questions regarding just what the Democrats are doing for voters.

Republicans like Steele and Jindal represent voices in the Party that can easily articulate the issues and identify the issues facing every American. Do you really think that Democrats will attempt to wage the kind of war against a Jindal or a Steele in the manner in which they did a Sarah Palin? Jindal, a Rhodes scholar, with pedigree that rivals if not surpasses an Obama background and now his demonstrated Executive experience I think would welcome such tactic. The Democrats and their media machine will remind us at every opportunity just how much the GOP is in turmoil for no other reason than to keep piling on to present a situation in the minds of folks that the Party is dead at the same time they build up the hopes of the next administration.
Meanwhile, the GOP will be formulating a new plan just as the Dems did beginning in 2004.

Last season the Dolphins were 1-15 and could closely be compared to the GOP in 2006 and 2008, but then this year with a new organization picking free agents and making draft picks and hiring of a new coach to captain the execution they have turned themselves in AFC East Champions. How? By leaving it all on the field and by leaving no one out of the process. Everyone on that team contributes. The GOP needs to take a lesson and so do those in the blogoshere who want to blame people as fans of the NFL always do when the team loses and start calling for peoples heads like they have Jeff Frederick here in Virginia's RPV. Will the new coach of Lions in 2009 lead that team to rebound from a 0-16 2008 campaign? Not without significant changes in the back managment. There are systemic problems in losing organizations, not just losing candidates or coaches. The candidate or coach is often the "face" of an organization iot seems and gets the heat for losing campaigns, but in reality in runs very deeper than the face. Republicans should not lose sight of that fact.

Afterall, if we were to get the owners and GM's of all the NFL teams together I wonder how many of us would know who the heck they are. Sure we would get the Jerry Jones, the Syndor of course here in Virginia and maybe Kraft but what about the others? That said, I bet we know all the coaches though don't we?

Maybe we need to begin in 2009 to stop focusing our agenda solely on candidate reflection and more on the way in which we bring up candidates from the ranks and how we get them on the ballot. If anything, I think the Jim Gilmore convention in Virginia proved that for us. We need to look at the mechanisms and the people running them behind the scenes to begin to diagnose the problems, especially in Virginia. The McDonnell campaign for Governor in 2009 will give the RPV the first opportunity to implement the changes required to lay further groundwork for the future. Hopefully, given Jindal's recent appearance here in Virginia he is lending some direction to the RPV along with Steele. The best thing for the RNC in 2009 would be for Virginia to return the Executive Mansion to the GOP.

In the end, the GOP must stop suffering from Loseritis and the in 2009 put the hangover behind them and focus on the future of the Party. Afterall, one difference between the Politics and the NFL is the season never ends!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

There Comes a Time

There comes a time in every Republic where the torch must be passed. Many, including myself, thought that after the election that such a torch had been passed after virtually two decades of the so-called recent first families (Bush/Clinton) of American history with the historic election of President-elect Obama.

History demonstrates various transitional periods of American leadership or political thought, whether Lincoln, Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy and frankly maybe even Bill Clinton. I have little issue with the will of the people in practice, nor should any true American, and we all should endeavor to look at our President regardless of Party affiliation as our President. This of course has been my greatest criticism of the far left ideology. An acceptance of the will is only garnered when the result is of there persuasion. Hence since the election of 2000 and the result of a few court battles, the view that Bush was "not their President" rang out even before 9/11 or Iraq. The latter merely elevated the sentiment that Bush was not in their view legitimate, which begs the question again whether the left simply only aligns itself with Supreme Court views that are aligned with its own agenda or do they really respect the Court overall. I mean, its fine for the Court to say pass Roe v. Wadeor create a special status for certain citizens and all but if a Court, like say California's State Courts or the US Supreme Court upholds the will of the people in the recent marriage issue well then they again fail to recognize legitimacy. Of course, should the Courts overrule the will of the people then the Courts again as the sword of the movement are once again accepted.

I only bring this up to reflect just what kind of hypocrisy that the President-elect is engaging within his own Party. Many on the left, and rightfully so it seems, are beginning to see Obama in a very new light given his recent annoucements for cabinet posts and his national security team.

Look, I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton, whom many far left bloggers railed against for months in the Primary and are furious about her nomination, will be a huge asset in elevating Amercias "standing" or appearance in the world but in the end in these times very little will change. Mumbai should demonstrate that. The terror being advocated was not against a figure like a Bush or a Clinton, but at what America stands for at its very root. Unless the new majority plan on changing that very thing than other than great diplomacy and cordial relationships very little will change on the ground. This is why I believe the far left of the Democrat Party is railing today at these cabinet posts. None of these folks represent anyhting new or a true paradigm shift with regard to implementation of policy, though they certainly will be better equipped to put some well placed spin on it better than their predecessors.

It is my contention that come January 2010 very little will have changed in reality though "officially" I am sure certain policies will be altered. Whether or not one voted for Obama or not, one has to respect the position he will be in in the coming months. There will certainly be those clamoring for "change", but there are great differecnes between campaigning ideas and governing principles.

If there is one are that President-elect will likely place greater concentration on and thats the United Nations and though Obama may have the greatest intentions history and events demonstrate that the UN as an organization probaly needs some ressurecting, but not at the expense of American sovereignty. I hope that Obama tip toes in this area and does not make some of the mistakes that were made by the Clinton administration.

And this brings us to the "torch". Of course the election was significant and historic, but since that process concluded we are beginning to see some very (old) familiar faces in Washington. Not just cabinet posts, but advisors and policy crafters. Pundits can spin the fact that everything will be run by Obama, but how "new" are some of the ideas and visions of these insiders from the Clinton years really? Sure we know that the Clinton team had some success with the budget and economics, but it was done at the expense of the military and defense spending which allowed the deficit to be reduced. Is 2009 the time to revisit that strategy? Given the world situation, even if we leave Iraq, is the world different than 1994? Can they honestly believe that the model of Kosovo can be applied to the Middle East or tensions between India and Pakistan or China and Taiwan or Georgia and Russia?

These are different times. We need new ideas and new visions or even new tennets. There is opportunity here. The torch was passed to a young, articulate Obama for a new page in Amercian history, only the problem is that most of those writers of this history are anything but new and come with tired ideas of the past and such baggage as power envy.

There comes a time when the torch must be passed to a new generation of leadership so that our liberty may be refreshed and though many see these new annoucements of representing a "middle ground" it begs the question whether very much will change in reality and whether Obama will permit himself to be a great leader or merely a transitional one in the years to come.