During this election cycle, John Boehner has repeatedly told audiences across the country, “We made our mistakes when we were in the majority, I’ll admit it.” He would follow this up with a mantra of less taxes, less spending, more jobs.
As my grandmother used to say, admitting your mistakes and correcting them are two different things: One is the easy product of a good talker; the other requires the hard work of someone with character.
Granted, no savvy politician, even one with the best of intentions, would offer up on the campaign trail what they’re willing to cut. Voters like to talk about deficits and balanced budgets until it affects them. President Bush found that out when he tried to invest some of his political capital in reforming Social Security. But if the pollsters are correct, when the dust settles on these election results, John Boehner and the Republicans are going to have to deliver on their campaign rhetoric.
To not do so will be the closest thing to political suicide, outside of a blue dress that never made it to the cleaners, that we’ve seen in recent history.
No matter how big the Republican win, no one on the right should delude themselves into thinking this is a mandate for our party or ideas: The Republican “brand” is polling well below 50% favorability. Rather, this is a repudiation of the Democrats; a vote against what has been seen as an out-of-touch bunch of bureaucrats who, despite hundreds of thousands of citizens rallying on Mall, despite hundreds of contentious, volatile town hall meetings, has continued to ignore what this country is trying to tell them.
Led by a president who time after time has shown his inability to understand that Middle America clings to their guns and religion not because they’re scared but because it’s what they believe. Even the president’s political instincts, so revered during the 2008 campaign, seem to have failed him. His use of the word “enemies” to describe Republicans during a recent interview gave his “opponents” late election fodder. Barack Obama has let down his party and his country.
Like Louie XVI, to ignore the mob at the gate is to be doomed to a long, slow march to the political guillotine. Should government fail this time around, the only question remaining to be answered is which leader of which party will be riding in the cart as it’s dragged through the streets.
The Republican Party has an historic, perhaps once-in-a-century opportunity to positively impact the future of America. The people who are swept into power by this wave election must have the courage and character to control spending, restructure the healthcare bill, remove newly placed burdens from small business, and push for new energy technologies.
After the emotional high of a historic victory has been celebrated, the real work must begin.
In an irony that is undoubtedly not lost on the White House, this election has been about change. Two years from now the Republicans don’t want to be on the receiving end of that famous quote from a former governor of Alaska, “How’s that hopey, changey stuff working out for you?”
Pamela Varkony is a writer, commentator, and political observer. Her advocacy for women’s empowerment has crossed four continents including two fact-finding missions to Afghanistan. She blogs at PamelaVarkony.com.