It was a dismal time for the Republican Party. We had just been crushed by the decisive victory Lyndon Baines Johnson scored over Barry Goldwater in 1964, facing an 89th Congress in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the Senate by 68 to 32 and in the House, by 295 Democrats to a meager 140 Republicans.
It sounded like the death knell for the GOP, and the national press was happily proclaiming the party’s end. Democrats, they said, would ride roughshod over the puny Republican membership.
Thanks to men such as Minority Leader Charlie Halleck, John Byrnes, Mel Laird, and John Rhodes in the House and Barry Goldwater and Ev Dirksen in the Senate, the GOP more than held its own.
In a post-election book “The Future of the Republican Party,” published in December 1964, reporter Robert Donovan, who was Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, predicted that the GOP would lose the next six presidential elections. He based his verdict of doom on interviews with scads of Washington insiders and GOP officials.
As Sister Toldjah wrote last May, Donovan insisted that the GOP was in “sad condition” and was “grievously weakened” in the Northeast, with the once solidly Republican New England states bolting to the Democrats. Trouble was brewing in the historically Republican Midwest, he noted, and California was gone. In Pennsylvania, as elsewhere, “town and country; city and suburb; black and white; rich and poor; Catholic, Protestant and Jew” are lost.
Four years later, the nation elected Richard M. Nixon, a Republican, to the presidency, and then re-elected him.
Moreover, as Sister Toldjah noted last May, Republicans won all of those next six presidential elections that Donovan had predicted as catastrophes for the GOP.
So much for gloom and doom.
A close look at the today’s political situation provides more than a glimmer of hope that the GOP's fortunes are beginning to brighten. Just a little over a year since Barack Obama scored a landslide victory and rode into the White House with incredible popular support, the bloom is wearing off the Obama rose.
Despite his constant attempts to blame the sour economy, unemployment on a growing scale, out-of-control federal spending, and recent blizzards on George Bush, the public is beginning to question his claim to divinity. And as the results in Massachusetts proved, the voters in that liberal state sent him a message of dissatisfaction named Scott Brown.
And all is not lost. The signs point to another strong message the nation's voters are getting ready to send the president in November when it looks as if the GOP may well recapture both House and Senate.
But things aren't always as they look. The situation could reverse itself. The president might recover his popularity, and the Democrats could hang onto their majorities in both Houses.
It's up to America's concerned citizens to see that this does not happen.
I was encouraged when I watched part of the tea party convention the other night.
Instead of the rag-tag assemblage of wild-eyed extremists portrayed by our socialist media, I saw a gathering of polite, sensible concerned Americans who took the trouble and spent the money to come together in Nashville to voice their concerns about the condition of their country under Barack Obama and the ultra-left wing Democratic Party.
Unaffiliated as they are with any political party at present, their future lies with the Republican Party, and the party's future is with them. Were they to remain unaffiliated, their potential as a major force in politics would be wasted. Third parties just don't survive in the nation.
I'm not suggesting that the tea parties come hat in hand seeking admission to the GOP. I am urging the tea parties to unite as one and take over the Republican Party. And do it now, district by district, state by state. They have the numbers and can do it before the November elections.
Start right now choosing candidates who will support tea party goals of less spending, smaller government, restraint on spending, strict adherence to the Constitution and open government and have a full slate of candidates ready to enter and win GOP primaries and the general election.
The movement needs a national voice, and it heard the one it needs in Nashville. Gov. Sarah Palin is the party's natural spokeswoman. She's ready, willing, able, and determined to fulfill that role — and she has sense enough to know that job one is to win this November. 2012 will take care of itself.
In other words, get going with the job of absorbing the GOP rather than seeking to be absorbed by it. It's yours for the taking.
Phil Brennan is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He is a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association for Intelligence Officers.
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