Time Is Limited For Republicans
November 13, 2002
It has been just a little over a week since the historically unprecedented and unforgettable Republican Party takeover of the political scene that transpired in South Carolina and all across the United States. The election that took place on November 5, 2002 has left an indelible mark on the American political landscape.
Now that the winners have had some time to relish their victories in last week’s election, each of the triumphant candidates, especially the Republican ones, need to realize the immense challenges that are before them once their term begins in January 2003.
For South Carolina’s Republican candidates, the daunting task of tackling the unresolved issues of the previous administrations can seem overwhelming when looked at as a whole. There are some very serious issues that need to be addressed by the new Governor and the other Constitutional officers beginning on the very first day of the job. A lot of inquisitive people who voted for these Republicans will be watching them to see what this new crop of officials will do to help our state.
With Gov. Mark Sanford at the helm, he will undoubtedly chip away at the problems piece by piece until they are resolved one by one. The good thing for him and the state Republican party is that he has time to work with the Republican General Assembly to restore the South Carolina economy and make improvements in education. Gov. Sanford has a full three years to show South Carolina voters that they made the right decision electing him as their new Governor before he has to think about getting re-elected.
For national Republicans, though, the clock has already begun ticking. With the 2004 election season just a little more than a year away, that is exactly how much time President George W. Bush and his new Republican majority in the U. S. House of Representatives and U. S. Senate have to get their agenda accomplished. How well the Republicans use their new power legislatively in 2003 will go a long way towards determining how well they will do politically in 2004.
Flash forward one year from now: November 13, 2003...
The year 2003 will be looked back on and remembered as the year the Republicans lowered taxes, cut government spending, privatized Social Security, strengthened national security by implementing the Department of Homeland Security, balanced the budget, ended partial birth abortions, elected conservative judges, eliminating the death tax and the marriage penalty and MUCH MORE...
The year 2003 will be looked back on and remembered as the year the Republicans had an opportunity to enact meaningful conservative legislation and failed to do so.
The choice is theirs and theirs alone. There are no excuses this time!
Republicans have long relished the role of the underdog in American politics. In my lifetime, I have never seen a Republican-controlled White House and both houses of Congress simultaneously. We have now ventured into unchartered territory.
The tribe has spoken...(sorry, Survivor is on the brain) er, the American people, that is, have given the President and his party an early Christmas present to see what they can do to make this country stronger against terrorism. Americans trust Republicans more than Democrats to do something about foreign policy. With the threat of more terrorist attacks and an imminent war with Iraq, the voters decided to let Republicans handle the country at least for a short while.
In the meantime, Republicans need to sieze this opportunity to show what they can do with domestic issues, too. Democrats have always been viewed as the party who cares about people. Republicans can not only talk about it, but they can actually do something to show the American people that they care even more than Democrats do about issues that affect the everyday lives of Americans. Republicans must take swift and immediate action in order to transform those doubters who may have voted for them this time hoping that something will get done. If Republicans respond, then I would expect those voters to be added to the Republican base in the next election.
Of course, regardless of what the Republicans do over the next year, the Democrats will react accordingly and predictably.
If Republicans enact a massive conservative agenda in a short amount of time, then the Democrats will portray the Republicans as shoving their agenda down the throats of the American people.
But that may backfire on the Democrats if the majority of Americans like what the Republicans are doing. If that should happen, then watch the Democrats to begin co-opting Republican ideas in the 2004 campaign much in the same manner as Bill Clinton did in his two successful Presidential bids in the 1990’s. Stealing Republican ideas for his own political gain is exactly how Slick Willy campaigned and won in 1992 and 1996. Clinton got elected on conservative ideas and then abandoned them completely when he became President.
History can and probably will repeat itself in 2004. This bodes well for conservative Democrats or to those Democrats who are willing to spout conservative ideas to get elected. Don’t expect Hillary to run anytime soon!
On the other hand, if Republicans are unable to get anything accomplished in the next 12 months, then I expect the Democrats to fully exploit this to their political advantage in the 2004 campaign and begin pushing their own agenda as the way to go. The Democrats would offer their liberal ideas as the alternative to the failed conservative agenda.
Either way, the Democrats will come back strong and be ready for battle in 2004.
For those of us who voted for Republicans in 2002, we can hardly wait for what the next year holds nationally and the next few years on the state level. There are enormous expectations from this group of newly elected officials. Only time will tell if they can get anything accomplished before the next election rolls around.
State Republicans have some time.
But, for national Republicans, they need to get it done by this time next year!