The 2011 statewide elections come to an end here in Mississippi on November 8. On that date, political pundits predict that Mississippians will elect Republican Phil Bryant to succeed Haley Barbour as Governor of Mississippi and will elect Republicans to most of the eight statewide elective offices in state government. The jury is still out on whether Republicans will dominate the State Legislature and elect a Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives. Still, there is no doubt that the two-party system in the State Legislature is alive and well, which bodes well for the success of the programs of the new Bryant Administration, unless Republican elected officials become divided and fall into bickering among themselves. That possibility is real but would be unwise for all concerned. I predict that the principals involved will ignore the advice of some of their consultants and campaign workers (who, for personal gain, would like to see such divisions occur) and will work together on most issues. I believe they will heed the warning of Benjamin Franklin, who famously warned his fellow revolutionaries over 200 years ago that “either we hang together or we will hang separately.” Most Republicans realize that the Democrats are not dead in Mississippi. They are just, for the most part, currently in hibernation or hopelessly divided among themselves.
On the national level, however, the Democrats are not in hibernation, and the Republicans are definitely not hanging together. Some pundits, such as Peggy Noonan, celebrate the brutal debates that have recently taken place between the Republican candidates for President. In her recent article in the October 22, 2011, edition of the Wall Street Journal (“The GOP Wins by Bruising”), Ms. Noonan reports that all of the Republican debates have been “a real plus for the GOP”, because “they’ve made the Republican Party look like the alive party. There’s been jousting and predictable disagreement, but there has also been substance.” She may be right, but I do not think so.
I tend to agree with the thesis of an editorial first written in the September 23, 2011, online edition of Investors Business Daily: “Memo to GOP: The Foe Is Obama, not Perry.” At that time, Texas Governor Rick Perry was riding high in the polls, which prompted his Republican opponents to vehemently attack him in the ensuing debates. After one of them, IBD simply stated: “Republicans need to keep their eye on the prize. The target for 2012 is not Santorum, Cain, Bachman, Romney or Perry. It’s the current White House occupant…. Lost in the brouhaha over tuition for illegal aliens and mandated vaccines is the fact that we simply can’t afford four more years of President Obama.”
All Republicans agree that the debates may be necessary to determine which candidates do not have the “stamina” necessary to be President and thus should be “weeded out.” Still, IBD counsels that instead of focusing on whether one of the candidates was wise to mandate through an executive order the use of a vaccine to combat cervical cancer, we should “focus on the damage ObamaCare has done and will do to the creation of vaccines, to medical innovation and to what still remains the best health care system in the world. It’s Obama who’s destroying the country, not the candidates in Orlando. It is he who taxes too much, regulates too much, spends too much and imposes job-killing mandates through his EPA….”
I say we have had enough of the GOP “circular firing squad.” While I recognize that most of our very fine field of Presidential candidates will not take this advice, I believe that if it were taken by one of the major candidates, that candidate would be well received.