Republicans Need New Leadership
"Republicans Need New Leadership." That is an understatement and the Wall Street Journal provides a look back and sound advice for the future. xxx
As they lick their wounds, Republicans are no doubt wondering what went wrong and what to do now. The answers aren't all that complicated: Revive the reform convictions that earned them power in the 1990s, and start that process in the House of Representatives by electing a new slate of leaders.xxx Twelve years ago, the Newt Gingrich-led Republicans swept into power as reformers who ran against corruption and pledged to make government "smaller and smarter."Somehow, across the years, that conviction was replaced by Tom DeLay and the quest for permanent incumbency, Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis and the "earmark" brigade, and a retinue of Beltway retainers symbolized by Jack Abramoff. The current leadership let it all happen, and if Republicans want a shot at regaining control in 2008 they'll turn to a new generation to lead them.xxxAs a minority party in Congress, Republicans must operate as the party of change, not of Washington insiders willing to sign away their principles for a courthouse or swimming pool in the home district. This doesn't mean they shouldn't work with Democrats when it makes policy sense. But they need to reclaim their fiscal conservative birthright.xxx Republicans also need to rediscover an agenda for reforming government programs that don't work or threaten to bankrupt future generations. The Gingrich Republicans did that with welfare reform in the 1990s, and they tried with Medicaid. Then President Bush gave Republicans a once-in-a-generation chance to reform Social Security and health care along free market lines, but GOP House leaders fought him behind the scenes. For this alone, they should be returned to the back benches.