The morning after: The GOP reacts

The message is: We have to get back to core principles.

King Kaufman
November 8, 2006 9:14PM (UTC)

The White House announced that President Bush would hold a press conference at 1 p.m. EST.

In an understatement Tuesday night, press secretary Tony Snow said the election results were "not what we would have hoped." He called on Democrats to reach across party lines: "The president has got a very active agenda for the next two years, and you're going to need both parties," Snow said.


Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.: It is the duty of the losing party in a free election to humbly accept defeat and to acknowledge that the people are sovereign in the People's House.

As we examine the results of this election, it is imperative that we listen to the American people and learn the right lessons. Some will argue that we lost our majority because of scandals at home and challenges abroad. I say, we did not just lose our majority, we lost our way.

While the scandals of the 109th Congress harmed our cause, the greatest scandal in Washington, D.C., is runaway federal spending ...

As the 110th Congress convenes next year, Republicans must cordially accept defeat and dedicate ourselves to advancing our cause as the loyal opposition, knowing that the only way to retake our natural, governing majority is to renew our commitment to limited government, national defense, traditional values and reform.

RNC chairman Ken Mehlman: First of all, we need to recommit ourselves to our conservative reform principles. That's very important. We need to try to work where we can on a bipartisan basis with Democrats. We need to bend over backwards to try to do that while maintaining those conservative reform principles.

And I think another thing, the No. 1 issue that was listed, is corruption. We need to remember, people that serve, whether it's in the Congress or in the government or any level, are people that ought to be about public policy and public service. That ought to be their basis. It ought not to be continuing your power in office but what you are trying to accomplish and what you are trying to reform.


If we can focus on those three things then, while last night was very difficult for many of us, ultimately we will be stronger and be able to serve the public better because we'll have learned and grown from it.

Cleta Mitchell, American Conservative Union: Democrats were successful in yesterday's elections by recruiting candidates who can only be described as conservative or right of center.

So, while many Republican candidates and members lost, it should not be seen as repudiation in any way of conservatives, or our principles. Quite the contrary. Conservatives' ideas -- and ideals -- are as strong as ever on key issues with voters: fiscal discipline, pro-gun rights, pro-military, pro-national defense and traditional family values.

The national Democrats now face a real dilemma. They recruited conservatives to run. And they won a majority taking that approach. How those conservative Democrats are going to function in a liberal national Democratic Party is going to be very interesting. The national Democrats are far to the left of the American people. The national Democratic Party should be sobered by a realization that they have ridden to power -- such as it is -- on the shoulders of conservatives and moderates.


King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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2006 Elections Republican Party War Room White House

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