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November 11, 2006
Surviving The Midterms

I got an e-mail from a fellow blogger I greatly respect (who will remain anonymous), expressing his despondency after the losses in the midterm elections. Watching the Democrats grab control of both chambers of Congress deeply affects him, as he has spent so much of himself trying to assist the Republican cause for the past few years. Now, he can't see his way clear to any cause for optimism, and he asked for my advice -- and since I think more than a few of the CQ community may feel the same way, I figured I'd post my thoughts on the subject.

I'm neither depressed nor giddy at the thought of working from the opposition, at least on legislative matters. Some conservatives tried to temper the loss with large doses of optimism, claiming to feel "liberated" at the prospect of being unchained in some manner from the GOP yoke. Criticism of these statements has been greatly overblown; none of them has ever lied to advance the Republican agenda. They have championed the Republicans by focusing on stories and personalities that put the best foot forward, because they believed that the Republicans and their agenda served the nation best. They have often criticized Republicans and Republican leadership, but in the election, they emphasized that voters needed to make a choice -- and they supported the Republicans.

Elections come and elections go. Americans make choices, and we live with these choices. They do not amount to the end of the world or the end of our democracy unless Americans stop supporting the processes that allow those choices. I have been through enough good news and bad news that I have learned two very important lessons, both in politics and in life:

Nothing is ever as good as it looks, and nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

Depression and anxiety is natural, but we should not wallow in it, because it doesn't produce anything positive. We now have to work to push our agenda and policies from the minority, and that will be a tough battle. We will have to find ways to work with the Democrats, or we will have to give up and let them run everything. I'm not prepared to give up, nor am I prepared to act like this is the end of the world.

The American voters made their choice. Now we have to go to work, preparing a positive agenda for the nation, engaging the Democrats on issues where we can find agreement, and opposing them when we cannot. Gridlock will be likely, and that's not a bad thing on domestic issues, but we cannot afford to be paralyzed on the war effort. That requires a large effort by Republicans to work with Democratic leadership -- because we simply have no choice, not for the next two years. If we dig in our heels, we will leave this nation dangerously exposed to terrorists, and that's neither responsible nor Republican.

My advice to my blogger friend and the CQ community is to rationally plan for the next two years in the minority. We have to remain firm on our principles while still working to serve our nation. Sometimes that will require compromise, and sometimes it will require tenacious defense of our own principles. That's honorable and necessary work, and we will have plenty of it to do until 2008.

Tomorrow, I'll address what else we need to do to recapture the majority in 2008.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 11, 2006 11:51 AM

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