Former House Minority Leader Bob Michel of Illinois never led a Republican majority during his years as the top GOPer in the House from the 97th through the 103rd Congress.
But he did get be House Speaker Tip O'Neill's golf partner occasionally, and he was properly grateful to receive a few other crumbs from the Democrats who ran things with an iron hand.
He retired just as Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America generation swept aside the 40-year Democratic reign and took control of both the House and Senate in the 1994 elections.
They did so by completely ignoring Michel's guiding political strategy - be moderate, always compromise with the Democrats, seek accommodation no matter what, don't rock the boat, and, most important, never, ever give anything more than lip service to those trouble-making conservatives.
Why am I telling you about Michel? Because nearly two decades after his retirement, he or his ghost is back with advice for Republicans on how they can do what he never did - regain the majority in Congress: “Without a good slice of the independents, we are doomed.” Those words of wisdom are in a Politico
feature aptly titled "Conservatives roar, Republicans tremble."
For an instant, I thought it was 1981 all over again. Thankfully, it's still 2009 but Michel is singing the same old song, 97th verse. Be moderate. Move to the center. Above all, don't be ... obstreperous like those uncouth people who make up the "Republican base."
Politico's feature is also the same old song. These things are among the Mainstream Media's favorite past-times - Telling Republicans how to win elections by moving to the center, being moderate, and keeping those conservatives in their place. No matter that Republicans have never won either the White House or a congressional majority without a fired-up base.
Still, some of the usual suspects are quoted by Politico, including senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, plus commentator David Brooks, GOP Establishment strategist Ed Gillespie, and others.
So I guess it is absolutely fitting that Politico got Michel to add his wisdom to those of the "many Republicans" who are "growing worried that the party’s chances for reversing its electoral routs of 2006 and 2008 are being wounded by the flamboyant rhetoric and angry tone of conservative activists and media personalities."
Geez, haven't I read that same lead somewhere else? Funny how the same crowd is always quoted in these pieces. And how even after all these years, they still haven't learned any new tricks.
UPDATED: Politico's 'hit job' coordinated with White House?
That's the question posed by RedState.com's Erick Erickson. Here's why: "But there is more to this story. This is something ignored by most people today. This story is, whether intended or not, a coordinated hit out of the White House. We know the Politico does this. It runs as full stories the hit jobs of the various parties.
"And not only do we see the Politico running this as a hit job for the Democrats, but we see a few Republicans willing to go on record as useful idiots."
Go here for the rest of Erick's post.