Q&A with Republican strategist Bill McInturff

GOP strategist Bill McInturff sizes up the 2010 election results two days after the midterms. His takeaway: Voters rebuffed Obama's policies, and Republicans need to 'get stuff done.'

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Republican strategist Bill McInturff said he hopes that the Republican caucus will "work cooperatively to get stuff done."

Republican strategist Bill McInturff is a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, the leading Republican polling firm. He was an adviser to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and did research for one-third of newly elected GOP House members. He was a guest speaker at the Nov. 4 Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C. (See video excerpt here.)

What the 2010 election results mean:

"A very long, difficult economy set the stage for this level of dissatisfaction. But ... you really have to read this correctly as a referendum on President Obama – a negative one. His numbers are almost exactly parallel with George Bush's in 2006."

What congressional Republicans should do:

"I hope our Republican caucus ... talks every day about what we are going to do to fix the economy … [and] what we are going to do to make people's lives stable and economically better. And ... work across the aisle and please work cooperatively to get stuff done."

Durability of the GOP's election victories:

"Every party likes to believe that it has been handed the keys to the kingdom. We should have learned by now that is not what Americans mean…. [In the House] we went from 40 years between parties in power and then 12 and then 4. This is pretty transitory, and people are no more attached to us in the majority than they were [to] Democrats. They are going to keep voting everybody out until things get better and somebody gets something done."

Republican opposition to President Obama's health-care plan:

"You have nowhere near 60 votes in the Senate and you don't have the president's support. So it is likely to continue to be an issue for the 2012 campaign and likely beyond."

The possibility of a primary challenge to Mr. Obama in 2012:

"A primary is, I think, more than likely.... If I were [defeated Wisconsin] Senator [Russ] Feingold and I were now unemployed, I would say, 'Did he close Guantánamo Bay [detention camp for enemy combatants]? No. He put 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan. I am not for that. He compromised too much.' "

The impact of Republicans who most strongly identify with the tea party:

"In a Republican primary, those Republicans who are tea party persons, who think of themselves as tea party, they make up about a third, right now, of our party. But they make up 40-plus percent of the primary vote or maybe higher ... and believe me they are in a no-compromise stance."

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