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Ray Haynes

As sure as 1996 Follows 1994 and 2012 Follows 2010…

Far be it from me to throw cold water on this year of great victories, but this is not the first time Republicans have seen historic victories. 1994 was overwhelming. 2010 was hopeful. And despite these great victories, Republicans managed to throw away these amazing opportunities. The question after this historic election is whether we will do the same again in two years.

I start with a rule I developed out of years of observation of politics (I have several, this is just one). This rule of politics is Democrats lose elections because they keep their political promises, Republicans lose elections because they break their political promises. Remember, when the Republicans were on the ascent, “Read my lips, no new taxes”? That promise cost Republicans two years of hell in the first term of the Clinton presidency. Clinton, however, promising to reform the health care system, frightened Americans so badly that Republicans won the majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. Republicans then nominated for their presidential candidate in 1996 the tax collector for the welfare state, Bob Dole, and America got stuck with 4 more years of Bill Clinton.

By 2006, our Republican majorities in Congress delivered a big spending, over-intrusive federal government, despite their promises not to do so, and three way Republican control of the federal government (for the first time since the mid-1950’s) was unceremoniously dumped by the American people. Republicans promised a smaller, less intrusive federal government, and broke that promise. In 2008, Democrats once again promised a larger, more intrusive federal government (of course, all tied up in a “we’re not the Republicans” bow), and by 2010, people got scared again, and gave Republicans control of one house of Congress.

At that time, Republicans started talking about amnesty for illegals, and 2012 comes along, and people say, why did we trust them, and re-elected Obama.

Now, I know this is simplistic, but the truth is, as soon as Republicans start getting control of the levers of power, they forget why people entrusted those levers to those Republicans. Republicans start pandering to the media, to the Washington establishment, and the left, claiming they want to “work to make government work” or we “have to accommodate Democrats” or some other excuse for not pursuing the agenda of the millions of Americans in flyover country who believed the promises that Republicans who shrink government, repeal Obamacare, eliminate the federal government’s intrusion into education, or state poverty policy, or actually push a freedom agenda. These voters wait, and when Republicans don’t deliver, these voters turn on them, and deliver power back to the Democrats.

I have an idea. Why not, for the next two years, Republicans actually shrink government. Obama can only sign bills Congress sends to him. Why not prevent bureaucrats in Washington from intruding on our liberties? Why not send up bills that repeal Obamacare or cut taxes? I know this sounds revolutionary, but maybe, just maybe, voters might think Republicans are honest brokers in the political process (unlike the Democrats).

Republicans start a presidential election cycle way behind. In the last six presidential elections, states totaling 242 electoral votes have voted for the Democrat every time. In that same time, states totaling 102 electoral votes have voted Republican. Republicans have to run the table on every battleground state to win the presidency. Lose Florida, lose the election. This is a tall order. Actually keeping their promises will increase the potential of a Republican presidential victory, not to mention the good public policy that might promote. It’s a win/win.