Midterm Madness

GOP's Focus on 2010, Not 2012

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference, going on this weekend in New Orleans, has a different tone than four years ago. In 2006, the Republicans expected (and received) a drubbing in the congressional election, and distracted themselves with thoughts of who might get the presidential nomination in 2008. This year, all energy is focused on the less sexy but potentially more consequential midterms. Though several potential 2012 contenders—including Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry—made an appearance, the talk among attendees was how to take back one or both houses of Congress this year. The goal is to begin reversing President Obama’s policies as quickly as possible. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who has his own presidential ambitions, urged attention on the most immediate fight. “The main thing is winning in 2010… Then we'll worry about 2012," Barbour said.