June 12th, 2009
05:30 PM ET

GOP means 'Got other plans?'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/10/republican.party.poll/art.gop3.gi.jpg caption="A new poll indicates there is no clear leader of the Republican Party."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

There is an old story about a man who winds up accidentally adrift in a hot air balloon and as he passes over a field, he frantically yells to the farmer below.

“How far am I from New York?” “I have no idea,” the farmer says. “How about Philadelphia?” “Not a clue.” “You dumb hick. Don’t you know anything?” the balloonist bellows. “Well,” the farmer replies, “I know I’m not lost.”

That pretty much sums up the relationship between the Republican and Democratic Parties right now. One group may not be sure which direction it is heading, especially on dicey issues like health care reform, but the other is pretty much completely adrift.

A new poll this week told us, as polls often do, what we already know: The Republican Party is a mess. USA Today/Gallup found that almost half of Republicans and even Independents who lean right, have no idea who their captain is, which way they are heading, or where they might find a map. Their ship of state is currently the Bounty, and their Mel Gibson is starting to sweat and listen to the grumblers.

I’ve spent a good bit of time questioning Republican strategists about their situation in recent months. (I’ve tried to talk to Democrats about it too, btw, but I often have trouble understanding them with the way they start dancing around and whistling when I bring up the GOP’s troubles.) And the Repubs, almost to a soul, agree on three things.

First, they need a leader, and that weird Project Runway of Old White Guys we are watching will not produce one. Limbaugh. Gingrich. Cheney. The most active strategists all say stick a fork in them – they’re done. Sarah Palin is an interesting act, they say, but a headliner? They insist the party needs new, young faces who can blow away the Old Guard, like Barack Obama did for the Democrats

Second, they need a new vision. The civil war between those who want to restore their conservative roots and those who want to forge a new pact with America is just the opening skirmish. Everything from minority outreach to fiscal policies to the RNC’s weekend softball lineup is all on the workbench.

And third, they need time. Time to get used to climbing uphill again instead of sitting on the top. Time to adapt to all these new notions of what being a Republican might mean. And time for the opposition to make mistakes.

After all, just eight years ago America had a name for members of a party in disarray with no clear dreams, plans or hopes for the future. Back then, we called them Democrats.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Travis

    I get so tired of hearing about how Bush alone destroyed the goodstanding fiscal reputation of the U.S. while Obama should be sainted for simply trying to slove the problems he "inherited". According to an article in the Wall Street Journal "the Congressional Budget Office published its assessment, which found that the (Obama) proposals would increase the federal deficit by $2.3 trillion more over 10 years than the White House had claimed". Sounds like a great way to get the "country fiscally back on it's feet."

    Before you start bellowing that every problem in this country (including Hurrican Katrina) is directly related to Bush, consider that during the last 2 years of his presidency congress was controlled by Democrats. Yes the deficit increased those 2 years. Who controlles the purse strings of the United States? Congress does....not the president. Look it up if you don't believe me. That means Obama voted for those deficits that he claims he "inherited"!

    Also, if Obama gets his wish list he will increase the deficit much more than Bush did. Sorry, raising taxes on the "rich" won't pay for it all and the excuse that "well the Republicans ran up deficits" doesn't mean the Dems should do it too.

    June 12, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  2. kris

    The Republican Party only bad mouths Obama, while they themselves can't even figure out an idea of what to do about the economy. At least Obama is trying to make the economy better rather then just complain about it, like the Republicans do.

    June 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Lampe

    Melissa: Exactly how have The Democrats helped you? They are putting us further and further in debt. You maybe young enough not to have children or grandchildren right now, but let me assure you if you ever do they will be the ones paying off this debt. And the real kicker to all of this, the are being taxed without representation.

    June 12, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  4. Melissa

    The only plans Republicans have is to cut taxes. Since that hasn't worked in the past, that means they Got N0 Plans. Do you understand now Wellman?

    The Republicans also hate anything thats different from them, and want to control the personal lives of everyone around them using while completely flipping out when the Democrats actually try to help everyone which also proves them to be hypocritical.

    Enough is enough from the Republican attitudes. We're tired of it.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  5. RLWellman

    Susan, united we stand divided we fall. This was said the last 8-years. I guess you never commented negatively the last 8-years? It's unbelievable that you would even make a comment like that.

    All of you! I don't understand how anyone can stand still and be quiet about what the Government is doing. You think this is a slam against the Democrats alone? It's like you have blinders on and can't see left or right. No pun intended.

    The Government wants us, the citizens of the United States, to keep arguing with each other so they can keep spending money. Sit back and write one trillion on paper. The Government has no problem with spending this money. How many of you would write a check if you have no money in the bank to cover it? I know a few might, but the majority wouldn't. You may write a check and cover it at the end of month. The Government is counting on covering it in 20-30 years. Would any of you do this? Do you think this is right?

    June 12, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  6. Lampe

    Did you have the same problem, when Megan McCain was on CNN bad mouthing The Republican Party? Or do you only have a problem with people who voice the views against Obama?

    June 12, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  7. JC- Los Angeles

    The Republicans, like GM and Chrysler, continue to roll out products from their assembly line that no one likes.

    Like the pre-Obama Democrats, the Republicans never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity; for example, this week Terry McAuliffe lost AGAIN.

    Palin was on the losing side yet the Republicans act like she wasn't; Rush never was but the Republicans still think there's hope for his bloated prose.

    While Tiger Woods' main rival may be in diapers today, it's time the Republicans learned a similar lesson and started looking elsewhere.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  8. Mr. Man

    My comment relates to Dick Cheney's daughter. How is it that CNN finds that she is worthy of making comments about any President let alone the current one. she is the Daughter of... Hello!!! she is practically an unknown polictical figure yet the network displayed her as if she has been a brilliant political mind for years to allow her to use the air waves in this way is disrespectful to all who hold a political science degree and those in the political analyst field. I am asking, no begging that you the producers take someone from the street and us his or her opinion if you're going to allow her's; the network would be recieving the same resluts minus the Cheney name

    June 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  9. Susan

    A little over seven months ago we elected a President Obama. People we smiling and dared to hope.

    Republicans need to re-group without public comments and appearances on every talk show. You are everywhere. You have a problem with everything the President presents, but a better plan is not found. You can quote all the famous presidents, but you are not willing to offer your experience. That in itself is a darn shame.


    June 12, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  10. RLWellman

    I don't understand when you say the Republicans have no clear objective or plans. The Democrats have spent and spent and spent billions of dollars with very little terminology in the bills that were passed. Their plan is to spend this money as they go and make up reasons as they go. Is this planning? The President has said this is what we meant or what we mean and can spend it as he sees fit. This is planning and fore thought?

    We, the people of these United States, have to pay for the Governments plans and mistakes. However, don't think we will continually pay with our eyes closed or without asking questions!

    We, keep losing our jobs, houses, cars, savings, and retirements. You, on the other hand, keep raising your salaries, office spending, and increasing in size without any regard to us!

    So, don't think you will be able to keep this up for very much longer. We are getting tired of covering for your mistakes. You are supposed to represent us, not yourselves.

    It wouldn't even be so bad if you had to follow the same rules as we have to. However, you have your own rules that you write for your selves. This will change too. Remember, what's good for the goose, should be what's good for the gander too!

    June 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm |