I wanted to send this blog out via e-mail five times over but all the e-mail boxes across America are still in recovery mode. I do think after all my banging and shouting this cycle that I should at least offer a closing argument and wrap up with some consistency of saying things the GOP doesn’t want to hear.
As a whole and across the nation, the night for the GOP was a Win. But of course, for me that isn’t enough. I want to know what that means. I always say that elections are like break-ups. They end abruptly without closure and without answers that aren’t numerical. What I do think we reinforced this cycle is that we have pushed our political system to the brink so much so that if you can’t make people salivate over you or beat you with a stick, you have no place in the political game.
Let’s start local: Love him or hate him, Governor Deal had a record, a friendly legislature with complimentary policies to boost him, and he won on his own merit. We will now move on from that point.
As for the Senate seat and our new (R) Congressional seat, I am still perplexed. We didn’t like our candidates and we weren’t quiet about it. We relentlessly said ‘He wasn’t the first pick, but he’ll do’. They are basically the same (and even look alike) but they are ‘what we ended up with’. I took a lot of grief for wondering why this was okay, but when the polls closed yesterday, my phone was a-ringin’ from Party members and ELECTED GOP members to tell me that they too didn’t cast a vote for Perdue (or Allen in GA-12). But it doesn’t matter. The candidates never really cared about the folks who didn’t support them and they sure as heck don’t care now. I think a lot of people are simply left wondering why we keep selling ourselves so short.
The GA GOP had an excellent ground game. No doubt Republicans outworked the Democrats with phone calls, grassroots and even social media. But after the parties died down last night, I questioned three gentleman on what the GOP message was. All I got were blank stares.
The contentious Senate seat and the new Congressional in GA-12 don’t explain much either. Rick Allen ran for 4 years and spent $1.1 million in personal monies while Perdue campaigned as an “Outsider” and funneled millions of his own money into a campaign that after 18 months, we still don’t know what it represents. What does it mean to be an Outsider politically? Ideologically? What does being an Outsider have to do with being a Republican? Did we really win or did our races just fall victim to the political climate and yet another Red wave instigated by an anti-incumbent pretty-much-fed-up electorate? What was our message?
Was it ‘Keep Georgia Red’? ‘Take Back the Senate?’ ‘Fire Harry Reid?’ ‘Nunn on the Run?’ Running against Obama and his lackluster administration, term and just about everything else he touches? This new representation doesn’t espouse Republicanism. I will give both credit for not focusing on social issues too much (because I do support that) but what made them Republican? Some made a joke that all you had to do was be a breathing Republican this year to win. I don’t think that’s too far off base. How did we decide that they are the champions for the conservative message? Is simply opposing Obama and Obamacare the end-all-be-all to being Republican in Georgia now? We didn’t elect a bunch of new folks to lead on the National stage for our party brand. So what did we really do? What did this climate provide us?
I do believe that as a Party and a nation, we are so desperate for something different. Everyone in their right mind will acknowledge that we are so broken, but they are still unwilling to leave the warm seat at the table to stand in front of the crowd to demand a little change.
The problem is that we are already heading into a Presidential cycle and we won’t be running against Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act in 2016. His policies won’t be on the ballot and we will likely face a woman candidate. So these things can’t be our message. We need to do better and we need to be more prepared. That needs to start today.
But for the love of God, in 2016, do not force a straight ticket. I can’t tell you how many volunteers (including myself) avoided ‘Victory Call Centers’ because you had to make calls for all candidates, not just one or a few. Stop it. Please….just stop it.
In the mean time, we should remember that right now, We The People aren’t governing. We’re tolerating and we get the government we deserve.
As for me, my personal purpose was successful. Running interference for Team Wasted Vote wasn’t easy but I never caved on what I believed and I voted true to principles. For me, it was never about winning. I just wanted to make people think and be a little more open-minded. Right, wrong or indifferent, I believe we were able to point out a lot of ‘wrongs’ in our GOP philosophy and practice. Admitting you have a problem is the first step of recovery and that was my goal.