I have been saying for the longest time that the GOP needed to clean house, badly. Every time the Republican party sends me a survey, I tell them that they need to get rid of these guys that have been around since the beginning of time and get back to the principle of limited government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and not doing at the federal level what should be done at a state level and not doing at the state level what should be done at the local level. I fully expected the Republicans to ax the departments of energy, commerce and education, replace the current system of taxing income (which punishes highly productive, high-income earners, but doesn't touch the Kerrys, Kennedys, Soroses and Pelosis of the world) with a retail sales tax, and privatize Social Security. And they could have done it. Instead, they wasted their time fighting against (a) flag burning (b) gay marriage and (c) stem-cell research, things that (a) are relatively meaningless (b) best left to the states to decide and (c) might very well result in positive benefits and not have to be the death sentence to the unborn that everyone's worried about. In short, they pissed away opportunity after opportunity to change things the way that they've been promising to do for years, and decided to go for what was easy.
Another way to look at it? Shortly after taking over Congress in 1995, the Republicans started treating tax revenue as some kind of a campaign fund. They started promising to throw money in the direction of their strongest supporters. They started thinking in the short term rather than in the long term. They started thinking more about ingratiating themselves with current voters than with the long term direction of the country. In short, they started acting like Democrats.
That's what happened Tuesday night. The voters thought only of how they felt today and voted their feelings. Democrats always do that. Republicans either stayed home (not wanting to go either way), voted Democrat out of a sense of frustration, or voted Republican, believing that, as little as the Republicans appealed to them, they were far better than the alternative. (Just a side note here: Very few of the campaign signs I saw all over town, and very few of the campaign ads I saw on television, indicated what party people belonged to.)
John McCain, who I really don't like personally, was on Fox News on Tuesday night. He said that the Republicans would have to realize that they have gotten away from the principles that have defined the Republicans, and need to get back on course. Does that mean further purging? Probably. I'd prefer that the Republicans do it to themselves, rather than the voters doing it for them.
I personally don't want to have to go into the booth in 2008, hold my nose and vote Republican. I want the Republicans to re-commit themselves to the libertarian principles that led me to them in the first place, not just pay them lip service. I don't want to see them go into 2008 with the message "See? That's what happens when you vote for them." I want them to go into 2008 with the message of lower taxes, limited government, stronger national defense and more local control. In short, I want to see a new Contract With America.
Believe me, we'll need one after two years of the Pelosi-Reid kleptocracy.