I was talking to a friend of mine not too long ago about the state of America and American politics, and what needed to be done differently. He actually asked me to write this blog. He may discover he doesn't much like what I have to say. However, I've discovered that somewhere along the way most people don't like what I have to say. I get over it.
Do the Republicans need to be "re-branded"? Well, I think there is no doubt, after the losses in both 2006 and 2008 that they need to do something. I don't think it's re-branding though. I think it's a simple return to the policies that once got them elected. Let's face it, they must have "something" worth selling. A Republican has occupied the White House 20 out of the last 30 years. My friend says we need to go back to the days of Reagan, and I won't disagree with that. But what does that mean, really? I see a whole lot of Republican/Conservatives who have a very different meaning to what the "Reagan Years" were.
***Side Note*** Okay, before I go any further, I'm going to mention that I am not a card-carrying member of the Republican Party. I haven't been for years. Because of that, maybe I am the wrong person to discuss what the Republican Party needs to do. I'll give it a shot anyway.
I've watched politics and essentially the Republican Party go down the drain for a long time. I was part of the "Contract With American" generation. As a matter of fact, the year the Republicans took back both the House and the Senate for the first time in a long time, it was only the second year I was legally old enough to vote in an election. I liked the product the Republicans were selling, and I voted for them.
Over the years, as the Republicans became entrenched in Washington, they cared less about those 10 things they promised to do for "we the people". Those 10 things were forgotten. Essentially (and a lot of people aren't going to like this) Republicans became "Democrat-Lite". No, that's not fair. There are some GOOD Democrats out there. Republicans became "Liberal-Lite".
George W. Bush got elected to the Presidency on a platform of "Compassionate Conservatism" whatever that means. After a mere 7 months in office, 9/11 happened. For the first time since Pearl Harbor, our country had been attacked on it's own soil. Compassionate Conservatism was forgotten in the wake of a damaged economy and the sudden realization that we were not as safe as we thought we were. First we went to Afghanistan, then Iraq, and as the months passed and the body county rose, people in America started to become unhappy with those wars. On top of that, a little nut-job, low-life named Osama Bin Laden was (and still is) running around loose. The mastermind hadn't been caught, and as young men and women shed their blood, more people became frustrated with what was happening militarily. Meanwhile, the Republicans had learned some very interesting lessons from their "liberal" counterparts, and a few they hadn't learned. They cut taxes, but they spent money as fast and sometimes faster than those Liberals. There were several "scandals" that plagued both the Congress and the Administration. Too many people looked at the Republicans and they had enough. In 2006 they lost both the House and the Senate, in 2008 the Presidency, and the cries came that "Conservatism was dead".
Um, no. Republicanism is dead. The truth is Conservatives and Moderates looked at the Republican Party and they weren't buying it anymore. Don't believe me? In the same year that the R's got ousted from the House/Senate, California voters rejected tax hikes, 6 states (including more than one liberal state) banned gay marriage, and Michigan voted a huge resounding no on Affirmative Action and Racial Preferences. All very conservative based policies.
Now, as far as I know, the Republican Party Platform hasn't changed since Ronald Reagan. At least not that dramatically. The Party itself still endorses all those things... Lower Taxes, Less Spending, Less Government Interference, Personal Responsibility, A Strong National Defense, etc... Actions speak louder than words. The Republicans elected didn't actually FOLLOW those platform principles.
The Republican Party doesn't need a new brand or a "re-brand". They simple need to remember what exactly they are supposed to stand for.
The responsibility doesn't just lie with Republicans though. It lies with all the idiots who vote for them, simply because they have an "R" next to their name. If you question that, I have two words for you: Arlen Specter.
A few short weeks ago, Mass. voters elected Scott Brown to the Senate. Scott Brown didn't ride around the state in a fancy bus. He bought a pickup truck and put 250,000 miles on it going out to meet regular voters. He promised them he'd stop out of control spending in congress. He promised that he would represent the people who voted to put him there. He would be "the people's senator". He would treat terrorists like terrorists. He would stand on the principle of strong family and personal responsibility. In essence Scott Brown ran on the Republican Platform, and he won in a state that doesn't vote for Republicans. Because the truth is, the average American voter, stands in the same place.
There are a lot of social issues that we may differ on, but the party that holds to Fiscal Conservatism and smaller government is in touch with a lot more average Americans. All the Republican Party needs to do, is get back to being that party.