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Opening Arguments

Rallying the troops

Good advice from the GOP national chairman to the party faithful:

"Lift your heads," Steele told about 800 people at the Indiana State Republican dinner at the downtown Marriott Hotel. "I'm so sick and tired of Republicans whining and moaning and complaining. You lost, get over it. "

And some easier-said-than-done words:

Steele said Wednesday that $787 billion in stimulus money and bank bailouts has done little to improve the economy and that Obama's honeymoon is over. He encouraged Republicans to get back to what he called the principles the party stands for -- faith, freedom, responsibility and a commitment to economic growth.

The party is still in the "whatever Obama says, we say different" mode, and there are heated arguments about what the GOP actually does or should stand for. Such confusion and lack of direction are natural when a party takes a big beating -- Democrats have been through it a few times, too -- and Republicans can probably get away with the whining and floundering for the rest of 2009. But the direction of the Obama government is pretty clear by now, and if the GOP doesn't have a coherent and clearly explained alternative ready for the 2010 midterm elections, it will be so deep into the wildnerness it might never find its way out. And the whole country will have to suffer through a second Obama administration and damage that will never be undone.