GOP will bounce back

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: "What's next? ... Taxes on people that refuse to eat tofu?"
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: "What's next? ... Taxes on people that refuse to eat tofu?" (ARELY D. CASTILLO / News-Star)
Posted: March 16, 2013

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of the death of the Republican Party are greatly exaggerated. Why? One need only look to the past, present, and future to find the answers:

The past: The Republican Party is rightly tagged the Grand Old Party (GOP) because it is remarkably resilient. After Franklin D. Roosevelt scored a stunning reelection victory in 1936, the GOP was left with 17 senators and 89 House members. But the party bounced back. In 1946, it won control of the Senate, and in 1953, it seized control of the House. The same thing happened after Watergate. The GOP lost the White House in 1976, but regained it four years later and held it for 12 successive years.

The present: To hear some tell it, you'd think the Republican Party is surrounded by the rubble of a vast siege while President Obama is reaping the benefits of a huge mandate. Not so. The GOP still controls the House, and it could pick up the Senate next year with a switch of only five seats from Democratic to Republican. As for Obama, he barely garnered 51 percent of the vote in the last election, becoming the first president in modern times to be reelected with a winning vote margin that was less than that of his initial election.

Plus, right now, Republicans control 30 of 50 gubernatorial seats, and they have a solid edge in state legislatures, with 26 in GOP hands. So, everywhere but in the White House and the U.S. Senate, the GOP is in control.

The future: The future of the Democratic Party comes down to two old liberal warhorses: Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Right now, it looks as if these two will square off in 2016 for president.

On the other hand, the future of the GOP is broad, diverse, and bright with attractive officeholders and potential candidates: Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Susana Martinez, John Thune, Ron Paul, Kelly Ayotte, Jeb Bush, and Rob Portman, to name a few. Note that this list includes two Hispanic Americans and two Americans of Asian Indian descent. And nearly all of them have more experience in public service than Obama had when he threw his hat in the ring in 2007.

The past tells us the GOP can bounce back - and usually does. The present indicates that overcoming current deficiencies may not be as difficult as it might seem. And the future provides the personalities and the energy to make it happen.

So what would stand in the way of a GOP revival? Obviously, self-perception will play a key role. Certainly, you can't change others' perceptions if you don't think much of yourself. And you'll never become a winner by listening to and following the advice of those who want you to lose. That's futile. So, too, is endless self-contemplation and analysis of your most recent failures.

The Republican Party must stop licking its wounds. It needs to chuck its inner psychiatrist and activate its pugilist instincts. It can start by seizing the initiative, writing its own narrative, and charting its own future. That's the obvious road to a comeback. And Americans love comebacks.

It was Margaret Thatcher who said, "You have to fight a battle more than once to win." For the GOP, it's time to get out of the corner and start grappling.

Daniel Cirucci is a lifelong New Jersey resident who blogs at E-mail him at

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