washingtonpost.com

  >  

Politics

The Washington Post's Dan Balz asked various Democratic and Republican strategists three questions: In what ways are Republicans better off than a year ago? In what ways is the Republican Party not better off than a year ago? and what are the biggest obstacles facing the Republican Party as it attempts to rebuild? Read more for complete coverage.

In what ways are Republicans better off than a year ago?

John Feehery, Republican strategist: "The problems facing the country are Obama's problems, not Bush's problems."

Chris Henick, Republican strategist: "The sharp uptick in fundraising."

Alex Vogel, Republican strategist: Obama the Man is not living up to Obama the Myth. No one could.

Steve Lombardo, Republican strategist: First and foremost, neither John McCain nor George W. Bush is the face of the party. The absence of a negative amounts to a positive.

Phil Singer, Democratic strategist: The 2010 playing field looks better for them than the ones from 2008 and 2006 did.

Dick Wadhams, Colorado Republican Chairman: Unaffiliated voters, who swung so heavily Democratic in 2006 and 2008, are turning away from the big government, big spending agenda of Obama and congressional Democrats.

Karen Hanretty, Republican strategist: Voters don't want as much government intervention as everyone thought the night of Obama's election.

Tad Devine, Democratic strategist: They are united in their opposition to the president and the Democrats in Congress.

Ron Bonjean, Republican Strategist: Republican fundraising numbers are making a solid comeback.

Ralph Reed, Republican Strategist: The Tea Party movement has exemplified this bottom-up grassroots phenomenon, much of it spread virally on the Internet. The GOP is most effective and nimble when ideas and activism bubble up from the precincts, not down from DC.

In what ways is the Republican Party not better off than a year ago?

Rob Gray, Republican Strategist: No major GOP spokesperson with broad appeal to the middle of the country has emerged,

Greg Mueller, Republican Strategist: GOP still has not won the trust back from the American people… , it lacks a cohesive strategy to win back trust and appeal to tea party activists and disaffected Independent voters who are unhappy with Obama's big government policies.

Robert Haus, Iowa Republican Activist and Strategist: Rather than focus on the common enemy, we still spend a lot of time in circular firing squads.

Whit Ayres, Republican Strategist: The party image is still in the tank.

Dick Wadhams, Colorado Republican Party Chairman: Unaffiliated voters are still resistant to believing Republicans learned their lesson.

Tom Rath, Republican Strategist: We still lack a unifying core message.

Matt Bennett, Democratic strategist: It went from having John McCain serving as its standard bearer to being led by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

What are the biggest obstacles facing the Republican Party as it attempts to rebuild?

Chris Henick, Republican Strategist: While there's no higher aim than winning in politics, the question a year from the 2008 election remains: what is the central unifying common political purpose of today's Republican Party?

Mark Mellman, Democratic Strategist: As Republican candidates move farther and farther to the right to win primaries in their shrinking, but rigidly far right base, their candidates become less and less appealing to swing voters, giving Democrats a boost.

Whit Ayres, Republican Strategist: The idea in some quarters that we can win elections in a heterogeneous country by getting a larger and larger share of a smaller and smaller base.

Alex Vogel, Republican Strategist: Offer solutions, not just objections. People rally temporarily to the opposition. They only align permanently behind leaders with ideas and solutions.

John Feehery, Republican Strategist: A significant faction is more faithful to ideology than to party.

Greg Mueller, Republican Strategist: It must be bullish in being an authentically conservative, small government, cultural values party or it risks losing its base and will fail to attract a winning conservative coalition comprised of Republicans, Independents and conservative Democrats.

Jim Dyke, Republican Strategist: The perception that the party is effective in opposition but unable to put forward a solutions based agenda.

Phil Singer, Democratic Strategist: There is a disconnect between conservatives like the tea party movement and the actual party. Nobody has really emerged that seems capable of bridging that gap.

Ralph Reed, Republican Strategist: Avoiding the mistake of relearning the wrong lessons of the past. Trying to win independents by becoming more "moderate" is likely a failed strategy.

© The Washington Post Company