Last week I heard John Fund from the Wall Street Journal speak on the results of the 2008 election. I wrote about his thoughts in this week’s Reasonably Right. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Fund recommended Republicans look for President Ronald Reagan’s “persistent, realistic optimism,” and remember the GOP performed worse in the elections of 1974 and 1976 than 2006 and 2008, only to recover shortly afterward….Reagan’s message: conservatism works; liberalism fails. He promised if the Carter Administration tried liberalism, it would fail, and the nation would turn to Republicans.
So it was, and in 1980 the nation turned to Reagan….Shortly after Bill Clinton’s 1992 election, Reagan hosted a reunion of close advisors and reaffirmed his prediction. Reagan said Clinton would act liberally and give Republicans an opportunity to come back to power. He did. They did.
I also mentioned the role of Republican governors in the future of the GOP.
The Republican Governors Association chose South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford as chairman, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour as vice chairman. Barbour said it is too early to talk about 2012. But others are talking, and many Republicans list Barbour and Sanford on their shortlists for a national ticket.
Reagan, himself a former governor, taught his White House Political Director Haley Barbour “good policy is good politics.” The converse is also true. Bad policy is bad politics and if Obama implements liberalism, he will fail. For Carter that meant one term; for Clinton that meant a Republican congress. What that will mean for Obama will be up to Republicans who heed the echoes of that California governor whose predictions proved true.
You might remember that Sanford came to Mississippi to keynote the Mississippi Center for Public Policy’s presentation of the Governing by Principle Award to Barbour. You can read my observations on his speech from this October 2 column: Government through freedom. You can also read the full column from this week: For GOP future, look at history.