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Obama Victory the GOP's Best Hope

By Andrea Tantaros

Win or lose on Election Day, one truth is absolute: The Republican Party needs a rebirth. I'm not talking about a few deep breaths, a reboot or even a makeover; I'm proposing one giant housecleaning.

Our identity is lost. When it comes to fresh ideas, we're bankrupt. Our strategies are stale, our talking points robotic and regurgitated, and our direction is unclear. We've forgotten how to communicate with the American people. Our message is adrift and our messenger-in-chief, George W. Bush, is bloodied and badly bruised. Scratch that: We don't even have a messenger (thank God for Rush Limbaugh, our wise political Sherpa).

The future of the Republican Party depends on an Obama victory. There, I've said it. I waited this entire cycle to express my concern, and I'm glad I did, because I now believe more than ever that my hypothesis is true. Call it tough love, call it treason; I call it the truth.

The campaign of John McCain has only solidified my argument. From day one it has struggled to find a clear and rationally persuasive theme. It has operated under an outdated playbook that focuses on personal associations (bafflingly, even in the throes of an economic meltdown). These moves worked in 2004, but to take one's eyes off the ball--that being the economy--for one moment in this election was truly his gravest error.

Sadly, the campaign has operated with gimmicky stunts, a snarky tone and the most stomach-churning of sarcasm. What did we expect? McCain's advisors are Bush's old guard. They're tired, divorced from reality and devoid of creativity. They failed to capitalize on McCain's strengths and grossly mismanaged Palin.

I find it all too perfect that it took a plumber to unclog the McCain machine's message constipation. Joe may have helped in the short term, but the need for major renovations remains. And here's how we'll do it:

As my Greek father always says: "The fish stinks from the head." If the Republican party is the stinky fish, then George Bush is its head. The nation doesn't have faith in how our party governs, thanks to its management - or perceived mismanagement - of Katrina and the war in Iraq. Republicans somehow got the black eye from a housing crisis that was caused by the Democrats' belief that every man, woman, child, dog, cat and goldfish has a right to a home, whether they can afford one or not. How did we get this black eye? Because we are the party in power - and the head stinks ... at communicating. Failing to correct the record would have been bad enough. But our inability to correct the record was a failure of monumental proportions.

The hybrid, hapless Bush/McCain operation isn't the only case for reform. Congressional Republicans are equally as guilty for our demise. To turn the ship around, Congress should be our starting point. All the bridges to nowhere, the support for bloated spending bills, entitlement expansion and unethical practices must be replaced with fiscal responsibility; a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and a one-strike-and-you're-out mantra. Yes, Senators Stevens, Craig and Vitter: I'm talking to you.

With McCain as President or back in the Senate, The Grand Old Party needs a new attitude, a new guard and a mobilization of the next generation. We must repackage our core values and ideals of limited government, fiscal discipline and personal responsibility. Into this platform, we must incorporate new planks on alternative energy and rising college tuition costs. And we must have the cajones to take on retirement security.

Our agenda should involve reviving seductive issues like medical malpractice and American exceptionalism in education. We must churn out the best, most educated workforce in the world, but not through greater federal involvement and tired singsong saw of mo' money, mo' money. It is also critical that we expand our outreach and invest in talent recruitment to harvest a new crop of diverse candidates to seek office. The party of the old, white male needs to finally be over - so over.

Republicans, if we lose this election we cannot run off and skulk. We must fight (much harder than we are fighting today) for what we believe, and be vigilant and focused on holding the Democrats accountable.

Our nation will suffer under the trio of doom: Pelosi, Reid and Obama. Their incompetence will be showcased very quickly to the electorate and because of it Republicans will re-emerge stronger than ever in four years. I've never been one to believe we must lose an election in order to win, but only if we recalibrate and regenerate will we have a chance to rise again and lead this great nation.

To be clear, this is not an endorsement of Barack Obama. This is recognition of an opportunity for our party. I believe Senator Obama is troublingly unqualified. His punitive wealth-transfer dogma will lead our country into further economic ruin and his ingenuous, popularity-contest approach to foreign policy will jeopardize our global gravitas.

John McCain is tested and ready, and though I suspect he'd have a challenging time governing as President while simultaneously leading the Republican Party further into the wilderness, he is a much more comforting and sensible option.

The GOP has suffered from adversity, but lucky for us, adversity never leaves people where it finds them. It's up to us to control our fate. Now is the time to conduct an honest self-evaluation on the state of our union and stand ready to perform significant alterations, win or lose the White House.

The right's been getting it wrong. An Obama Presidency presents us with a chance to change, not our values, but our behavior and the way we govern. It's up to us to have the courage to do it.

Get ready. A renaissance is in order.

Andrea Tantaros is a Republican Political Commentator and Fox contributor. Her columns can be found at and at