Commentators and party leaders are already arguing about who gets the credit for our wins, and who gets the blame for our losses. Whatever else may be written about it, on election night, a breath of fresh air blew across America from sea to shining sea. Along with many of you, I savored the smell. The next morning as I arrived at the Federal Reserve for what ended up a lonely vigil, the headline of The Washington Examiner read “GOP in historic sweep of House, Dems cling to Senate; Obama rebuked.” We won big, but we didn’t get everything we wanted. I am being asked what can we do now? The better question is, what must we do now?
Control of the House will give our representatives the power to put the brakes on the Obama agenda after they are sworn in on January 3rd. Many promises were made to win our votes. The question on my mind now is whether those we elected will stay true to those promises and earn our respect. Thursday morning I listened to Senator Mitch McConnell speak at the Heritage Foundation. The breath of fresh air turned to the smell of waffles as he back peddled on reining in the Fed, tax reform and later, on earmarks. Senator elect Rand Paul seems to have already given up on defeating an increase in the debt ceiling. Presumptive House Speaker John Boehner seems content to let old guard RINOs who got us in this mess take over key leadership positions on the House Rules, Appropriations and other committees. Decisions will be made next week that may well determine whether the 112th Congress will work to reduce the cost, scope and control of the federal government, or whether it will cave in to Potomac Fever.
We must stay awake, be informed, and be Watchmen. Great challenges lie ahead. The fight for conservative values has just begun. As Watchmen, we must hold our representatives and their leaders accountable. We must be proactive, not reactive. In my view, the best way forward is to set specific expectations and hold our representatives accountable, rather than sit back while they set their own agenda. If we sit back, wait and watch how they vote, it will be too late. We have all experienced how ineffective our individual efforts are at getting the attention of our representatives. Our letters and email were either not given the courtesy of an answer, or we got meaningless form letters in response. Let me suggest we do what de Tocqueville said we do best: unite. Carry on the Tea Power we have created. At your meetings between now and January 3rd, debate among yourselves and agree on your top three priorities. Send a letter signed by your leaders, on your behalf, to your representatives. Tell them your group will hold them accountable for your expectations rather than the other way around. Remember, they work for us now. Take a look at the five point checklist the Heritage Foundation has posted at www.heritage.org/solutions. It may be a good starting point for your discussions. Keep the list short and to the point. I believe that letters from groups which played important roles in these elections will have much more power than our individual letters.
Next on my list is revitalizing the Republican Party. It is not just a mess in Colorado. New blood, new energy, new ideas from combat vets and Tea Party candidates who were not part of the “in crowd” met resistance all across the country. That has to change, or we may very well face a repeat of 1912. Remember that Teddy Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Progressive Party split the conservative vote that year. This led directly to the disasters of 1913, the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, the Federal Reserve Act, and the 16th and 17th Amendments. We must not repeat that in 2012.
However, unless the Republican Party opens itself to the energy and determination of the Tea Power, there will be a third party in 2012. Let’s fix this from the grass roots. Get a copy of your county bylaws. Elections will take place next year before February 15 for county central committee officers. Find out when and who can vote. Pick candidates and get them elected. These people, elected officials, and in some cases, “bonus members” will meet as the State Central Committee sometime between February 15th and April 1st to elect new officers, set a budget, and conduct other business. I think the first order of business should be to amend the bylaws of the Colorado Republican State Central Committee. Specifically, I feel a glaring hole in Article II, Purpose, led to our lost opportunity to take back the governor’s office. It reads in part “… the primary purpose of this organization shall be to elect duly nominated or designated Republican candidates to office ….” That should read “to elect Republican candidates selected by Republican voters”. We need to eliminate the confusion in the present wording. I don’t want somebody else to designate my candidates. I will support candidates for the central committee in my county who share my feelings.
Lastly, while the ugliness of this election is still fresh in our minds, we need to look at ourselves. Let’s all commit to be civil to our candidates, our representatives, and to each other. If we want to return this country to exceptionalism, we must find and encourage exceptional candidates. I believe that the lack of individual and in some cases, corporate civility has cost us the benefit of representation by exceptional citizens. It is time for that to change. We need new energy, new ideas and new citizen representatives to get America back on track.
Post your comments below, or e-mail me. Let’s start a discussion and keep the fires burning. Be a Watchman and, keep the faith.
Tired of unresponsive "representatives" who do as they're told?
Governance is too important to leave in the hands of politicians. We need to hold our representatives feet to the fire. We must watch every bill, demand that they read it fully and listen to us. We must be relentless in our civic duty because we have been asleep too long.
- Bob McConnell
- Steamboat Springs, CO, United States
- I'm a conservative Republican who ran for Congress in Colorado's Third Congressional District in 2010. Though I lost the primary I gained an amazing insight into how politics works, and I met hundreds of wonderful, concerned citizens. Let's stay engaged in the mission. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep the faith.