Just as Republicans were unable to agree on a campaign message before the election, party leaders now cannot come to a consensus over the reasons for the resounding defeat. As it licks the wounds inflicted by an aggressive values victory for Democrats, the GOP is split over its future policy platform. In the rubble of election returns, two distinct philosophies have emerged--the party of Rep. Mike Pence and the party of Sen. Arlen Specter.
In a statement yesterday, Sen. Specter said the Republicans will have to become "a lot more progressive and a lot less ideological." Contrast his strategy of moral regression to the vision of Rep. Pence, who defines progress as restoring values to their place of party prominence. A press release announcing Rep. Pence's intention to run for minority leader read,
"I am running for Republican leader because we didn't just lose our majority, I believe we lost our way....Social naysayers like former member Dick Armey blasted the GOP for focusing valuable legislative time on issues like the federal marriage amendment. But the irony is, the candidates who didn't see the importance of marriage and family in 2006--like Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Jim Leach (R-IA), Jeb Bradley (R-NH), and Charlie Bass (R-NH)--are all out of a job. Armey's tantrum sounds similar to Barry Lynn's analysis, which also wrongly assumes that the Religious Right failed to elect its faithful. Both he and Armey are mistaken. How else can they explain why 94 percent of FRC Action's "True Blue" members who had perfect marks on our vote scorecards were reelected?
"Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people didn't quit on the Contract with America, we did. And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our party and millions of our most ardent supporters....
"Only by making a dramatic turn in the direction of the agenda of the Republican Revolution can we hope to attain majority status again..... We must again embrace the notion the Republicans seek power not simply to govern but change government. We are the agents of change and we must return to that reformist vision....
As they try to set the course for the coming term, our nation's leaders would be wise to heed Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-OK) advice: Republicans and Democrats don't need to govern from the middle, they need to govern from conscience.
The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins commented,
The values voters of 2004 could be called the integrity voters of 2006. The message is that values are not just something you talk about at election time; values should guide public policies and personal conduct. This should be a clear message to both Parties that values voters vote values, not party. Their focus is not on party politics, but rather on government guided by core values.Source: Family Research Council