The GOP Should Offer a Real Alternative
by LEO MORRIS
After losing two presidential elections in a row by margins that weren’t exactly close, Republicans are feeling battered and unloved. So apparently great is the disdain of Americans for the GOP that they tell pollsters they prefer the Republican approach to budget policies – until they learn the ideas are Republican ones.
So the GOP is trying to regroup — or “re-brand” itself into something that might win a national election again. But if they do too much repair work while in a state of desperate panic, Republicans are not likely to get it right.
Yes, but for goodness’ sake, pick one or two to start talking about.We can suggest several things for the party not to do:
- Do not continue to embrace the mainstream establishment and shun the tea party conservative “extremists.” You put up two very establishment candidates in 2008 and 2012 and got your clock cleaned. What does that tell you? Ronald Reagan preached conservatism and won. George H.W. Bush sounded conservative and won a first term, then showed himself to not really be that and lost his second race.
- Do not try to become “more inclusive” by telling young people, gays, women, Hispanics and other minorities what they want to hear. If voters have a choice of Democrat or Democrat Light, why would they choose you?
- Do not search too hard for “acceptable to the masses” messages on hot-button issues such as gay marriage, immigration and gun control.
Stick to your principles.The more the party concentrates on how to get its message out rather than what the message is, the better off it will be, and the better served Americans will be. Conservatism as an animating principle might be in disfavor now, but the forces that will help bring it back – such as a crushing debt and unsustainable entitlements – are strongly in play.
The Democratic Party is fully committed to big government, high taxes and spending, a “lead from behind” foreign policy and an “anything goes” approach to changing social mores. If Americans are to have a true choice, they need someone to preach the opposite, and right now the GOP is the only one capable of doing it. The more the party changes, the less choice we will have.
Leo Morris is editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. Distributed with permission through the Indiana Policy Review Foundation.
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