Flush with last week’s election victory, the Republicans have wasted no time shooting themselves in the foot in public. They may have won the mid-term battle, but if they aren’t careful, they will lose the war.

The old guard seems especially susceptible to political hoof-in-mouth disease. Not even waiting for the election, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Democrats denounced it as pre-election proof that the Republicans are more focused on politics than policy.

Post-election, the Republicans have been so inept at controlling the messaging that they are, for the most part, allowing the Democrats and the lamestream media to define their agenda. John Boehner continues to beat the “we will move to repeal ObamaCare” drum. That’s great red meat for the base, but it isn’t the substance the public is clamoring for, and it is less likely than Joy Behar cleaning up her language.

The “new guys” in leadership, Eric Kantor and Paul Ryan, have done a better job of getting out the message and constantly alluding to instituting “common sense reforms.” The longer the Democrat machine, including the press, of course, keeps reiterating the nonsense that the Republicans offered no ideas, the more Americans will believe it.

The facts are that by September 2009 the Republicans had proffered no fewer than 35 bills and more than 400 amendments, none of which even made it out of committee – on straight party line votes. In addition to the Common Sense Health Care Reform and Affordability Act offered in 2009, there is last month’s “Pledge to America.” Both offer the same reforms the Democrats keep saying Americans really like in their plan.

The Republicans won the House, but they must be careful and consistent in their messaging on this issue. If not, they risk giving new life to the words of the Greek ruler Pyrrhus, who warned, “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.”

Check out more blog entries from David Saltzman.