Lungren Leadership May Be Good for GOP
November 17, 2008
By Paul Hughes
– A change in Republican leadership in the House of Representatives may be good for the GOP as the party seeks support in the wake of Democrat Barack Obama's election as the 44th president of the United States, a former presidential speech writer told RushPRnews. Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) on Friday announced his campaign to replace Rep. John A. Boehmer (R-Ohio) as House Minority Leader.
"There is a lot to like in Dan Lungren," said Michael Johns, a speechwriter for former President George H.W. Bush. "He's a long-standing member of Congress, and he's one of those conservatives whose passion for public service was reenergized by the September 11 attacks."
A former California attorney general who now represents the third district in Northern California, Lungren's areas of expertise include crime and illegal immigration, two issues that are of great importance in Congress, Johns said.
A vote on the possible leadership change is expected on Wednesday when Congress starts its lame duck session. Whether Lungren has the support to be elected is not known.
However, William Katz, a conservative observer, former CIA officer and author of 10 books, said he believes a challenge like Lungren's would be good.
"Any responsible challenge to the GOP congressional leaders is good because it will wake them up and make them earn their positions," he said. "They've grown lax, with no real message for the American people."
Republicans lost control of the House to the Democrats in 2006 after 12 years in the majority.
The Republican Party must reach out to a more diverse base of people and be able to foster new ideas if it is to remain a relevant political force, said Katz, who hosts a web site that espouses conservative ideas.
Katz, whose varied career also includes writer for comedian Bob Newhart, said the GOP must reach out more to Hispanics and other ethnic groups, particularly Asian Americans, if it is to remain a relevant political force in the coming years.
"It must reach out and nurture groups you rarely hear about politically, but will – like Asian Americans, with their remarkable entrepreneurial spirit," said Katz.
As Barack Obama readies for a January 20 inauguration as the 44th president of the United States, opinions are varied as to what steps the GOP must take to remain relevant during the coming administration.
Bipartisanship will be key to the success of the party in the years ahead, said Carla Douglin, a foreclosure prevention expert who supported Obama.
Both Douglin and Katz identified Tim Pawlenty, Republican governor of Minnesota, as among the GOP's young rising stars and one to watch in the coming years. And Katz said that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist are also up and coming GOP leaders to watch.
"I believe American people are tired of the finger-pointing; both parties are going to have to work together to solve the crises that face our nation today," said Douglin, whose web site offers a dvd for sale that explains how to avoid foreclosure.
Katz said the GOP should be focused on developing positive, creative proposals to lift the country out of the economic crisis it is in. And it must be able to easily explain these measures to the American people.
Johns said that Republicans were unable to contrast favorably with the Democrats during the recent presidential election. "Republicans failed to draw a line in the sand over wasteful spending...in so doing, Republicans lost their ability to contrast profoundly and favorably with Democrats," he said.
With the United States facing its worst financial crisis since Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president in 1933 and the nation involved in two unpopular wars in the Middle East, all eyes of the world are sure to be on Washington, D.C. in the coming weeks and months as Obama, the nation's first African American president-elect, prepares to take office.
Obama, one of the youngest men ever elected president, has so far chosen one cabinet member – Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel will be his chief of staff – and, according to NBC News, is considering Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton, his former rival for the presidency, to be secretary of state.
Speculation has been that the Obama cabinet will be a bipartisan panel, in keeping with his pledge to unify a nation that has been divided over wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Obama's going in on a wave of good will," Katz said.
Yet, such support will be short-lived if another terrorist attack against the U.S. occurs or if Obama is unable to improve the economy, he said. He noted that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred within eight months after George W. Bush became president.
"I don't think the American people have yet caught on to how serious this is," Katz said.
LaTosha Johnson, a Chicago-based entrepreneur, thinks she does know and believes Obama's intelligence, education and charisma make him well-suited to govern in these difficult times.
"Everything about this guy (Obama) is off the charts," she said.
Johnson, president of market research firm TargetStars was among the more than 240,000 people present at Grant Park in Chicago on Nov. 4 to hear Obama's acceptance speech. So many came to attend the Obama victory rally that the streets surrounding the park had to be used to accommodate the overflow crowd, she said.
Her solution to the unemployment rate would have Obama allocating resources to increase the number of small businesses in country. By enabling business owners' greater access to grants and other financial resources, they would be able increase the number of employees and boost the economy, Johnson said.
Add to that additional incentives to encourage women and minority-owned businesses, and that would provide an additional jolt, she said.
While Johnson also said withdrawing troops from Iraq would also provide an economic boost, Katz said strengthening defense is something that should remain high on Obama's list of priorities.
"He must move to strengthen the defense, not weaken it," Katz said. "He'll have people telling him we don't have the money. He better find the money."
Since Obama's election, both parties have resolved publicly to work together to unify the
nation and to strengthen the United States good will abroad.
About the author:
Paul Hughes is a Southern California-based freelancer and a RushPRnews reporter/columnist covering politics, and social issues. Previously, Paul wrote for a major California public utility and covered state and local issues for a number of California newspapers. You may write Paul at email@example.com. Paul is available for news and feature assignments. Visit Paul at www.paul-hughes.net.
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