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Could be a good year for GOP

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By John Barnhart

    This should be a good year to be running as a Republican.

    The “Democrats” have spent the past year trying to impose their liberal agenda on a center-right country. This breathtaking display of overreach has antagonized the public, something that was reflected both in the Virginia and New Jersey elections last fall and in a special election in Massachusetts to fill a Senate seat that Ted Kennedy had held for many years. These Republican victories should have been a wake-up call to the donkey party but, after each alarm went off, they chose to hit the snooze button.

    They can’t quite get it through their heads, for example, that most of us don’t want their version of healthcare “reform.” And, no, we aren’t impressed with their claims that we will actually like it once they’ve shoved it down our throats. Right now, they are considering using some legislative razzle-dazzle to get their monstrosity through Congress, legislation that’s so bad that a couple of their own senators had to be bribed to vote for the Senate version in December.

    They also can’t seem to understand that, while we aren’t alarmed by alleged global warming, we are alarmed by the massive deficits they continue to run up.

    As a result, voters are angry. Polls show that anti-incumbent sentiment is as high as it was in 1994 and 2006.

    President Barack Obama isn’t helping matters, either. Although his foreign policy shows some signs of improving, Obama, one of the most inexperienced men ever to have occupied the Oval Office, certainly made a lot of mistakes his first year. Even as he gets better at his job, as he gains experience, his internationalist ideology still hampers him.

    His inexperience also shows on the home front. Last year, he tried to govern like a prime minister, rather than a president. This is one of the things that helped get his agenda in such trouble as the approval rating of the “Democratic” Party’s Congressional leadership was already lower than whale feces on the bottom of the sea.

    Most recently, his inexperience led him to come out of the Massachusetts special election debacle swinging against Wall Street bankers. Then, he had to back off because he discovered that he needed them to lobby Senators to get his reappointment of Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve confirmed. Now, he’s holding White House dinners for national business leaders, apparently trying to convince them that he’s really not some sort of Bolshevik after all.

    Yes, this should be a good year to run as a Republican. The question is, will the Republicans be able to ride this wave of public disgust, or will they end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? They managed to get themselves in trouble, after 2001, by giving every impression that they had no principles that they held firmly enough to stand up for. They ran up deficits and engineered the greatest increase in per capita federal government spending, including a new entitlement, since LBJ’s Great Society back in the ‘60s.

    They seemed to feel that they had to be just like “Democrats,” only not quite as irresponsible. Angry voters flushed them out of Congress in 2006.

    In order to ride the backlash that the “Democrats” have managed to generate, Republicans will have to rehabilitate their brand. They will have to convince voters that, if elected, they will stand up for fiscal restraint, limited government and traditional values. If they are unable, or unwilling, to do this, then they will lose.