Cole's Issues Surrender Declaration Following Mississippi Loss

Following the victory by Democrat Travis Childers in tonight's special election, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) issued what can only be called a declaration of surrender. Here is Cole's statement, which I found simply amazing:

"We are disappointed in tonight's election results. Though the NRCC, RNC and Mississippi Republicans made a major effort to retain this seat, we came up short.

"Tonight's election highlights two significant challenges Republicans must overcome this November. First, Republicans must be prepared to campaign against Democrat challengers who are running as conservatives, even as they try to join a liberal Democrat majority. Though the Democrats' task will be more difficult in a November election, the fact is they have pulled off two special election victories with this strategy, and it should be a concern to all Republicans.

"Second, the political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short.

"I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election."

Think about this Cole statement - "Democrats are running as conservatives, and Republicans can't beat 'em." So take that club out the GOP arsenal heading into November.

Then Cole covers himself politically by saying "voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general." Which he follows by urging his candidates and incumbents "to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall," especially since Democrats will enjoy a big financial edge.

This whole statement is an admission by Cole that he does not now how House Republicans can win in November as a group, so each member better protect himself or herself. To his credit, Cole has been warning his members that they need to run as outsiders this fall, but beyond that general admonition, the Oklahoma Republican can't show them a path to victory. It's an extraordinary statement by the head of a national campaign committee, but it is not one that's going to inspire any warm feelings from his GOP colleagues.