Further to the Future of the GOP
And another friend last week shared some of his own thoughts on the subject.
[Reprinted with permission.]
For our national party and the RIGOP, without question November 5, 2008 was the first day of the rest of our lives. What lies ahead is not a task for the timid, the inexperienced, or the unbalanced. As surely as our party will rise again, it will only recuperate from 2008 if it changes its flawed, compromised approach to growing its membership and winning elections.
Barack Obama’s successful campaign for the Presidency is a long overdue checkpoint for a Republican Party that has lost its vision and stumbles blindly from one election cycle to the next, reacting cynically to every new idea and forgetting its own best old principles. Many in the Party may be uncomfortable with this – but if we remain the Party that cannot rally to the notion of more women, African Americans, and Latinos taking leadership roles in our pluralistic society, we will die. No matter who you are, what you look like or what language you speak at home, the Republican Party does have a message for you and you can be welcome – and grow personally and as a leader in public affairs – if you join us. Here are a couple of ideas with suitably wide appeal:
First, the successful Republican Party of the future will never abandon fiscal conservatism. Our ability to win and hold seats in Congress was doomed when an immediate past national Chair of our Party declared that we don’t talk about fiscal responsibility any more – setting off the most corrupt and noxious wave of earmarking nonsense in recent memory under our brand. If we are true to ourselves, we will work toward the day when every time a pollster asks which party is best able to manage the economy, the word “manage” creates a knee jerk reaction, “Republican.”
America must live up to the challenge of educating its children to compete in a global economy. For too long, the dumbing down of content, the evisceration of civics education championed by the politically correct crowd, and the misallocation of resources to classroom educators who oppose all change have dominated the scene, especially in little Rhode Island. A holy war is not called for. What is needed is a tenacious, well informed effort to focus the public’s attention on the choices we face in education, removing the jargon and other barriers to policy debates in education that the inside crowd has built up so well.
Finally, all the pablum about Democrat tidal waves, entrenched incumbents, the powers of incumbency to write juicy grants, etc. needs to stop. What would Rhode Island look like if Republicans had more control over the course of events? What concrete goals can we set to get us there? We need to stop making excuses first and foremost. It’s time to grow up.