Recent comments of Jeb Bush confirmed by today’s American elections. Virginia and New Jersey Democratic defeats no great surprise, moderate republicans can win elections in Democratic or swing states, just as moderate to conservative Democrats can win in Republican states. New York mayoral election almost a major surprise but its a Democratic city. New York 23 by-election where Democrat Bill Owens is leading over Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman (hero of the ‘tea party’ enthusiasts) much more significant. Hoffman came from nowhere with the aggressive support of conservative lobbies such as the Club for Growth and conservative bloggers to force moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava out of the race. If Owens wins this would be the first occasion in many years time that a party in power in Congress and the Presidency has picked up an opposition seat at a special election. NY 23 may have been Republican for over a century but but did vote for Barack Obama and once elected Owens will be very hard to unseat. More generally voters may feel Obama is too economically liberal, even if they like individual government programs (or even suggested ones such as public health insurance option), but simply saying ‘No’ is not a viable Republican strategy, as Jeb Bush recently declared:
Bush said he believes the Republican Party needs to cater its message to include everyone in America, and become more than the “old white guy party.” “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that in order for a political party to be successful it has to reach out to everyone,” Bush said. “In politics, you never win when you say ‘us and them.’ We need a more welcoming message.” Bush added that his party needs to modernize and embrace 21st ideals and technology. “I sense that our party is kind of in a nostalgic mode where we look back to the good old days,” Bush said. “However good they were, and there were some good days, is completely irrelevant in 2009.” Bush discussed the need for reform in education, particularly the embracement of technology in the classroom. Bush said the Republicans need to lead the charge on education issues, as well as on energy policy, immigration policy and a foreign policy that defends America’s interests. “We just can’t be the party of no. Republicans need to offer, based on their own principles, solutions to these problems,” he said.