by Alan Lange

I don’t mean to get off on a rant, but if you listen to the mainstream media our even our local alternative kooks, it is not much fun to be a Conservative these days. No, our fate has already been written, haven’t you heard? With the Foley scandal and our “failures” in Iraq, the only thing left is for the voters to “throw the bums out”, right?

Well, I disagree. I look back at the last few years of unified rule of the Republican Congress and Presidency, and I like the big picture. Tax cuts initiated at the beginning of Bush’s presidency have left us with economic growth and prosperity. The stock market is at a record high. Unemployment is near an all time low. Interest rates are historically very low. Gas prices are back in balance. Deficits in the face of a war and the largest natural disaster in US history are lower than expected due to vast increases in federal tax receipts (ironically the result of lower tax rates).

We are facing evil in our time, unlike the US of the 1930s. We realize that what happens “over there” really does matter over here and that the best time to stop an entrenched totalitarian regime is before it becomes entrenched and legitimized. Sure, one can look at the Iraq war and talk about the failures and the “bungling”, but think about this . . . name me a war that was “well run”. Ever. (Hint: there isn’t one). War sucks and people die in war because people are committed enough to die to kill each other to impose their will. I don’t remember the US public bitching about how “poorly run” D-day was. It was necessary, and we did what we needed to do. Arguably, it could have been avoided with policies much like the US is taking on today with Iraq, Iran and North Korea ? address problems before they become a crisis. When you are dealing with dictators and thugs, it is not a matter of whether life will be lost. It is only a question of how many, where and how.

I will make the argument that we have accomplished more in Iraq with fewer casualties than in any armed conflict in our history. Ultimately, there may be a “Yugoslavia”-type solution with more than one republic. If the parts are committed to democracy and stability, I think it would be a win any way you slice it.

Nationally, it is in nobody’s interest to have the Democrats take over the US Congress. Pelosi, if judged by her voting record and rhetoric, would be an unmitigated disaster. Taxes would increase on everyone. . . immediately and significantly. Democrats would conduct a political witchhunt on a war time President . . . immediately . . . running the risk of permanent damage to the office of the Presidency and the decisive action the office requires and should encourage. All of the kook-fringe conspiracists would come out the woodwork and Bush would be blamed for 9-11, Iraq and probably even the Kennedy assassination. We would face pressure to cut and run . . . immediately . . . from the obligations made to defeating global terrorism, thus putting thugs like Ahmadinejad, Kim Jung Il, and Hugo Chavez in the driver’s seat.

So what can we do about that here? Well, first the bad news. Unfortunately there is not much we can do on a national level other than support our President. Our slate for the US Congress is all but decided with Taylor, Pickering, Wicker and Thompson all having huge pre-election advantages. Lott is a mortal lock as well. But let me take this opportunity to say how disappointed I am in Herring, Lott, Cochran & Barbour with regards to the 2nd district. Based on the Madison GOP lovefest in March, I really thought meaningful party support would be given to Yvonne Brown. It hasn’t, and it is a shame. She should be a rising star and the party needs to cement the message to and support from Mississippians of color by really pushing quality candidates who happen to be of color. Our leaders should have taken the opportunity to lead here and didn’t. This was a major missed opportunity.

OK, so here’s the good news. We have the opportunity to cement our gains statewide on issues like tort reform by some very important races in the judicial branch. Proven conservatives are running at the Chancery, Circuit and Court of Appeals level and all are facing strong opposition by the trial lobby. Also, the good news is that 2007 statewide elections look as promising for conservatives as any in memory. Barbour is a lock, and I continue to make the argument that he may be drafted at the bottom of a 2008 presidential ticket. The Lt. Governor’s race looks pretty safe for Republicans. Depending on movements in AG and Secretary of State, there are potential opportunities there. And most of the balance of downticket races will be propped up by a very strong top of the ticket. The Democratic party in Mississippi is in utter disarray. The State Legislature is increasingly conservative in makeup and a strong election cycle for the party may tip the balance in the House.

All the Democrats can talk about nationally can talk about is Mark Foley and “Cutting and Running” in Iraq. They are totally devoid of message or platform nationally except Republicans = Bad. Soaking the rich and appeasing petty global dictating thugs is not a recipe for success in my book. Historically, neither strategy has ever worked.

Are there some things I’d like to change about the GOP? You bet. Immigration control and reform, developing a real energy exploration policy, and revisiting our role in the UN are just a few. But at the end of the day, I look at the people most likely to deal with those issues and they are not Democrats.

And remember 1992 at the end of GWB’s first term, the Christian Conservatives decided that they were going to teach the Republicans that the tail really does wag the dog. The result? Eight years of Bill Clinton. You cannot win by losing. You can win by winning and then make gains within that structure. The Democrats are reaching back into that playbook with this Foley foolishness in hopes of turning the same trick in 1992. My sense is that the GOP will ultimately get the message back out and remind everyone of the last time this happened.

So, how do Conservatives win? Conservatives should be more conservative. That means more tax cuts, less government spending and waste, stronger on national defense and resolute commitment to our national security. It is a formula that works every time it is tried.

So my prediction? A hold. A close hold. A nervous election night in DC. Ultimately, I believe that the people get it right. I think a good close by Rove and the braintrust in the Party along with the Democrats still desperately clinging to scandal instead of advancing ideas will allow Republicans to hold the line. People follow vision. The Republican Party nationally has not done an outstanding job of articulating it, but compared to the opposition, they appear to be luminaries.

Buck up, Conservatives. Better days are yet to come.