Do Republicans Really Need a Leader?
By Ben Pershing
Six months after Republicans lost control of the White House and slipped further out of power on the Hill, most coverage of the party portrays it as lost in the wilderness, riven by internal conflict and searching in vain for a winning message. In the past week alone, we've read about Sarah Palin vs. Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee vs. Eric Cantor, social vs. economic conservatives, Meghan McCain vs. Bristol Palin, and so on.
Implicit in much of the coverage is the need for Republicans to find their perfect leader, the man or woman to lead them out of that wilderness. But who says the minority party can or should have one person in charge? Who was "the leader" for Democrats in 2006? The party had multiple figures jockeying for power -- Howard Dean and congressional leaders fought regularly -- and yet they still won that cycle. Newt Gingrich played a vital role for Republicans in 1994 but he was by no means the only leader of the effort, and he was a constant combatant in intraparty battles too.
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