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Changing The "Party Of No"


The Party Of No wasn't always that way. Jonathan Capehart reminds us of a young whipper-snapper named Gingrich in 1994:
[former counselor to President George W. Bush Dan Bartlett] said I had a point when I asked whether the GOP had a responsibility to put forth a positive agenda. But then he said this. "I don't think it will make much of a difference at all if Republicans were to put forward a very comprehensive proposal." He said the midterm elections are "going to be a referendum" on the Obama administration. Bartlett said that his party needn't worry about the vision thing until 2012. "It's the next cycle when we start talking about presidential politics where the party will be compelled to put forward not only candidates but ideas that the American people can rally to."

Funny, being outnumbered in the House or the fact that it wasn't a presidential election year didn't stop Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in 1994. He co-authored the Contract with America, which was unveiled on the eve of the 1994 midterm elections. That document and its specific plans helped end 40 years of Democratic Party control of the House, made Gingrich speaker and reduced President Clinton to declaring, "The president is relevant" at a press conference four months into Republican rule of the House. The only person who comes close to offering anything resembling the Contract with America is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) -- and the Republican leadership treats his ideas like a bald-headed step child with a wooden leg and a kickstand.
That's an interesting image...

But Capehart has a good point here. Thus far, Republicans have had little difficulty getting the attention of the American public.

Fox News has the highest ratings of any of the cable news outlets (even if you combine them). The likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity (allegedly) write tomes that sit so high up on the best-sellers lists, for so long, that the books end up laughing and mocking all of the writings below them. "Death panels", "Obamascare", and all of the other negative talking-points that that are coming out of the usual conservative mouthpieces are sticking. People recognize and relate to those things about which Rush Limbaugh opines.

But it's not exactly a renewal of the Contract with America, is it?

So, where is the modern GOP's Newt Gingrich? Where are the bold ideas and fresh faces ready to write a new Contract?

For all of the bluster, I have yet to see anyone stepping up to the challenge.

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Cartoon: 'Party Of No GOP Elephant' by John Sherffius