Have you ever watched the Animal Planet shows on nature’s predators? There is one that highlights a lovely, young deer, drinking water from a pond. In the foliage, we see a shrewd and hungry lion skulking, preparing to attack its defenseless prey. The lion bursts out of the bushes, leaps…and bloodily kills the unsuspecting deer.
The lesson: an animal can be smart, fast and graceful, but if it is not the King of the Jungle, it does not stand a chance.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Post-election analysis is in full swing, with blame amply apportioned by Democrats, Republicans, and the media. President Obama, tone-deaf and passionless as always, is unable to accept the new Republican reality. The chance of a dash to the center, a la Bill Clinton, is highly unlikely. The far-left wing of the party is unwilling to accept those kinds of compromises.
The media places blame on the economy, rather than Obama’s policies, and they are quick to pooh-pooh the impact of the Tea Party. They exult in the defeat of the ‘crazy’ conservative women, using it as proof of their superiority.
Unfortunately, in the face of overwhelming victory, establishment Republicans are also quick to discount the impact of the Tea Party and are critical of its candidates. Currently, Palin-endorsed candidates have a 52% success rate, with six House races still undecided. The successful candidates include Senators Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY) and Governors Susana Martinez (NM) and Nikki Haley (SC). Considering this is the Tea Party’s first election outing, the results are notable. 1992 Presidential candidate, Ross Perot, only picked up 19% of the vote, but was able to deny George Bush the presidency. Sarah Palin’s personal popularity and “kingmaker” status have raised the dinosaurs’ hackles.
On Halloween, an anonymously sourced article on Politico, claimed that GOP insiders and presidential hopefuls are intent on derailing any plans Sarah Palin has to run for the nomination.
“There is a determined, focused establishment effort … to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin,” said one prominent and longtime Washington Republican.
Keep in mind, this is not the Left talking, these are members of Palin’s own party.
Few, if any, Republican officials want to challenge Palin’s credentials in public, but most speak dismissively and condescendingly about her in private.
While the Left waged war on Christine O’Donnell before the election, many establishment Republicans kindly waited until after the vote to express their public disappointment. Karl Rove chose to attack during the election campaign.
The far-left Media Matters practically salivates over the possibility of GOP infighting, noting that after O’Donnell’s primary win in Delaware, Rove said
O’Donnell will have to explain “checkered background”; she does not “evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character.”
These personal attacks from the GOP, combined with the mainstream media’s appetite for lewd and inappropriate stories, created a firestorm that dominated O’Donnell’s campaign. If Rove’s standards were applied to past candidates, America would never have elected a JFK, a George Bush, a John McCain, or a Ronald Reagan. All of these men had far more checkered pasts, than a teenage passing acquaintance with “witchcraft”. The Left has maintained, since the Clinton presidency, that the sex life of politicians is none of our business. This privacy requirement only applies to Democratic men, apparently.
The accusations of O’Donnell being a weak candidate come from those who believe Mike Castle, a moderate Republican, could have won the election, if Palin had not interfered. Exit poll numbers argue otherwise, but bitter opponents insist it was possible. The unanswered question remains: If support for Mike Castle was so deep, why did he lose his own primary?
Sharron Angle, once the darling of the Republican Party, when her poll numbers were up, is also critically scrutinized. Despite running against an 24 year incumbent Senator, who held the post of Senate Majority Leader, Angle is criticized for not pulling off the win. Harry Reid benefitted from the full support of his party, huge influx of campaign dollars, and on-the-ground GOTV infrastructure. Sharron Angle came within four points of Harry Reid, in spite of a divided state party, problems with flown-in establishment handlers, and conservative pundits, such as Charles Krauthammer, denouncing her as a candidate.
Governor-Elect Nikki Haley knows something about vicious, personal attacks. Faced with unsubstantiated claims of affairs, Haley overcame the scurrilous nature of the media’s fascination, and won anyways. What would Republicans have to say about Ms. Haley, if she had lost her race? Would the narrative include a jab about her personal life damaging her candidacy?
The blame heaped on female candidates is doled out unequally, to the defeated male candidates. Shall we blame Dino Rossi for his inability to beat the Obamacare-author, Patty Murray? How about Sean Bielat? He lost, by 11 points, to Barney Frank, key supporter of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. No, we say that it was a tough race, virtually impossible, and praise them for them for coming so close. We call the results ‘inevitable’. There is no discussion of the personal lives of these men, and that is as it should be.
The truth is, Washington dinosaurs are threatened by this new influx of headstrong, educated, opinionated women, who refuse to “go along to get along.” This is a monumental change for political machines, electoral parties and even voters. We cannot maintain the status quo, without alienating female voters, activists and candidates. This is the time for the GOP to take an active role in courting Republican and independent women.
Sarah Palin and conservative women, in both party politics, and in the media, are paving the way for the true feminists. This is not the time to scare off women through the politics of personal destruction.
Even the leftist rag The Nation understands the upcoming battle for the votes of women.
Overall, the Democrats need to do better in wooing and turning out women if the party is to regain its footing. By all means, Democrats and feminists should continue to rip apart the Republican Party myth that it’s been born again as the party of women. That’s the easy part. Restoring women’s confidence in Democrats is the tougher job.
The Democrats are maintaining a razor thin edge in courting women voters, and consistently win the African-American female vote. If the GOP continues to make inroads into the female vote it may have the possibility to win in blue states.
If the GOP insists on fanning the flames of a gender war within the party, it is unlikely that young, smart, independent women will be inspired to vote for the party. It is even less likely that these women will run for public office. We owe it to a generation of women, to welcome them, to stand behind them, and to work with them. As many leftists, establishment types, and dinosaurs are discovering, being on the bad side of a Grizzly can be dangerous.
Holly Wickham lives in Vancouver, British Columbia
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