Photo by Aimee GieseThe GOP's been struggling for a few years -- at least since the 2006 Congressional elections when they lost control of both the House and the Senate. The 2008 elections didn't go in their favor either.
While early predictions suggest the GOP is poised to gain seats in the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans shouldn't get too cocky. The party's been generating a lot of bad press lately, thanks to the behavior of their elected representatives and the RNC.
In particular, the RNC has been on the hot seat since Michael Steele was elected chairman. He's made lots of news, and none of it's been good. Instead, he's known for criticizing the party and its elected leaders without offering alternative solutions. With a leader like Steele, the RNC doesn't need enemies.
If you take a look at their website, it's clear they're not interested in making friends. The focus is not on effective Republican leaders and GOP-sponsored initiatives, but a portrayal of Speaker Pelosi as a puppetmaster and an image of her in front of a wall of flames, urging voters to "Fire Pelosi."
The party has already been splintered by the Tea Party movement advocating for greater fiscal conservatism. Now the GOP's social conservatism is being questioned due to an RNC business expense at a bondage-themed nightclub and a printing error on a fundraising mailer, which gave the number to a phone sex line.
As a result, the Family Research Council -- a socially conservative organization based in Atlanta -- has directed its supporters to donate to the candidates of their choice, or better yet, to the FRC and its political action committee.
Even Sarah Palin is distancing herself. She keynoted the Tea Party convention in Nashville in February and has requested that the RNC remove her name from fundraising event invitations, indicating that she will not be present.
Based on the shenanigans of elected leaders in recent years, the GOP hasn't improved its standing with social conservatives. How can a party champion itself as morally superior when there are so many examples of how it's not? Likewise, the RNC's poor allocation of donations -- under Steele's leadership, the RNC has spent $6M more than it has raised (though presumably not all on entertainment) -- and the GOP's lack of spending restraint have driven away fiscal conservatives.
Sure, the Republicans might pick up some seats in Congress this fall, but it would be purely a function of local interests, not a matter of shifting ideologies. It certainly wouldn't indicate a second Republican Revolution.
Until the RNC can reel in its leader and its spending, and until the GOP can unify all varieties of conservatism under its umbrella without casting aspersions on those who want a place in the party, the Republicans will continue to behave like toddlers -- whining, name-calling, and shouting "No!"