Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Free the GOP" OpEd makes it's way into the WaPo...

Christine Todd Whitman just summed up what I've been saying for quite some time, now.
In a nutshell, she advocates for a more central GOP, as well as pulling the control of the GOP away from singular issue "social fundamentalists."

Interestingly, she points out that the prediction of the failure exactly four years ago was actually realized THIS year. She notes those who led the attacks on the book "It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America".

She points out that despite the fact that McCain won more votes from self-identified evangelicals/born-again voters than George Bush did in 2004, he lost the independent/middle ground.

Anyone who knows me has heard me say it before. There are three MAJOR areas of voters reflected in America (and this is a huge generalization...there are of course numerous microcasms.)
There is the far left...and it carries anywhere from 30% to 35% of the registered voters. This is completely conditional on candidate and issues of any given year.
Likewise, there is a 30%-34% representation in likely voters of the far-right persuasion. And like their counterpart, this is also conditional on candidate and issues in any given year.

The magical portion of the electorate in ANY given Presidential contest since 1980 (that's as far as I can personally attest to the phenomenum, but others may feel free to go further --with proof, of course) is the 32% to 36% of the middle. They identify themselves as independents. And the suburbs are awash in them. It's the fastest breeding segment of our society.

They decide elections. Period. However they break, is how things shake out. Bill Clinton was even smart enough to parody a centristic position in his terms. (remember that Republican-inspired "welfare reform" Bill??)

And again in 2000 and in 2004, a larger portion of that center believed that their security was better guarded in George Bush's hands than in Al Gore's OR John Kerry's hands.

Our task from this point ?? Adapt and overcome. Like the Marines.
Silence the things that are singled out as the most obnoxious rhetoric from Republicans, and actually court the ethnic groups with dangling carrots (we already own the carrots... fiscal constraint. Equal opportunities, heavily underscored with personal responsibility. Free enterprise that meets human needs and economic justice, yet allows BAD businesses to fall by the wayside. )

Yessir. I think the gal is onto something here. The only unanswered question that remains is how long we will walk in the desert before we accept the way back home.


G.Stone said...

You follow the Christine Todd Whitman model and you will 30 years as democrat lite.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

If we don't, G... we sit outside of every office for the next thirty. How , exactly is it, that we influence and effect power when we can't even gain office??

Better study the voters, Stone. Study the voters. The path to elected office is lined with them.
If you don't impress them, you can't win offices. And no matter how hard you canvass with a message they don't care about, they will choose someone who is talking about the things that we care about.

The good news? If we can package the message that addresses their everyday concerns, and get our noses out of their personal lives, and also out of their wallets (republicans of late cannot seem to stop themselves from imitating democrats in that regard), then we stand an even chance of regaining seats and keeping fiscal order.

If social fundamantalists keep control of the Party, then I'm afraid that we'll end up as a bunch of old white guys who can only remember the last time one of our own was in an elected office when pressed.

G.Stone said...

There is some common ground here.
Did you hear Michael Steele this AM on WMAL ?
Listen to Steel, Newt and believe it or not Huckabee and we will win.
There are a slew of guys who have it right if we would just pay attention to them. Specifically, Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint in the Senate and guys like Mike Pence in the House.
However, throwing other conservatives under the bus because a north eastern liberal like Christine Todd Whitman pens an op-ed is not a long term plan.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Coburn, Jim DeMint and Mike Pence are all quite worthy of mention, but the driving message that can pierce the American Voter is Fiscal Conservation. Accountability.
Promoting the social fundamentalists to the head of the Party only raises the bar, and sadly --- we've seen firsthand what democrats do when we fall short of the very bar we set for ourselves...Basically, we're providing their cannon fodder.
Look, if you read the piece, it clearly states that MORE self-identified evangelicals/Christians voted for McCain THAN did in 2004 for Bush. My point is that it still wasn't enough.

If they figure out that aquiring 3/4 of their agenda is better than nothing, we'd have moved forward by now. Do you know why Roe vs. Wade is still in place? BECAUSE the fundamentalists WANT ALL OF THEIR DEMANDS MET AT ONCE. They cannot figure out that if you chisel away at the problem in smaller increments, they don't usually catch you taking it out of the museum.

Anonymous said...

If its about winning so be it, but if its about integrity to the issues than the GOP should remain determine to deliver its message, something it failed to do by nominating an left of right in McCain and in the end he lost.

I would rather lose remaining true to core values and beliefs than win being something we are not.

Let the chips fall where they may. The liberals in Washington will have the opportunity to stumble in leadership and in eight years (maybe four) people will be seeking "change" again once they realize that the branded, packaged ideals of "feeling good about something" rarely last. Eventually, they will drive the center back over if they don't drive us all over a cliff first.

G.Stone said...

