The Seeds Are GerminatingIn the wake of Barack Obama's victory on the national stage, there seems to be a lot of talk about what went wrong in the Republican Party to bring about the defeat of John McCain and the loss of House seats. We forget, however, that there is an awful lot going right in the GOP-especially with a new generation of leaders:
"The majority of the most popular governors in the country are Republicans,
even in this toxic atmosphere nationally for Republicans," said Ayres.
"I think Palin is clearly a part of the conversation, but we've also
got rising stars like Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota and
Charlie Crist in Florida," Ayres said.
"These are people who have been very successful governors and are very
bright popular leaders in their states and an obvious source of talent for the
next generation of Republican leadership."
Our Governors really are a source of hope for the future of the Republican Party. Yes, everyone is still talking about Sarah Palin, but Bobby Jindal and Charlie Crist are worth watching as future candidates not only for the White House, but for the Senate, and for party leadership positions inside and outside of government. Experience has shown that when Republicans retool and place the party into the hands of principled conservatives after a defeat, Republicans bounce back in a much stronger position.
I really thought I might feel down after an Obama win, but I don't. I am really excited about the future of the Republican Party, especially in Tennessee. While many other parts of the country increased their vote share for Democrats, in Tennessee we gave the Republicans control of both Houses of the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction-that means the GOP controls the General Assembly for the first time ever with legitimacy. We might be calling Jason Mumpower Mr. Speaker, or perhaps Beth Harwell will be called Madam Speaker-she would be the first woman ever chosen as Speaker of the House in Tennessee.
I even feel good about my own political future after talking to some folks around town. Everyone seems to think that when Red Parker, who is just a very nice and popular human being (not only is he a deacon at the local First Baptist Church here in White Pine, he owned an operated a full service filling station years ago) entered the race for City Council as a late-comer, he changed the game because he was going to pull tons of votes from the other candidates merely by being on the ballot. This was especially true for many of the town's senior citizens. No one knows how any of us would have done if Red had not decided to run. He came within three votes of winning, and his only campaign effort other than asking friends and family for their votes was to lay cards down in some of White Pine's more popular places to eat-something we all did. Many people have told me that since I am still new in town, I made a heck of a showing pulling the votes that I did in a field of some of White Pine's most well-known citizens. I don't know when I will run again, but I have saved all of my signs-most of them are in good enough shape for re-use.
I think that is how a lot of Republicans feel about Tuesday's defeats. Yes, we lost the election, but in defeat we can see the silver lining, and the seeds of rebirth are already germinating.