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Thursday, November 6, 2008

After losing the election...

Many politicians concede defeat without much grace. Here are two remarks that, although lacking grace, are worth repeating:

"You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas." Davy Crockett (conceding defeat in his 1835 re-election bid for the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee)

"The people have spoken, the bastards." Rep. Morris Udall (on the collapse of his Presidential Campaign in 1976)

Senator McCain's concession speech demonstrated his genuine concern and love for our country. Parts of it are also worth repeating:

"Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that. It is natural. It's natural, tonight, to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow, we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again."

Now that the election is over, the Republican Party must determine what it stands for and who will lead it.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney pushed socially conservative policies, exhibited an authoritarian approach to the problems of terrorism and jihad, alienated our allies, and successfully subjugated the national interest to the short term desires of large corporations - all with an irritating attitude of self-righteousness.

They have severely damaged the party and created a recipe for electoral defeat far into the future.

The Republican party could once be described as encompassing a wide range of generally conservative views. Now, as our nation appears to be more polarized than ever, old style moderate Republicans, who can also appeal to Independents and dissatisfied Democrats, appear to be increasingly unwelcome. In opposition, the party must be aware of the error, albeit on the other edge of the political spectrum, of the British Labor Party whose 1983 manifesto (platform) espoused such extreme views that it was trenchantly described as the longest political suicide note ever written.

The party also needs a leader. It is not clear who will emerge but Governor Palin, an ill-educated, uninformed, quasi-rock star with no coherent political philosophy, is not the leader that our nation, or the party, needs.

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