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The future of the GOP: building a lasting majority


Sarah Palin is not the answer for the GOP (AP Photo/Chrs Miller)

That the Republican Party is at a crossroads is neither breaking news nor penetrating analysis.  After two disappointing election cycles where they lost control of both houses of Congress and the White House, the need for fresh competent leadership has never been more urgent.  With record deficits as far as the eye can see and faltering poll numbers, however, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have left the door wide open for the GOP to make gains in 2010.  The only question that remains is whether they will make the changes necessary to compete in the long run.

The Republican Party was founded on the idea of freedom: freedom from government intrusion, personal responsibility, and the idea that government closest to the people governs best.  These first principles are not inconsistent with with the general political climate in America today.  The new generation of Americans is left of center on social issues and right of center on economic and fiscal issues.  The GOP has simply lost its way and is suffering from a vacuum of leadership.  The abysmal record of Republicans during the Bush administration is, in part, responsible for this country's current economic predicament.  Additionally, the GOP's overreaction to the threat of terrorism with the Patriot Act and its uncomfortable alliance with the religious right has destroyed its credibility on personal responsibility and civil liberties.

The Party is, in many ways, at odds with itself.  They tried to have it both ways.  Eventually, claiming to be the party of limited government rings hollow when your administration records huge deficits year after year.  And Congressional Republicans can't selectively cry federal overreaching (on health care, education, and the stimulus) while demanding that Congress legislatively protect marriage.  Given the recent moral and ethical challenges that Senators David Vitter and John Ensign as well as Governor Mark Sanford have experienced, the most effective way to be strong on values is to lead by example.  Encourage volunteerism and civic activism.  Using the clenced fist of government to compel the survival of the "traditional" family is not effecitve and further undercuts the GOP's credibility.

The lack of transparency and reckless spending contained in every major piece of Democratic legislation so far this session has offered the Republicans an opportunity.  Republicans should take a page out of Obama's book and be agents of positive change.  Find strong, charismatic leaders who can articulate a message of limited government, fiscal restraint, and personal responsibility -- and who will know how to walk the walk.  The public might forgive the fiscal disasters of the Bush Administration if Republicans can find a way to moderate Obama.  Building a lasting majority is not just about bringing moderates into the fold.  It's about fighting for the principles around which the Republican Party was created.  It's about being the party that will actually stand up for civil rights rather than pandering.  It's about the government only getting involved in people's lives when its involvement is beneficial to everyone and there are no other options.  If Republicans are unwilling to untether their legislative agenda from the religious right and return to their libertarian origins on civil liberties and social issues, they will find themselves out of power for many years to come.


  • psychobauble 5 years ago

    Hey this is really good, really smart and well said!

  • Sleeping Dog 5 years ago

    I think you hit the nail on the head in the third paragraph. The quesiton is, how can the American people trust that they will uphold true concervative values when for 8 years they violated that trust. Americans expect Democrates to push for more big government, so at least they don't feel betrayed by it. Republicans, on the other hand, need to SHOW that they can be trusted again by consistently passing meaningful legislation that demonstrates they abide by the values of personal freedom and small government. Unfortunatley I think many of the are more interested in using so called "concervative values" as a means to gain power than actually promoting those values.

  • Steven G. 5 years ago

    I feel Your synopsis was on the on point. We do have a need for great leadership in the GOP
    that will be able to articulate a message of limited government, fiscal restraint, and personal responsibility, and having an innate, capacity to walk the walk.

  • crazycarguy 5 years ago

    very well said Drew! Why dont you run for congress!

  • oscar M 5 years ago

    Mr obama was an unknown just a few years ago,the Republicans need to find their new leader.