Warning: This Musing
is controversial and may cause offense. I’d much rather it leads to action or,
at least, discussion.
I spent much of the last presidential cycle screaming
(mostly silently, but always passionately) with frustration at Mitt Romney.
More than once, I came close to tears trying to convince one of his most ardent
supporters that the candidate was losing a completely winnable contest.
As I recall, only once during a long, draining and
discouraging primary cycle, did I want to stand up and cheer. During a primary
debate, Newt Gingrich was thrown an attack ball and he treated it like a
boomerang, hurtling it back at the moderator. While I did not believe that
Newt’s temperament was suited for being the leader of the free world, he
undoubtedly understood a vital fact that, through Election Day, eluded Mr.
Romney. The majority of the media and Barack Obama’s campaign were not
interested in a free and open exchange of ideas but only in destroying the
Republicans. No facts, strategies or realities could make a difference unless
one could first gain control of the playing field.
This weekend, I read a book that made me want to stand up
and cheer once again. Honestly, I skipped the first two-thirds of the book and
went directly to the last few chapters. While I will go back and read from the
beginning, sub-chapter headings like, “Never, ever fall into a defensive position,”
and, “Seize the offensive and stay on it,” got me salivating. While, as a child
reading comics I may have felt sympathy
for Charlie Brown each time Lucy placed a football at his
foot only to yank it away at the last minute, he incited the type of compassion
one feels for an abandoned dog, not the respect and trust one should feel for
an elected representative. Watching Republican candidates respond to questions
on abortion, the age of the earth or other queries meant to trip them up and
make them look foolish, is an exercise in frustration. Waking
the Sleeping Giant by Timothy C. Daughtry and Gary R. Casselman recognizes
that most conservative candidates are clueless as to what is really going on in
interviews, debates and ad campaigns.
The immigration debate in Congress right now is a prime
example. The Democrats have set up a win/win situation and the Republicans have
accepted their lose/lose option. Despite serious abuse of government powers that
came to light in the last few weeks—abuses that attack the core foundations of
this country and trouble many Democrats and Independents— Republicans eagerly
moved the spotlight to an immigration battle that is a disaster for them, no
matter what the outcome. Way to go, Charlie Brown!
If I sound angry or sick at heart, I am. I do not expect
Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid to preserve the America that I believe will be a
safe and prosperous place for my children. After the last election, I have
given up expecting it from the Republican Party either. The next time I am
asked to support a candidate, emotionally, financially or otherwise, I need to
know more than his or her viewpoints and record. I also need answers to two
additional questions. “Are you going into this election with a huge sign on
your posterior that reads, “Kick me? and, “What P.R. Boot Camp have you
attended and what did you learn?” If the Republican Party doesn’t start a serious
and rigorous training program a la Newt Gingrich, they have lost me. When your
best friends persistently call you the ‘the stupid party’ maybe it’s time to
head down a different track.
P.S.: My thanks to the book club facilitators of Women of
Washington who alerted me to Waking the Sleeping Giant, though the views in this blog are mine alone.