Republicans seek a path to revival

Wa Po Article:

Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota, recalled that Ronald Reagan managed to divide and intimidate his Democratic opposition early in 1981. Changes in the composition of the parties and a decade or more of polarized politics have made that more difficult for any president today, but even with the party on the ropes, Obama has failed to drive a wedge into the Republican coalition.

“That didn’t happen,” Weber said. “The Republicans united themselves very quickly. They were handed a gift by the [Democrats’] handling of the stimulus package, emanating as it did out of the House of Representatives. Basically it was just too much too fast. And you see it now across — it’s not just unity in Congress. It’s unity of the Republican electorate.”

Many Republicans, however, acknowledge that their comeback-in-the-making is almost entirely the result of public concern about the size, scope and pace of the changes Obama has proposed, fears that government is becoming too intrusive and that the mushrooming federal budget deficit represents a threat to the long-term stability of the economy.

As one GOP strategist, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be candid, said, “We are in better shape than in December ’08, but not because of anything we did. If there is anything we could have done, we haven’t done it.”

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