WEEKLY UPDATE from Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick
November 7, 2008

Chairman's Update

Election Night Re-cap -- What’s Next?

While there may be some key races in Virginia whose outcome is as yet unknown, we also must acknowledge the difficult defeat that Tuesday represented.

First, the hard part: There is no doubt that Tuesday was a storm that rained down hard on our Party, both in Virginia and nationwide.

Between an unpopular President with an "R" next to his name; the press clearly against us (and not hiding that fact); a fundraising super-disadvantage with our opponent having less restrictions than we did; an overpowering sense that "change" was needed; an economic meltdown most of us alive have never experienced; and a superior campaign run by our opponents, we could not overcome the massive "perfect storm" we faced.

Heck, by any standard, we should have lost by double digits. Indeed the prediction from the polls and media was for a tsunami that would blow the Republican party off the political map. But despite everything, the Democrats fell far short of the 25 seat gain in Congress and filibuster proof majority in the Senate they expected and the media predicted.

Plus, with all that was working against us, the McCain-Palin ticket still earned over fifty six million votes, making the popular vote much closer than it should have been and indicating that there is no evidence that our Party is headed in the direction of Lehman Brothers.

That is, if we do our jobs right.

So, in keeping with the metaphor, all storms eventually pass. The sky parts, the dark clouds disappear, and we go forward into a better day.

How we approach the days ahead is the key question we now face. Republicans have to find a better way to communicate our message to the growing population who considers themselves "Independent" on the key issues that matter most to our families. Take heart -- all voters, regardless of party, agree with us on the issues 70+% of the time, but we need to do a better job of packaging and articulating our ideas and vision -- versus letting the other side take those issues away from us.

Commonsense conservative ideas did not lose Tuesday. Look at how those Democrats who won ran their campaigns. Mark Warner, for example, aired countless television ads where, not once, did he mention he was a Democrat. The most liberal presidential candidate in decades, Obama, ran and won on a platform of tax cuts. And the fact that a marriage amendment passed decisively in California (of all places) speaks loudly about the principles you and I fight for.

I ran for Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia to rebuild our Party. Much of what I ran to do over the last several months was put on hold to focus purely on our 2008 campaigns (and rightfully so), rather than rebuilding for the future. Well, those campaigns are over, and honestly, I’m excited. Not only do we now have the best opportunity in decades to rebuild our Party here in Virginia, but we also have a seat at the table at rebuilding our Party nationally (moreso if our own Congressman Eric Cantor wins his bid for Minority Whip, as is expected).

Looking ahead, Republicans know our time will come again when the American people look to us and our ideas -- sooner rather than later. Remember that only one Democrat occupied the White House between the abysmal days of Watergate and the Reagan Revolution. And only two years after the election of Bill Clinton Republicans lead another Revolution in Congress in ’94, leading to a modern U.S. President to famously debate his relevance with the media.

But this week, we acknowledge that the people have spoken, and the Democrats have won the right to lead. We commend Barack Obama for his personal achievement, and continue to marvel at our nation’s ability to offer unbounded opportunity for any individual.

We will take our place now at the table marked "loyal opposition", and because we love our country -- we root for our new President to succeed, for the betterment of our nation and the lives of its people. But we also expect him to listen, and to and govern with the same moderate, inclusive tone and position on the issues with which he campaigned -- rather than the far-left way he governed in the Illinois legislature of the U.S. Senate.

If the Democrats overreach and misinterpret Tuesday’s results as a mandate for an overbearing liberal agenda, such as the blusters from Congressman Jim Moran we will stand in their way. Democrats asked to lead, so now it is time for them to do so -- to lead, fairly and without partisan rancor. They got their wish, and they no longer have the luxury of blaming George Bush for everything from the economy, to bad potato crops, or the latest computer virus.

Republicans must remain committed to our principles and embrace the challenges ahead. We know history will soon call upon us again. We have no time to waste, especially for those of us in Virginia. The 2009 campaign began Wednesday, and it is a critical year for the ideas and principles we fight for.

Thank you for all that you did this year to get us across the finish line, even if we didn’t get the first place ribbon. I know how hard many Republicans worked across Virginia for our candidates and our ideas, and I am extremely proud of your efforts. Let’s take the lessons learned from our successes and failures and use them to rebuild our Party back in the bold Republican Party that Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich so ably did in the generation before us.

As Winston Churchill wisely said: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

The Future Starts Now - Get involved

As the folding chairs are neatly stacked and put away at the end of one election night party, now is the time to start thinking about the 2009 campaigns, which are off and running!

A lot will happen between now and the elections next November where voters will pick our next Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, as well as the entire state House of Delegates (and determine if redistricting will help or hurt us). There is no time like the present to sign-up and get plugged in to your state Party and Republicans across Virginia.

Better yet, volunteer at your local Republican unit committee, as nothing does more to help our candidates statewide and on the local level then a thriving local committee.

Our grassroots activists have worked extremely hard over the past year to double our membership and welcome new people into their local committees, so please make a difference for the issues we care about by joining your local GOP unit today!

Picking on Palin

Few days were as exciting this past election as the day that Sarah Palin was introduced to America as part of our ticket. It was a bold, surprise choice that held tremendous hope that Republicans weren’t content to trot out the same cast of characters that required us to paint approving smiles on our faces.

She was everything that the Washington insiders and media elite don’t like about candidates (especially Republicans), and it just endeared her to us more. She is genuine, plain-spoken, unpretentious, and an unapologetic advocate of the Reagan brand of Republicanism. Oh, and she can field dress a moose (who would like to see Katie Couric try that?).

So it comes as no surprise that the scapegoaters are trying to lay Tuesday’s loss at her feet. What does come as a surprise is how openly some Republicans are jumping right in. Maybe I’m naïve, but I thought by now we Republicans would have learned our lesson and stopped giving gifts to the liberals to win their approval by going after our own.

Many don’t realize that the reason the liberals went after her so hard is exactly because she is an effective politician that threatens the turf they think only they should occupy.

The fact remains that Sarah Palin performed amazingly well given all the pressure she endured as she stepped from her Wasilla, Alaska home into the brightest of national spotlights. She is one of the few shining stars in a Party desperate for a little charisma and new faces. Sarah Palin is not going away any time soon -- and thank goodness for that!