Republicans face two big dilemmas regarding the 2014 and 2016 elections, and how they resolve each of them will likely shape the results in both contests.
The first dilemma concerns how to approach the Obamacare crisis. Should the Republicans in the House and Senate simply sit back and watch the Democrats commit hara-kari?
The second dilemma is centered on whether to go with one of the emerging GOP legislative stars like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, or one of the many successful GOP governors like Mike Pence of Indiana or Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Politics or the national interest?
The Obamacare issue is critical for the GOP because it will almost certainly shape the 2014 congressional election. Simply repeating "we told you so" over and over probably isn't a viable strategy.
But neither is accommodation to the Democrats' "mend it, don't end it" Obamacare meme, either. So, how does the opposition party responsibly offer ways to minimize the economic and social agony inflicted by Obamacare without neutering it as an election issue?
The reality is that Obamacare is likely to be such a comprehensive disaster in American daily life that root-and-branch repeal is the only way to avoid it. The GOP can't help the Democrats save themselves from themselves.
Which way in 2016?
This one may be easier to resolve, at least if the GOP's movers and shakers want to avoid creating their own version of Barack Obama, the less-than-one-term-in-the-Senate president.
What do Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee have in common? Each will have served one term or less come 2016. None of them have significant executive branch or private sector business experience.
By contrast, Indiana's Pence has been a successful governor and was a widely respected conservative House leader during his legislative career in Washington.
Wisconsin's Scott Walker not only challenged and beat his state's powerful unions, he then turned back a massively-funded recall challenge and has since governed effectively.
New Jersey's Chris Christie also challenged his state's entrenched public employee unions, and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal is showing the way on education reform, aided by Attorney General Eric Holder's utter inability to resist poking conservatives in the eye.
See the pattern?
Combine a proven track record of successful governance based on conservative principles, with a strong appeal to the party faithful, Tea Partiers and independents, and the GOP should be ready to go in 2016.
Can you say Christie-Cruz? Or Pence-Paul? How about Walker-Rubio? Or maybe Jindal-Lee? And don't forget Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Anybody for Martinez-Coburn?
Conclusion: The list of possible combinations of successful GOP governors with Republican legislative powers is formidable in length and rich with possibilities.
On today's Washington Examiner
Gene Healy: It's not the Stasi, but the NSA is bad enough.
Susan Ferrechio: Many consumers won't be able to keep their doctors under Obamacare.
In other news
The Washington Post: Romney would beat Obama if the 2012 election were held today.
The New York Times: Another Obama court nominee blocked by the Senate GOP.
CBS News: JP Morgan agrees to $13 billion settlement.
USA Today: Two blasts hit Iranian embassy in Beirut.
Los Angeles Times: George Zimmerman charged with pointing shotgun at female friend.
Chicago Tribune: Eight die in historic autumn storms across the Midwest.
Talking Points Memo: The good and bad of the White House plan to save Obamacare.
American Prospect: 20-week abortion bans coming soon to a city near you.
Mother Jones: A decade of monster hurricanes.
Washington Free Beacon: Nearly half of federal employees say political favoritism, coercion tolerated.
American Spectator: The Obamacare fix is in.
Human Events: Tax hikes remain toxic.