SALT LAKE CITY, June 7, 2012 — Wisconsin Democrats just concluded the Scott Walker Empowerment Campaign on Tuesday.
The GOP governor of the Badger State is now emboldened and more politically potent than ever, as are the dozens of other conservative reformers across the country. That list of Republican leaders is long and growing.
It often coincides with the list of Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential prospects: Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan, to name a few.
In other words, the Republican Party bench is deep and talented.
Since Barack Obama won the presidency, in fact, the GOP has been on the rise. In 2009, Christie and McDonnell won governorships and have been dynamos for the conservative cause since. Scott Brown then abruptly took a senate seat long-thought to be reserved for a Democrat.
The 2010 midterms introduced an entire class of conservative stars in every arena. Susana Martinez, Rick Scott, Nikki Haley, Brian Sandoval, and of course, Scott Walker, all won gubernatorial races and have continued to impress. Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Kelly Ayotte, and the aforementioned Rubio and Portman. In the lower house, a dozen or so names come to mind.
Quick, name the Democratic governor who is considered a rising star in the party, perhaps on the fast track to the presidency. Beverly Purdue of North Carolina was once regarded as a possibility for the presidency. She has concluded that she can’t even win a second term as her state’s governor.
The once and future has-been Jerry Brown (re)made a name for himself as mayor of Oakland, but isn’t quite measuring up (again) as the Golden State’s chief executive.
Which senators represent the boldness of the party? Diane Feinstein? Chuck Schumer? Perhaps Democrats are looking to their new like Al Franken or Sherrod Brown?
In the House, only those throwback, die-hard liberals have anything resembling a seat at the table, a ticket to which one needs to pry from Nancy Pelosi’s icy grip.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party has managed to renew and reenergize itself without self-immolating. Perennially the subject of obituaries by mainstream media types, the GOP is now stronger than ever, with a phalanx of bright, young, and energetic leaders ready for battle.
The Democrats are in a state of atrophy while the Republicans are ascendant.
Why does the party riding the highest of waves just three years ago have so little to show for it now?
For one, Democrats in 2008 made the most obvious of fatal mistakes: They convinced themselves of their invincibility. To be sure, they had just won what seemed like a huge mandate from the national electorate, and so felt justified in excluding their opposition from governing.
But exclusion allowed the Republicans to regroup and reengage, with cause.
And the electoral mandate was illusory. What the American people voted for in 2006 and 2008 was harmony. The Democrats taught us that harmony doesn’t always solve tough problems, and that the Democrats don’t practice it at any rate.
Second, they didn’t propose any new ideas. The 2006 agenda was to “drain the swamp” in the House. Noble, but not exactly creative or bold. So unbold was it, in fact, that Pelosi crew began straightway doing everything they could to make the swamp more habitable for their own friends.
Across the country, Democrats are aligning themselves with the proven losers of higher taxes, more regulation, and cronyism for public sector unions. They haven’t had a new idea since the Great Society, yet they are willing to fight to the death moving “forward.”
In 2008, Obama won the presidency on a platform of Hope and Change that offered little in the way of solutions to the problems he was so eager to engage. From all the empirical data available, he made things worse, and did so in the most self-serving fashion.
Third, Democrats haven’t led. Voters recognize leadership when they see it, and they haven’t seen it with the Democrat Party or this president. Constantly blaming others, Barack Obama and his allies still haven’t figured out that the first rule in problem solving is to own the problem.
But the main reason the that the party of FDR and JFK doesn’t have any superstars is that President Obama has stolen the spotlight. He was the superstar and has governed as if that was a worthy end. His self-absorption has made it impossible for others to rise, his narcissism making it impossible to share the stage.
The smart Democrats are becoming Republicans these days. Just ask Artur Davis.
Governor Walker has shown that political toughness abounds. But that toughness and the coming electoral victories it will produce are to be had, in the main, by the GOP.
Learn more about the author at Rich-Stowell.com
Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic Training; Tunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative, which you can follow on Facebook.
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