Many in the GOP feel like we’ve taken a big blow to the chest after Election Day. However, it’s important to understand why this happened, and how we can pave the road to prosperity in future elections.
First and foremost; we need to run on strong principles, and not cower down every time the establishment media spins our comments, and tries to pick a fight with us. We must fight back. Mitt Romney completely embarrassed himself in the second political debate. He called out Obama for his mismanagement of the Benghazi tragedy, and made a true statement claiming that President Obama didn’t denounce the attackers as terrorists. The moderator, Candy Crowley, stood up for Obama, and said that Obama actually denounced them as terrorists the following day. Romney just stood stood there and said nothing.
Candy Crowley actually admitted that she was wrong the following day. Obama, actually didn’t denounce the Benghazi attackers as terrorists. Obama gave a speech the day after the attacks, in the Rose Garden about the incidents, then talked about 9/11, and denounced the attackers of 9/11 as being terrorists. At that time Obama was still trying to sell the lie that the attacks were based off of a YouTube video.
Another example of this that I’d like to point out goes back a little over a year ago during the primary season. Texas governor Rick Perry was leading in the polls, and was fired up and at his peak. He made comments about Ben Bernanke, and claimed that if Bernanke was printing money in Austin, like he was doing in Washington, he’d be charged with treason. The media immediately went on the attack, and Perry cowered down. He later, during a debate, made the claim that Social Security was a Ponzi scheme, (which it is). The media attacked him, as well as many of his opponents, and he cowered down. After that Perry was trying too hard not to say anything offensive, and his campaign came crashing down.
If we’re going to win elections, we have to be honest, and we must not be afraid to take the gloves off.
The Republican Party is also running into problems dealing with the issue of major demographic changes in our Country. We constantly isolate the Latino vote by taking such hardcore stances on immigration. Yes, the rule of law is the rule of law, but sometimes our laws are impractical. Our laws are written under the assumption that we protect our borders, and have a comprehensive immigration policy; neither is true. Our government actually gives money and provides other incentives to illegal immigrants as the result of half-formed policies which were started with good intentions but were never coupled with appropriate controls which you would have in a comprehensive immigration system. Yes, we need a strong and secure border, but we need to end all welfare and safety nets for the illegal population. That alone would do wonders for keeping illegals out of our county.
Next, we need to make work visas more accessible to foreigners who come here looking for a chance to take care of themselves, and their families – not just for highly skilled workers, but also for laborers in low skill jobs where there is high demand. We also need to provide a reasonable path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are here and have shown a commitment to the nation by working and providing for their families. Get them out of the underground and on the books and make sure that all applicable taxes are being paid. That’s a position that I feel many Latino voters would be supportive of. We just drive them away when we make unrealistic and bombastic statements that we are going to launch mass deportation. It will never happen and just makes us look bigoted and foolish and many in the GOP and in the general population find this sort of posturing offensive and unacceptable in a nation which has been built on immigration.
Abortion and related issues fall into a troublesome area which tends to be given a disproportionate amount of attention and be used as a weapon against the GOP. Nothing looks worse for the party then the comments Todd Akin made regarding abortion. Many Republicans, including Mitt Romney, denounced Akin’s comments, but with the spin in the media and similar comments from Richard Mourdock and John Koster reinforcing the impression Akin created, there is no denying it had a pervasive and lasting influence on the campaign. It made Republicans look callous and inhumane. I understand and appreciate pro-life positions, as well as pro-choice positions, but those positions should be the choice of the candidate and not a matter of party policy. If there wasn’t such an ingrained, anti-abortion platform backing these candidates up, it would make Akin’s comments far less destructive and less likely to produce a negative reaction that spills over onto other candidates.
Another issue that the Republicans need to keep in mind is gay rights. The Republican Party’s position on gay rights isolates a lot of individuals who respect the ideas of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. In Massachusetts, the Republican Party nominated Richard Tisei, an openly gay former State Senator, to run against incumbent, John Tierney. Tisei received very little support from the party, and lost the election by a very slim margin. This was a major strategic error in a state where it’s very hard to get any Republicans elected. Electing the first openly gay Republican congressman is a small price to pay for another seat in the House. If we were more open and fair towards homosexuals, and homosexual candidates; we would be able to bridge a gap that has long hurt our image as a party. I understand the importance of religious freedom, but it would probably be better for everyone to just get government out of the marriage business in the first place. Allow governments to grant civil unions to all, and allow churches and the people to call them whatever they wish.
Another problem is the bad habit among Republicans of falling back on straw man arguments. When you manufacture bogus claims about a candidate and they are disproven you look like a liar or a fool or both. One particularly bad example of this was the claim which circulated a few weeks ago that Obama had passed over 900 executive orders, which is untrue. Obama actually signed fewer executive orders in his first-term then Bush did in his first-term. The claim even lists a bunch of executive orders that sound really bad, but which easy to find public sources can confirm were not even passed under his administration. Similarly weak and likely to backfire are the many ad hominem attacks which appealed particularly to members of the Tea Party, the classic example being all the increasingly ridiculous claims about Obama’s birth certificate, which did more to marginalize Republicans than they did to harm Obama. In this same category are all the claims about Obama being a socialist, Muslim, foreigner, former CIA Agent named Barry Soetoro, etc. These cheap shots actually made many feel sympathetic with the President and ultimately, they hurt our cause. We would have won this last election had we stuck to the issues, instead of spewing radical propaganda that was unprovable or easily disproven.
A lot of Republicans won’t like this, but all the emphasis in the campaign on Obamacare was also a mistake, much though it ought to be hated and rejected. The Affordable-Care Act is a terrible issue to rely on because it is essentially Bob Dole’s plan from the 1990′s filtered through Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health plan. That doesn’t mean that it’s not bad policy, and that it’s not essential for us to repeal this legislation, but it makes any Republican argument against it weaker than it could be, because we came up with the bad idea in the first place.
If we get away from our social extremism, and stand firm on Constitutional principles; we will fix what has taken this great nation in the wrong direction. If we do this, I believe that we can save the GOP, reclaim the Constitution, and restore our republic. The problems facing us as Republicans, and as Americans are obvious. It’s time for the Republican Party to make a choice and find better strategies for the future, and I hope they choose wisely.