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The Insiders
Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 02/06/2013

For the GOP, bad has gotten worse

You would think that the narrow loss in November was a landslide. The mainstream media would have you believe the Republican party is near extinction.

Some Republican leaders earnestly want to step up during the party's time of need. They want to present a new face and a fresh approach, to give the media a nod with some "I get it" contrition and turn the page. These leaders are trying to do the right thing, but their personal ambition and inexperience are making them play into the media's hands. There is not yet a market in the mainstream media or within American punditry that will allow for any Republican resurgence. Note to GOP leaders: Be still, surefooted; things could get worse.

In today's political atmosphere, especially in Washington, no sincere effort by a Republican to be forward-looking will go unpunished. Only Republicans who cut and run and agree to declare the party dead, dying and out of it will get any respect. Things haven't finished getting worse for the GOP, so we are not allowed to move on just yet. Any effort to do so will be met with sharp criticism — or worse, ridicule.

As I believe readers know, in politics, you never kick a man when he is up. The party is down right now, so it's kicking season. This, too, shall pass — but not as soon as we would like. 

Republicans shouldn't do nothing, but take it from this confirmed cynic: We shouldn't overreach and make things worse. Now is not our time to hit refresh. So what should Republicans do? Fair question. Party leaders should stick to the basics. They should be effective opposition and let President Obama take the lead. Repeat what we believe and why. State parties and Washington-based GOP campaign committees should work on the foundation of the 2014 election cycle. They need to build good lists, tend to base donors and start candidate recruitment. Put our best spokespeople out there.

This is not a time for offense. We need to rope-a-dope for a while. When you are taking a pounding, it's best to keep it simple and protect yourself, and eventually the other side will get tired or make a mistake. In the meantime, it's going to be bad, and a lot of our rank-and-file will get discouraged. 

Everybody needs to suck it up. Now is not the time for a flashy return or a forced attempt to lead us out of this media-imposed wilderness. Even if we don't catch a break by way of a Democratic mistake or scandal, things will begin to pivot for us in the spring.

By  |  10:40 AM ET, 02/06/2013

 
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