It was a thorough defeat, and we deserved it. We drifted so far from what this movement was founded on. We had our chance and we blew it. I fear now we will spend years in the wilderness, wandering aimlessly and waiting for someone to show us the way. Who will lead the Republican party forward? Will the party return to its roots or move to the center? How long will it take to get us there? These are the questions I pondered as I drifted off to sleep while Barack Obama spoke to thousands in Grant Park and millions around the world.
Who will lead us? The obvious names pop into my mind. Mitch McConnell escaped to remain minority leader in the senate. Sarah Palin surely has loftier goals ahead. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee could take the lead. Or we can look to someone younger, more dynamic. Someone like Bobby Jindal or Michael Steele. Or maybe it will be someone we haven't heard of yet. Someone like the man Obama was just a few short years ago as a state senator.
Will the party return to its roots or move to the center? There was a lot of talk in this cycle when John McCain grabbed the nomination of the party splitting and a new "conservative" party being formed. Let me strongly state that I believe this would be devastating. This party is still the big tent party. There is plenty of room for everyone here. I believe movement to the right on the size and scope of government is the key. George W. did a lousy job in this area. He presided over the growth of government, not the reduction. I believe abortion is still a valid argument for conservatives. It is likely now to never be overturned because of the Supreme Court Justices that will be appointed by Obama. That doesn't mean we forget the issue. We need to educate people on the trauma that is inflicted on the unborn as well as the mother and the father. We need to focus on helping those facing this decision and reduce abortions from the grassroots level instead of the executive level. It is time to cut loose the Bush presidency and return to fiscal responsibility. The budget deficit is a disgrace and spending is out of control. Republicans had nothing to say to the American people. They had nothing new under the sun to run on. We have many good ideas in this party. We need to articulate them and help the public to understand them.
How long will it take? That is up to us. Will we mope and complain about this administration or will we get off our cans and fight for it. If the tax increases go into effect sooner rather than later, we could gain seats in the house in two years. Or we could be out for ten. It is our choice. We need to rally around new leadership, embrace the values and positions that swept the Republicans into power in 1994 in the House of Representatives and we need to do it soon. Ronald Reagan is still the model we strive to emulate.
I want to congratulate Mitch Daniels, Tony Bennett and especially Ed Clere for their victories. Ed, you have ousted one of the strongholds of the Democratic Party in this state. You did it in short order and with positions that were clear and understandable. We need more of that in Southern Indiana. I look forward to speaking with you soon. As for now, we have a lot of work to do.