Most of the current leaders of the Republican Party are creatures of Washington who are completely out of touch with the values of the state parties and their grassroots foot soldiers. We dont have problem-solvers. We have problem creators. While nothing can be done about advancing limited government and fiscal discipline while in the minority, our leaders have decided that no compromise is too great to make in the game of winning elections. This is a mistake. This mindset leads to a Republican Party perfectly willing to stand by while corruptocrats like Ted Stevens run for re-election just because they dont want to lose that seat to a Democrat. This mindset leads to nominees like John McCain. We must draw the line of compromise somewhere.
We cannot and must not make excuses or compromises when it comes to corruption. I would rather lose a million seats in Congress than for us to continue to lose credibility as a Party. Social conservatives arent killing the Party. Corrupt members of Congress are killing this Party. Fiscally irresponsible members of Congress and requesters of massive amounts of pork are killing this Party. In order to fix the problem, we have to correctly diagnose it. This is something that the leaders of our Party have failed to do. That’s why we have been losing elections.
There is a school of thought in the Republican Party today that our party needs to move further to the left in order to attract moderate and independent voters. Hasn’t this past election proved the ineffectiveness of a strategy like this? Look at our nominee, John McCain, whose nomination was propelled by the support of Democrats who voted in all those open primaries and by the media (his former base) . The same argument made for McCain was also made for Rudy Giuliani namely, that Republicans could get those independents and moderates by nominating someone more like them than the scary social conservatives we tend to nominate. Wow. What an awesome strategy that was. If we continue to water down the conservative message to get these elusive voters, we will keep losing. Our party leadership doesn’t seem to understand this. We hoped that they would get a clue after 2006. No such luck. They are continuing to follow the same failed strategy that gets us the same results every election.
What makes the Republican Party different from the Democrat Party is its social conservative core. We are the pro-life party. Many of us oppose gay marriage and proudly cling to our guns and religion. If independents and moderates are uncomfortable with where we stand on these and other social issues, that’s ok with me. Our outreach to these voters should be providing common sense (and free-market based) solutions on health care, taxes, education, and retirement. The Democrats have co-opted these issues, and have even made themselves credible (in comparison to the Bush Republicans) on taxes. These are areas where we need to provide an alternative to more government control and excessive bureaucracy, because the Democrats do not have the right answers — but theirs are the only ideas on the table.
It would be a mistake to cut off the social conservative wing of the Republican Party, because thats where a huge chunk of our local volunteers and contributors come from. That said, I think we should put the social conservative agenda on the back burner, because Americans have bigger concerns than a candidate’s view on abortion, guns, or gay marriage.
Moving the party left on social issues or suggesting more government agencies and bureaucracy to save our fellow Americans from their stupidity or recklessness will not save the Republican party. We should remain the Party which believes (at least we used to believe) in personal responsibility and strong moral values. Watering down our core doesn’t gain us anything and we will continue to lose with a strategy like that.