A Letter to Rush
Posted on February 9, 2009(This originally appeared in The Politico)
Congratulations! You have been selected by the Obama administration, the mainstream media and 20 million of your most passionate followers to be the new head of the Republican Party.
As such, you are given all the rights and responsibilities that come with being a true political leader.
Your mission is simple: Restore the Republican Party to its former greatness by single-handedly helping Republicans to regain control of Congress and to offer a reasonable and viable alternative to President Barack Obama.
You should be honored that the Obama administration has selected you, El Rushbo, to lead the Republicans in such a quest. Obviously, they find you to be a formidable foe — politically adept and a proven vote-getter.
Since we are a party of metrics and accountability, we would like to see your plans to make Republicans more competitive. While your supporters are passionate and energized, we would like to see how you are going to expand your base of support. While 20 million listeners is an impressive number, Obama had nearly 70 million voters. Fifty million is a pretty big gap to make up, but we are certain that, with your effervescent personality, you will be able to close that in no time.
We would also like to see your plan to help Republicans compete in the Northeast, the Upper Midwest, the West Coast and Florida, in the big cities and in the suburbs. Republicans have been pretty much wiped out in all of those areas in the past two elections.
We would like to see your plan to attract more women’s votes. While we always get creamed by single women in elections, even married women turned against us this time. Not sure if calling female leaders “feminazis” really works in this atmosphere, but we are willing to hear you out on that. We got killed by America’s fastest-growing voting population, Hispanics, in the last election. What is your plan to attract these voters? I know that you despise any kind of nuanced position on immigration reform, but we would love to see any of your ideas for getting some of these voters in the next election.
We got completely demolished by the African-American vote in the last election. No surprise there, given the top of the ticket. But we are wondering how referencing our president’s race in any way, shape or form is productive or relevant to the current discussion. Please let us know.
Another problem area is independent voters, who went with Obama big time in the last election. Not sure why. Maybe they liked his saying he would govern from the center. Now, we all know that was just rhetoric, but will we really attract independent voters if we decide to move further to the right? Just asking.
There are plenty of ways to point out deficiencies in the opposition’s plans. And believe us, we know there are many dumb ideas that are coming from the other side. But our research shows that the American people actually want help with certain things (the failing education system, the high cost of health care, the sagging economy, etc.). Do you have any good ideas that you can share with us — ideas that will be seen as reasonable by the American people — that can serve as a viable alternative? Or is it your plan to simply oppose every idea that comes from the Obama administration?
Anyway, congratulations on this big promotion. We are proud of you, and, of course, we are all “ditto-heads.” Please get us your plans as soon as possible, because we have a lot of work to do.
The Republican Party
John Feehery worked for the House Republican leadership from 1989 to 2005. He is the founder of The Feehery Group, a strategic advocacy firm. He blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com.