Sunday, January 4, 2009

GOP Wisdom

Written By D.

A GOP political mentor of mine once told me that people learn very little from their victories but a lot from their defeats. He said that defeat forces intelligent people to look at the mistakes they made and seek ways to correct them, whereas victory leads to belief in the illusion that you have done everything correctly.

Further, he told me that victories and defeats are really subject to circumstances, many of which are out of your control. But it is important to see what you have done that contributed to either result that was within your control, holding on to what works and applying new ideas to what needs changing. He was a very wise man.

This past election reminds me of the Watergate political era, not because of Watergate, but because of the circumstance of the negative political effects it caused. Right after Watergate, the msm were gleefully pronouncing the GOP dead. Many Republicans running for office actually did not use the word Republican on their political materials. There was talk of a third party. Democrats were gleeful and took every opportunity to “twist the knife in,” so to speak. Republicans lost elected office at all levels of government. The Democrats were the fire ants at the picnic and soon proved they had learned nothing in victory.

It was tough times for the GOP but they were learning much from defeat.

Something important occurred. Many young Republicans refused to be mired in the swamp of the circumstance of Watergate and they stepped up to the plate with enthusiasm, fresh ideas and a willingness to work their hearts out for their beliefs. They were the first to embrace the new, emerging technologies of the computer age and seriously apply them to politics. The RNC sent young field reps into “rough and tumble” political proving ground states like New Jersey where the GOP joked; “that if a Republican could make it there he could make it anywhere.” They teethed on politics and sharpened their skills. They worked long hours, slept in hotel rooms or rented houses, assisting state and county party officials with all aspects of political campaigns and they were having fun doing it. Eventually, these reps would become some of the biggest names in political consulting. But back then they were just worker bees learning their trade the best way anyone can among the folks and the old pols.

These young Republicans helped bring their party back from the dead and within a few years they started winning elections and gaining ground. The circumstance of Jimmy Carter being elected President was a big break for the GOP. After four years of his negative rhetoric filled lectures to the American people, his disastrous handling of the economy and his weakening of the military and U.S. status around the world, people wanted a change because they were not better off under Democrat control. These young Republicans were poised and ready to help make that change happen and Reagan was the right man at the right time to lead them to victory. You could say the very young and the very old teamed up for a smashing success that stunned the Democrats and sent the liberal socialists running for cover. Reagan and his young GOP soldiers became a formidable force.

I tell you this story because after this past election, I am hopeful that history is repeating itself. I see young Republicans refusing to be mired in the swamp of this past election, stepping up to renew their party and infuse it with enthusiasm, fresh ideas and a willingness to work their hearts out for their beliefs. They are applying the latest technologies to GOP politics and seeking to get actively involved in the political process. They see the mistakes and they seek to correct them. It is a very good sign.

The young and the old need to team up to achieve their mutual goals, holding on to what works and applying new ideas to what needs changing. The young pols are the future and the old pols need to mentor them, listen to and embrace their good ideas, encourage their participation and then let them run with the ball. This past election may be the best thing that has happened to the GOP since Carter. It has created a new generation of Republican activists and this old pol will be cheering wildly for their success.

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