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Friday, November 17, 2006

Whither the GOP? Now the Debate Gets Serious

Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, and Rep. Roy Blunt, R-MO, have been elected House Minority Leader and House Minority Whip, respectively, and both by wide margins of the House GOP caucus.

Thus, both the Senate GOP, which earlier this week elevated Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, and Sen. Trent Lott, R-MS, and the House GOP have opted for familiarity and continuity instead of radical change in the wake of last Tuesday's massive election defeat.

As always happens when a majority party is thrust into the minority, a great debate is now gathering momentum within the GOP and the Right side of the Blogosphere about what to do next, especially whether or not to stay within the party or seek greener electoral pastures elsewhere.

The key issue here is whether the GOP can ever be a reliable tool for advancing the principles and programs that America's moderate conservative majority have supported for decades. I remain open to persuasion otherwise, but my view is the leadership decisions made by the Senate and House GOP provide abundant evidence that conservatives, libertarians and faith-based traditionalists should look elsewhere.

Mine is a minority view, at least for now. Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters has been especially pondering these questions since the election and is beginning to arrive at some conclusions.

Today Ed focuses on the need to find and recruit top quality conservative candidates:

"Given that our choices of leadership have become so constrained that Trent Lott represents the lesser of two evils to some, then it is incumbent on conservatives to start finding better choices for these offices.

"Over the next few weeks, I'll be dusting off my Not One Dime More domain and developing some initiatives designed to do just that. I'm tentatively calling this the First Principles Project, and I'll eventually need plenty of help from the CQ community."

Go here for more from Ed.