(Post updated to reflect Democrat Scott Reske’s victory in HD 37 after barely holding off Republican challenger Kelly Gaskill)
Here is a note to my fellow conservatives and Republicans.
I did not have the highest of expectation for last night. I had hope that John McCain might some how pull off a miracle (because really that’s what he needed to win), but it wasn’t a lot of hope. And like many of you who may have stayed up fairly late (after the webcast which ended at midnight, I went out and picked up yard signs to get some much needed alone time) I’m still recovering from yesterday’s action. But I came to this conclusion.
It’s time to face the facts. Barack Obama will be our 44th president. And a historic congratulations should be sent his way. But we should take solace in the fact that Democrats did not net major gains in the House or get their filibuster proof Senate, though they could still up with (a worst case scenario) 59 seats.
But there were some positives for us as well last night. Governor Daniels smoked Jill Long Thompson (no surprise there) and Greg Zoeller and Tony Bennett won their statewide races. The Indiana House will end up with only one seat gained by the Democrats after much hand wringing they could end up with as many as a three to four seat gain. On the congressional level. Everybody stayed the same. Many thought Congressman Souder could be a loss in the Republican column, but he showed his tenacity and didn’t just win by a small margin, he kicked his young upstart opponent to the curb.
But now onto my message.
Fellow Republicans, this is no time to give up. This is also no time to resort to childish pettiness, bemoaning and name calling that the left resorts to when they lose. This is a time to step up! We do have a lot of ground to make up nationally, and while our state still leans red, it certainly is becoming a closely and evenly divided state.
We need to re-energize our base and return to what made our party great! I encourage our state and national Republicans to return to the principles and virtues of the Contract with America. We need to raise the level of discourse on the issues that matter most to Americans at this time; the economy and energy independence. And while I believe social values cannot be ignored (though we must never give up on the issue of Abortion), we must understand, as a Party, that in these tough economic times, voters are thinking mostly with their wallets. We must return to a message of fiscal restraint. We must hammer the message of an “all of the above’ approach to energy independence. We must hold our new President’s feet to the fire when it comes to the issues of coal and nuclear power. Nothing can be off the table if we want to break free from the shackles of foreign oil. President-Elect Obama seeks energy independence, but he must seek all avenues, closing off nothing.
We lost the American’s public’s faith in us when we lost our way as a party. We have only ourselves to blame for the situation we are in. Now is the time to make up for our past mistakes. Now is the time to take action and to be the party of solutions and ideas. We gave that away, but it’s time to take it back!
(But should you need it, here is Red State’s Obama Administration Survial Guide)