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LA GOP House members can perform valuable service

If Republican, it’s tempting to assign too much import to the fact that the majority of new GOP U.S. House members comes from Louisiana, and a recent such state member is now the only elected non-Hispanic non-white governor in the nation who is also a Republican. At the same time, it would be a mistake to neglect the larger lessons present.

While some may be eager to hold out Louisiana as a model on how the GOP can both win and do so with candidates of diverse ethnic backgrounds, it must be tempered by the fact that special conditions allowed all three winners, Reps. Anh “Joseph” Cao, John Fleming, and Bill Cassidy, to triumph. Cao took advantage of being up against an incumbent in legal disgrace, Fleming by having a postponed election that washed away potential black Democrat support for his opponent without pres.-elect Barack Obama on the top of the ballot, and Cassidy may not have defeated a short-time white Democrat incumbent except for the independent candidacy of a black Democrat.

But without unapologetically conservative-themed campaigns, Fleming and Cassidy despite being put in a position to win could not have won. Since 2004, learning from the lessons of that election cycle Democrat strategy has been to obscure the ideological content of their campaigns because of the understanding that Americans’ ideological leanings as a whole are moderately conservative. It culminated in the most intellectually vacuous presidential contest in decades, where the Obama campaign was akin to a teenager asking for keys to the family car and a six-pack of cold brew on the basis of a slew of vague promises to be good that ran counter to past behavior.

This was replicated down the line, with the typical Democrat candidacy assigning bogeymen to blame (often for problems created by their own policies), offering vague ideas and/or more specific unsustainable/ignorant policy prescriptions on the basis of these issues and, in the South in particular, sounding select conservative themes in an attempt to inoculate themselves from being found out that they supported a much more liberal policy agenda.

In many places, they got away with it for two reasons, because too many Republicans had not governed in a fashion that was sufficiently conservative to make a credible contrast, and that their GOP opponents did not try to expose them for what they were. To (especially) Fleming’s and Cassidy’s credit, they not only had the conservative credentials, they embraced and articulated conservative philosophies and did not give their opponents passes. (Cao’s campaign was much less ideological, being that he was running in one of 15 percent or so districts in American where its composition makes conservatism unpopular at present). Both made efforts to connect their opponents, long-time politicians, to their liberal fellow-travelers, and largely succeeded.

It’s simple, conservatism wins elections – not everywhere in America, but in enough places overall to give conservatives a natural majority. It’s why over the next four years Obama and Democrats are going to govern as if they were still campaigning – do only what seems popular, in public for cover present some of these things in conservative light (whether they are in execution will be another matter), and implement ruthlessly a liberal agenda behind the scenes and in the shadows out of the inattentive public’s view, hoping in four years to secure majorities again. Then the hammer comes down on America, as in the next four years they take off the mask and govern openly and blatantly on the hard left to push things through that could take decades to correct.

This is makes the electoral model of Fleming and Cassidy most valuable, for we will need Members who credibly will call things like they are as the nation prepares for years of spin, smoke, and mirrors from the Democrats.

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