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Friday, 30 January 2009

Are the Republicans going to learn their lesson?

The rot in the GOP didn't start with the election of Barack Obama. They were also convincingly routed in the previous midterm elections 2 years ago, with the Democrats gaining a large number of seats at their expense. There was no Obama to terrorize them back then.

The obvious scapegoat for their poor showing in the elections is George W Bush. It's easy to point fingers at the man because of the Iraq quagmire, or because of the state of the economy. Bush inherited a surplus from Clinton, which the Republicans managed to turn into the largest deficit in history over the Bush years.

In spite of Bush's low popularity ratings (something like 22% just before he left office) the Republicans did surprisingly well among their traditional supporter base. More than half of all white voters still voted for McCain. The overwhelming Hispanic and black vote, coupled with the minority of whites, gave Obama the victory, however.

What the Democrats had and the Republicans lacked, was a charismatic youngish leader. McCain was more than 70 years old, compared to the youthful Obama. The Republicans lost out among younger white voters. Is it too much to ask for that in the next presidential election, the Republicans try to choose as their candidate a charismatic, youngish, intelligent, attractive, well-spoken, moderate leader? A Republican JFK, as it were. Or here's a new one: what about a female lead candidate?

And no, not another huntin', fishin' Sarah Palin. She may have had some librarian-like sex appeal going for her, but quite frankly somebody who probably views roadkill as a recognized source of nutrition is not going to appeal to young urban voters.

They need somebody who realizes that the world doesn't end at Cape Cod. They need somebody who has the intellectual firepower to take Obama on in terms of oratory. Even Condi Rice would have been a better choice than Palin.

And PLEASE, Republicans, get somebody who's internet-savvy next time. You know - somebody who has at least sent more than one email before. And old fogey that admits he doesn't use the internet is somehow less than appealing to the net generation, some of whom may have voted for you. Obama's web-based campaign showed you up badly in the past. I am hereby offering my services fee a very modest consultation fee should nobody in the entire GOP understand how to develop web applications....

If the Republicans don't see the light, they're going to be spending a long, long time in the political wilderness.
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