(Mark Noonan) – Anyone feeling excited about next year’s Senate contest?
All the ingredients for a hot contest are here. We have a long-term incumbent – a major power player – vulnerable but still possessing vast resources. We have an economy teetering on the brink of complete collapse. We have a new President rapidly becoming unpopular who can become the focus of a national referendum via Congressional elections.
This is the stuff of political dreams. And what do we have?
We have Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, plus Sharon Angle and a large cast of supporting players. All of these seek the Republican nomination. It seems we have this large number making a try for it because Reid is vulnerable.
Perhaps to many it is figured that obtaining the GOP nomination is to be elected Senator? I hope that isn’t what these people are thinking. Harry Reid will not roll over for us. He’s going to fight us tooth and nail. He’ll kick us in the shins and then spit on us when we’re down. He’s a fighter and he won’t quit. He can be beaten, but not easily.
To be sure, the candidates hit all the right notes – low taxes, control spending, pro-gun, etc, etc, etc. This means that Republicans and conservatives can vote for these people against Harry Reid with a clear conscience.
But, much as we might like to think so, just getting Republicans happy about your core positions won’t get Harry Reid sent back to Searchlight. We don’t need a candidate who can check off all the core conservative/libertarian points – we need a revolutionary who can set fire to our political system.
A lot of conservatives look back on Ronald Reagan, note that he won on a platform of tax cutting, budget balancing and strong defense and figure all we need to do is duplicate Reagan’s effort and, presto!, we’re in office. It isn’t like that at all – Reagan won on those issues because they were a revolutionary departure from a corrupt and ossified status quo. A status quo, it should be noted, supported not just by all liberals, but by a large portion of the Republican party, itself, at the time.
We take for granted that conservatism means low taxes and strong defense – but it is only this way because Reagan conducted a revolutionary campaign against the old guard. If we run in 2010 against Harry Reid, or any other Democrat, merely on a platform of cutting taxes and balancing the budget, we’re likely to lose.
And by “lose” I mean in the larger sense – even if we gain House and Senate seats, if we do so by mere default (ie, playing off Democrat unpopularity rather than advancing a cause) then we’ll have lost a grand opportunity to reshape America. And, worst of all, we might find Harry Reid still in office in January of 2011.
A lost opportunity is bad: a lost opportunity while retaining a corrupt political barnacle like Reid would be a disaster.
We need a revolution. It is what the TEA Party is calling for, and we Republicans cannot win big without appealing to those people – not all of whom a Republicans and, heck, not all of whom are even conservatives. There is a growing fury with politics as usual and if the clarion call goes out that we’re going to fight against the system, then we can generate the political will to enforce real change in American government.
We must re-cast the way in which we campaign. We must set aside what have now become the dogmas of the quiet past and we must think anew and act anew. People are hopping mad at government.
Mad, that is, that Obama flies all over the world to talk about himself. That Nancy Pelosi commandeers Air Force planes to transport her cronies around. That Harry Reid has become very rich while we Nevadans have started to become very much poorer.
It’s not a policy-wonk thing; its a visceral anger boiling up from people who feel they’ve been had. The people feel that government has become a con job where the connected few benefit at the expense of everyone else. That is the feeling we need to capture and fight on.
Our Republican candidates are cautiously feeling their way forward. Each is determined to capture the Reaganite mantle but each, also, is determined to offend as few people as possible. In a very narrow sense, this might work – Lowden or Tarkanian or Angle might get sworn in to the Senate in January of 2011 – but it’s not a way to win, and it could be a way to lose.
Reid is already attempting to re-cast himself as a battler for the suffering little guy. It’s a stupidly absurd thing to do, but it’ll work if we Republicans don’t fight the revolutionary battle. If we’re yammering on about cutting taxes while Reid is emoting about saving Nevadan’s homes, then he’s gained the upper hand.
A revolutionary campaign of People vs Powerful will carry us forward and will tie Reid – and the rest of the Democrats – to the corrupt sewer which has become American government. All Reid can do is talk about helping the little guy – we can show that Reid has been screwing the little guy, has profited handsomely off said screwing and that only we Republicans offer a chance for the little guy to get ahead.
But we can only do this if we cast off the shackles of dogma and realize that this is a new time requiring new ideas. Reagan is our base, but he would be the first to tell us to fight today’s battle, not yesterday’s.
(Mark Noonan writes for Blog for Victory)