Remember Christie Todd Whitman?

As recently as four years ago she was held up as a symbol that the Republican Party was moving away from its conservative roots and would maintain national dominance by appealing to moderate, suburban women. Ms. Whitman herself won two terms as governor of New Jersey and was tapped to run the Environmental Protection Agency by George W. Bush. She left government in 2003, published a book called “It’s My Party Too” and created a political action committee aimed at establishing her as a moderate anchor for the GOP.

She then precipitously sank into political oblivion as her party sailed on without her. It’s not likely she’ll make more than a cameo appearance at next year’s Republican National Convention or, for that matter, at any other high-profile Republican event. She won’t, we can be confident, persuade many voters to follow her lead with whomever she endorses for president. In a few more years, no one will remember who she is or why she was once an important political figure. ~Brendan Miniter

Held up by whom?  An important political figure to whom?  Probably she was held up by other Northeasterners like Miniter shilling for the moderate wing of the party in the same old effort to push conservatives down and out to the margins.  These are the people who would have thought she was an “important political figure.”  These are the people who probably thought John Anderson was a bold and courageous leader of men.  Why might other people not take their opinions seriously? 

Nobody west of the Delaware and east of Palm Springs considered Ms. Whitman to be anything other than a rather bad joke.  You might as well claim that Susan Collins and Lincoln Chafee were held up by a lot of people as the future of the GOP.  It isn’t true.  Everyone knows it isn’t true.  Why say things like this?  Oh, right, Miniter continues to flog his theory that the GOP is being reduced to regional isolation and has been driven out of the Northeast.  The GOP did suffer badly in New England, especially in New Hampshire and Connecticut (which, a generation or two earlier, would have been unthinkable, just as Democratic weakness in the South was unheard of), and got hit relatively hard in Pennsylvania and Indiana (the latter mostly because of intense anti-GOP sentiment aimed at the governor), but it actually held up better than expected in New York and also fared relatively well in the total disaster that could have been Ohio (again, the product of backlash against the corruption of the state GOP).  They probably only lost KY-03 because Rumsfeld was not forced out until after the election, and it is possible that the concerted pro-gambling attack on Jim Leach was the decisive factor in pushing that district, which Leach had held for years and years, into the Democratic column.  If Michelle Bachmann (!) can get elected in Minnesota in 2006, the GOP is hardly facing an unavoidable future of routs in the Midwest–provided that they pay some attention to what their constituents want. 

It would be a colossal error to assume long-term political trends from the repudiation of Mr. Bush and the corrupt GOP majority that 2006 represented.  If we followed this thinking, 2004 would have proved that Ohio was going to be eternally Republican–after all, if the Democrats couldn’t win in Ohio in 2004, they were never going to win there, right?  Three years later, people are making identical arguments that Ohio is now probably lost to the GOP.  This is silly.  It would be equally mistaken to conclude that the answer to the GOP’s woes it to suck up even more to the priorities of Northeastern Republicans–the sorts of people and the sorts of policies that helped bring the GOP and conservatism to their present lowly states.  Leave it to someone in New York writing for the ultimate metropole rag to not understand this.