Elephant Spokesmen

Elephant and Donkey

The most vocal talking heads of the Grand Old Party are Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh????

That can’t be a very good way to grow the Republican base to a size that can take on the Democrats, and could be disastrous for the Republicans for many elections to come.  A silent Colin Powell and an Eric Cantor who seems afraid to use the word “Republican” might be more statesmanlike choices around which to circle the wagons, but they are either unwilling or unable to take those leadership reins away from the attack dogs.

Maybe Cheney, Limbaugh and Beck are actually liberal-leaning strategists who realize that an adversarial right-wing Republican line that eschews moderates will only expand the Democratic Party’s grip on government.  Maybe that’s the strategy.  It’s certainly one that I can at least rationalize; because when you’re the minority, ostracizing your own and potential party members does not seem to be a reasonable approach to winning more friends.

We are now living the results of almost 8 years of single party dominance.  It stands to reason that 8 more years of a single dominant party will not lead to the rational compromises required to strike the balance that defines good governance.  A single dominant party is also likely to hand even more power to the unelected party bosses; witness, with rare exception, Erie County and the city of Buffalo’s election choices.

Yesterday I participated in a webinar sponsored by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, in which Trent Lott was the guest speaker.  The webinar was supposed to be on the effects of the new stimulus package but it only superficially covered that topic, wandered into several others and generally did not stray very much out of the wading pool.  Former Senator Lott mentioned the Republican Party’s poor election showing and stated that the Party needed to have a clear voice on the issues of interest to the American people.

So I got to ask Trent Lott a very simple question:  What, in his opinion, is the clear voice that the Republican Party needs to vocalize?  He sidestepped the question entirely, choosing to answer with “The GOP needs to think about the words they choose”.

When virtually every American is decrying the economy, jobs and health care (note:  abortion and immigration aren”t even on the radar), it is clear that the Republican Party needs to put together a platform and a single voice that elevates those very issues, and needs to do so in a manner that is critical but constructive rather than adversarial to those in control.


2 Responses to Elephant Spokesmen

  1. joe says:

    “So I got to ask Trent Lott a very simple question: What, in his opinion, is the clear voice that the Republican Party needs to vocalize?”

    Maybe I’m not with it this morning, but I’m really having trouble parsing this question.

    Are you asking who has the clear voice (even as you reject the obvious answer “Rush does”)?

    Are you asking “What is the clear message that Republicans should be sending?” which seems close to what Lott addressed?

    Are you asking “Where is a clear statement of Republican Party principles?” That seems like a different question, but I’m not sure.

    “The most vocal talking heads of the Grand Old Party are Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh????”
    Well, yeah. About 4 years ago the loudest voices (or at least, the most talked-about) for the Dems. were two former VP candidates and a former, high profile 1st lady. I wonder what the Vegas odds were then on a (very) junior senator from Illinois making a bid for the highest office in the land.

  2. Paul says:


    The Republican party has lost its way, and the most vocal spokesmen who call themselves “Republican” are, unfortunately for the Party, trying to redefine it in so narrow a context that in no way will more than a small minority support it. Unless Armageddon happens. Which it won’t.

    Democrats across the country just love it. I’m sure that behind the scenes they hope this continues for a long, long time. If my business competition were in disarray I’d certainly be sleeping better at night.

    This is a recipe for replacement of a two-party system with one that has three: A Rush-led tiny but loud one on the right, something nearer to center, and one on the left. I question that those who still call themselves “Republican” who are not in the vocal camp (let’s call them the silent minority for want of a better term) are okay with this.

    The ACTUAL question I asked Trent Lott was: “It is clear that the Republican Party is in search of a message that is consistent with its conservative platform and one that is spoken in a way that exudes confidence without being alarmist. You yourself said ‘The Republican Party needs a clear voice’ but you did not elucidate. What, in your opinion, is that clear voice that the Republican Party needs to vocalize?”

    He spoke around the question, never answered it at ANY level of detail and left me with the feeling that he chose to sidestep so as not to alienate anyone still in his Party. Made he think he’s planning to run for office in the future.

    Happy now that you made me spell out the whole thing?


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