Republicans Could Have a Leader

by Mike on March 9, 2009

in Politics

Some people have noticed that the Republican Party seems to be leaderless at the moment. Not that this should come as a surprise. The President is a Democrat and the GOP is greatly outnumbered in both the House and Senate. The consequences of the 2008 election do not lend themselves to one person emerging as the leader of the Republican opposition. It isn’t impossible to have one though.

Institutionally speaking, Mitch McConnell should be the leader of the opposition. He is the leader of the Senate Republican Conference. With 41 members including himself under his leadership, McConnell theoretically has the numbers to stop or or at least slow down some of our incompetent President’s radical agenda. The problem with McConnell is not the size of his minority, though that is admittedly problematic. The problem is that McConnell lacks the ability and/or the willingness to act like a leader.

This isn’t the first time Republicans have been greatly outnumbered in Washington. In 1993, Bob Dole was the Senate Republican Leader. Like McConnell, Dole led a small minority (44 seats) and had to deal with a Democrat Speaker of the House and a newly-elected and popular Democrat President. Still, Dole managed to hold his party together and successfully block or water down several pieces of legislation through the use of the filibuster. Despite difficult circumstances, Dole led during those early years of the Clinton Administration. He didn’t stop everything, but he led.

Some would argue that McConnell has a tougher job because he has to deal with a number of RINOs. Fair enough, but so did Dole. Both leaders had to deal with Arlen Specter and for every one of McConnell’s Olympia Snowes, Dole had a Mark Hatfield. For every Susan Collins now there was a John Chafee then. Bob Dole had that ability to hold his group together, at least for a little while, to block or slow down the most offensive parts of the Clinton agenda. He was a leader during a difficult time.

The circumstances after losing a tough election are always difficult and do not lend themselves to the emergence of a single opposition leader, but it is not impossible to lead. There are some excellent House Republicans and there is no doubt that the next Republican leader will be a Governor. However, they do not have the numbers to stop or slow down anything at the moment. McConnell does. It’s time for him to step up.

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