Wanted: A new leader for Republicans

The US Republican Party, once dominant now in disarray, is beginning the search for a leader to chart a course out of the wilderness after the presidential and congressional elections disaster.

President George W. Bush and his political guru Karl Rove once dreamed of building a conservative coalition that would outlast them.

But Bush will leave Washington in January with Democrats monopolizing power in the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Worse, no leader-in-waiting is apparent who could unite the Republican Party’s increasingly diffuse power blocs in time for a rebound by 2012.

The Republicans must first find a way to respond to Barack Obama’s presidency running up to 2010 mid-term elections then turn to the already nascent 2012 presidential race.

The party must also decide which ideological path to take after bloated Bush-era deficits and congressional Republicans feeding at the trough of public money soiled the party’s brand.

The party also needs to work out how to respond to president-elect Obama’s formidable grass-roots political network, which permeated key neighborhoods in swing states.

The most powerful Republican in Washington is Mitch McConnell, the leader of the party’s battered Senate army.

With a few races from Tuesday’s election still to be decided, Democrats look set to fall short of the 60-vote super-majority needed to forestall Republican filibuster obstruction tactics in the Senate.

So McConnell is the sole check on Democrats in Congress — given that Democrats extended their dominance in the House of Representatives, triggering bloodletting among the Republican leadership.

McConnell set out his stall in his first response to Obama’s election in a statement.

“The Republican leadership stands ready to hear his ideas for implementing his campaign promises of cutting taxes, increasing energy security, reducing spending and easing the burden of an immense and growing national debt.”

Incredibly, after the longest presidential race in decades, the 2012 campaign is already stirring, with several possible hopefuls laying the groundwork for a run.

But the Republican bench is short, with no one in sight with the political magnetism of a Bush or a Reagan who could fuse the religious conservative wing of the party with its national security and economic blocs.

There has been much talk of a Sarah Palin candidacy, after the former vice presidential nominee ignited the socially conservative Republican base which failed to warm to party standard bearer John McCain.

But polls show Palin hurt the party ticket among moderates, and it is not clear if she can rehabilitate her reputation as McCain campaign insiders lash out at her competence, knowledge and political viability.

Several of the 2008 Republican candidates are also making moves.

Mike Huckabee, the wisecracking Baptist former preacher who won the Iowa caucuses has scheduled a stop in the leadoff state during a forthcoming book tour — and is maintaining his visibility with a television show on Fox News.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, spent tens of millions of dollars in his failed bid is also trying to stay viable.

He is seen as an economic troubleshooter, has courted conservatives since tumbling out of the race and was a ferocious advocate for McCain.

The next generation of potential Republicans meanwhile is led by Bobby Jindal, 37, the charismatic Indian-American governor of Louisiana.

With memories of the botched Hurricane Katrina relief effort in 2005 still fresh, Jindal aced his initial big test with his handling of Hurricane Gustav the first monster storm to bear down on New Orleans reconstructed levees.

But Jindal may still be too young for 2012 — and if the next election looks good for Obama, may take a pass.

Jindal has reportedly already scheduled a trip to Iowa.

Another potential candidate, who may appeal to the middle ground is Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota who was passed over as McCain’s running mate but emerged as a smooth surrogate for the party nominee.

Saturday, conservative columinist Robert Novak even floated the name of Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, to lead the Republican rennaissance — though admitted the brainy but radical former lawmaker may be a flawed choice.


  1. Carl Nemo

    Hi Malcolm…

    I’ll give folks a simple solution to their quandary concerning the politics of “duopoly”…!

    Democrats and Republicans at this time in our nations history are the same…period! They ultimately report to the same corporatist masters. They each have different “milking techniques” to get the mostest from their lobbyist patrons.

    So in the future I recommend that people focus on the “crimpol” that will give the least back to their traditional sponsors; ie., squeezing them to the max for what little they might get in return and that’s also biased towards their benefit, “we the nobodies”… 😐

    This is an example of pragmatic “politiking” in a “crimpol” world…no?!

    Forget about Rove, two parties and dirty politics. The ultimate facilitation of dirty, now single party politics is “grease”; ie., bucks…! All things are possible with enough “grease” regardless of the source…!

    Obama made it to office on contributions from “We the people”. With that in mind we surely have the most bucks, if motivated, to engage the enemy of us all; ie., the corporatist oligarchs…!

    Obama, hopefully will not forget this wellspring of support from the unwashed masses.

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. JudyB

    We should NEVER NEVER NEVER forget the ilk of Karl Rove…and those who are said to be his protege’s, ie: Steve Schmidt Jeff Larson Scott Howell Mark McKinnon etc. Keep you eyes and ears open for the work of these “Rovians” they are eager to attain his status!
    The smarmy advisor to GWB, Karl Rove is said to be held responsible for much of the damages incurred by the GOP..I hold him responsible for being despicable, underhanded, and a dishonest “turd”, but I hold the greed of those elected to office and what they did to undermine this nations constitution as they robbed it, as the ones who are reponsible for what is now refered to as the nearly defunct GOP. I have lost all trust in in the GOP as it now stands.

  3. Malibu

    You are right Carl. They have lost the public trust but believe me they have just started to attack President Elect Obama. Holding them down will be an enormous effort. We must all be aware of the dirty tricks of the GOP and Karl Rove.


  4. Carl Nemo

    I hope the electorate has a very, very long memory concerning the “rethug” party; then continues to sweep them further into oblivion in 2010 at the midterms.

    We’ve suffered 20 of the past 28 years under their myopic, corporatist policies and to even think they may have a chance of recreating themselves is not only ludicrous but should be dissed by sane citizens who value their freedom and the Constitution from which it is rendered.

    My advice is everytime a “rethug” rises above the waves of their self-created ignominy is to “thunk” them over the head with an oar hopefully putting them out of their political misery and removing them from our collective sight forever. They’ve lost the public trust…period!: |

    Carl Nemo **==