Former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl said Monday the GOP is “very much alive,” arguing its losses in the November elections had more to do with flubs by the candidates than a popular rejection of the party’s policies.
“For example, we lost two Senate seats that we should have won because our candidate said some things that were easily manipulated by the Democrats, let’s just put it that way. They weren’t the smartest comments in the world,” the Arizona Republican told Fox News in an interview designed to get his reaction to recent comments from political strategist Karl Rove’s on the party’s electoral health.
Mr. Kyl was almost certainly referring to former Rep. Todd Akin inability to unseat Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri — after he suggested a woman can willfully prevent a pregnancy from a “legitimate rape” — and GOP nominee Richard Mourdock’s loss to now-senator Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, after suggesting that pregnancies resulting from rape were something that “God intended to happen.”
“You can’t blame the party for those defeats,” said Mr. Kyl, who was succeeded by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake after deciding not to seek reelection last year.
He also said President Obama’s health care law will continue to be a flashpoint in political battles as its key provisions take effect.
Americans, he said, will side with the GOP in calling for the law’s repeal as they feel the brunt of its mandates on individuals and employers.
“I think they’ll become more and more dissatisfied with it, and that will be a good issue for Republicans,” he said.