The Massachusetts Republican Party, which lost the governor's office to Gov. Deval Patrick in 2006, is desperately trying to find its footing after another tough election.The disease that has long affected the GOP in Massachusetts - lack of inspired leadership and a desire to do the bidding of the Republican governor rather than building the party, has led to a total lack of organization - there is no foundation upon which to rebuild. Which is good in a way - when the old guard self-destructs, it presents a chance for new blood to take power.
The state GOP lost more ground Nov. 4, slipping from 19 to 16 seats in the 160-member House. Republicans kept their five seats in the state Senate, but saw no gains in the 40-member chamber. Both are historic lows dating back to the Civil War.
"It's certainly fair to say we are down, but I don't believe we are out," said House Minority Leader Bradley Jones Jr., R-North Reading. "We have a lot of work to do, but we are not out."
GOP Chairman Peter Torkildsen, a former representative for the 6th Congressional District, announced last week that he would step down from the post in January.On a national level, the GOP is stronger and better organized, but suffers from a similar need for rejuvenation. Fortunately, there are some terrific people lining up to fight for party control.
"The race for RNC chairman is fluid and likely will be right up through the actual vote in January," said one Republican strategist who is closely following the race. "It is highly unlikely that any 'superstar' is going to jump into the race." On Monday, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson became the latest candidate to officially enter the contest, joining Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele as official candidates for the job.I don't know much about these folks - Michael Steele is always impressive, and certainly having a black man as the face of the party would send wonderful signals about being open to the new, but I'll have to do some studying before making a recommendation. But I do know this - fresh fights for power are needed in order to break out of business as usual attitudes. People with new ideas, rather than old habits, must be given the helms of the Republican party organizations, on both the state and federal levels. In Massachusetts, there are corruption scandals in the state legislature that have made Democrats vulnerable to attack, but there is no organized opposition seizing the opportunity. And on both a state and federal level, the GOP can rebuild by highlighting how the cost of doing the government's business is made prohibitive by the cozy relationship between Democrats and their union partners Pensions and benefits paid to municipal workers are killing us, something that the GOP has always been afraid to address. The Democrats support of auto workers' unions has destroyed the Native American Auto Industry, and the GOP will have to keep a close eye on bailout plans for the manufacturers, which are actually a bailout of the unions and the Democrats who do their bidding. Education has been destroyed by the Democrats' committment to union first, education second.
Maybe, hopefully, the GOP is now desprate enough to shine a light on the pain caused by this situation.