Republicans' post-Election 2010 challenge: managing expectations
Republican strategists urge party supporters to show 'maturity, sobriety, and patience,' and not to push for too much, too fast from an anticipated GOP majority in the House.
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“So I see a lot of stalemate,” Ryan says.Skip to next paragraph
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“Tactically, with a big House majority, Boehner would feel pressure to pull the sort of stunt – a government shutdown to repeal Obama’s health plan? – that got Newt Gingrich into trouble,” writes Mr. Kaus, referring to the former House speaker.
It wasn’t too long ago that Republicans worried about winning the majority by the narrowest of margins, which would create the problem of “having authority but no power,” former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told the Monitor last month. He suggested that the GOP needs to win control of the House by a sufficiently big margin – roughly, a 10-seat cushion – to have a solid, functioning majority.
Predicted GOP gains
In the past six weeks, estimates of GOP net gains have only gone up, so Mr. Fleischer’s fears of a too-slim majority may not come to pass. The Republicans need 39 seats to take the majority. On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report updated its prediction to a net GOP gain of 48 to 60 seats.
Still, Fleischer also worries about a newly empowered GOP trying to go too far too fast in 2011. If so, he warns, “it could strengthen Barack Obama’s hand going into his reelection.”
Republican pollster Whit Ayres is confident that rank-and-file Republicans will understand that taking over the House is just the beginning of the process of redirecting the country away from “the disastrous road we’re on.”
“You’ve got to stop going in the wrong direction before you can turn around and go in the right direction,” Mr. Ayres says. Republican voters “understand that sometimes it takes two or three steps to turn it around, and certainly two elections to turn it around.”
And, Ayres says, taking a dig at Obama, “there’s nobody running as the next messiah, as we had in 2008.”