As Republicans sharpen their knives for what looks to be an early Thanksgiving feast on November 2nd, they would be wise to heed a lesson from an unlikely mentor – Barack Obama. When the jubilations subside and the ticker-tape has been carted-out to recycling, Republicans must be prepared to offer America the leadership the country demands.
After having been banished to the wilderness only two years ago, the Republicans will indubitably be crowned victors in two days. However, a resurgent GOP, led by the pugnacious Tea Party, runs the risk of blinding itself with hubris if it fails to correctly interpret its win. Like Icarus and Obama, they may find themselves quickly plunging back to earth – setting the stage for dismal failure in 2012.
The risk that faces the GOP is the same miscalculation that the Obama administration made in 2009. Coming off an astounding victory, Obama misinterpreted his win as a mandate to lead America down a radically new and audacious path. America, he thought, had voted for him and for his new ideas. But the truth was much different and, after two painful years, reality has become palpable to the administration. In late 2008, America, blinded by Obama’s charisma and the amorphous promise of change, voted, not for Obama’s policies, but against George W. Bush.
The same story line applies to the upcoming election. America, after realizing that the administration was not the anticipated godsend, has increasingly become frustrated with the Democrats. As the party of “no,” the GOP has been able to hasten the administration’s decline; however, it has not endeared itself to the American public. Its anger and obstinacy, however justified, have not offered America the answers it has been demanding. Tuesday will be a vote against Obama and the Congressional Democrats, but not one for the Republicans.
The GOP needs to use the pending electoral win to show America that they can offer sound, thoughtful, and practical solutions to the nation’s problems. If they misinterpret the electoral results as a vote for the GOP, they will replicate the mistakes of the Democrats and fail to provide America with the leadership it wants. History will repeat itself and in two short years, the Republicans will find themselves on the receiving end of an angry and disappointed America, with a reinvigorated Obama celebrating another four years in the White House.