So what election are you referring to where an a religious right candidate lost you the election ?
you just had your dream candidate in the form of McCain. he lost!
He was as moderate as you get have asked for. If he was anymore of a centrist he would have been in Uncle Teds lap.
you have to stop listening to those who have a vested interest in Republicans losing.

You need all of these folks. ALL of them. if you want to market your core beliefs in such a way that it appeals to a broad audience I am in agreement.

When Republicans win do you ever hear the other side telling themselves they have to reach out to Conservatives Voters ? Value Voters ? A coalition of across the board conservatives ? No ! they tell us that the country had a brain fart, got stupid and elected a Republican. However, when we lose it is time to throw a member of the coalition under the bus because moderates, squishy Republicans and leftists tell us to do so. Why because they want our party to look like theirs.

Some members of our coalition are going to have to learn to suck it up and move forward.

Allowing the Washington Post to formulate our response to an electoral lose is a losing proposition.

You an I are on the same page as far as the message. We differ in that I realize we are going to need all components of the old Reagan coalition to win in the future.
We have the ideas and core beliefs that resonate with a majority of voters, no matter who they are and what they call themselves. We simple need to market that message for 2009 and beyond.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Her name is Palin, G. And I like the woman, and I did not see her as "the religious Right"... But many voters DID.
I have ALWAYS admired her tenacity on reform, and that how I see her, but the left went nuts, and the media pushed much of the perception of her beliefs this time out.

I've never advocated removing the fundamentalist. Ever.

But keeping them quite and not allowing them front and center driving positions is probably not a bad idea, either.

And it's not even that I do not believe in core, morals, or the social values. It's the party members that grab a mike and go ballistic and end up coming off to the American People like holier-than-thou hypocrites everytime one of the Party ends up toe-tapping in an airport bathroom stall.
Like I typed in a prior post: "Promoting the social fundamentalists to the head of the Party only raises the bar, and sadly --- we've seen firsthand what democrats do when we fall short of the very bar we set for ourselves...Basically, we're providing their cannon fodder."

Have you honestly ever wondered why the Republican scandals involving sex or improper actions get more press? It's because many in the Party have spat that holier-than-thou crap in the face of the public, and...quite frankly, the public then has a higher expectation from Republicans, since they said they were above these kind of things.

And KNOW that I'm never misled on anything. Nobody can lead me, brother. If we happen to be going the same way, we can travel together...but I follow no one.

Eva said...

I totally agree with Michael Steel. Explain what our party stands for. Get the word out to the voters. We do not have to be democrat light to win. In fact, we rarely win with that.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

"Explain what our party stands for. Get the word out to the voters."
And that right there is where we fail with the social fundamentalists driving that "explanation".
When they're done legislating single issue morality issues down everyone's throats... it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get the voters to vote for more of the same.
Now, on the other hand, we stick to our fiscally conservative roots, our strong military roots and our beliefs as defined in the Republican Creed, and let the pro-life and marraige take care of themselves thru not-for-profit and PAC avenues, then we get back to doing the People's business, instead of passing laws regarding free will and personal choice.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

The CRA just sent out a memo...
MOST of it is the correct path....
They call for
-A strong national defense
-The right to bear arms
-Eradicating the terrorist threat
-Securing our borders
-Energy independence
-Lowering taxes
-Small government.

On these, we concur.

Tom the Redhunter said...

Hi all

First, I trust everyone here had a nice Thanksgiving.

For what it's worth here's my .02

An exit poll survey by the American Issues Project found that:

- 30.5 percent said the party has been incompetent and is not getting the job done
- 28.1 percent said it has forgotten its principles and lost its way
- 23.7 percent said they generally agree with its issues and positions
- Only 9.6 percent said the party is too conservative

Look at that last one again.

Further, in a column that appeared a few weeks ago in The Washington Times Tony Blankley (I can't find the link just now) cited exit polls that

"...disclosed that the public self-identified itself as 44 percent moderate, 34 percent conservative, 22 percent liberal, which was statistically identical (45-34-21) to the numbers after Bush's 2004 victory. Moreover, the fact that 20 percent of self-identified conservatives voted for Mr. Obama - or 6.8 percent of the electorate - shows that if Mr. McCain had held all the self-identified conservatives, he would have won the popular vote."

The long and the short of it is that the GOP did not lose because we are too conservative or hard-line on social conservative issues.

We lost because we were not true to our word; we lacked lacked "authenticity"

In 2000 we told everyone that we were the party of honest and small government, and proceeded to violate that pledge. GWB and the Republicans in Congress have spent like drunken sailors on all manner of domestic programs like No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act.

Add to that scandals like that of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Larry Craig, and Ted Stevens, and it's no wonder we were rejected.

The road to victory, therefore, is to practice what we preach, especially on economic matters. I agree that we should not lead with social conservatism, but throwing them overboard is a recipe for disaster. Christie Todd Whitman is not a force in the GOP for a reason; we are a socially conservative party.

If we toss the social "fundamentalists" (a pejorative used to demean those you don't like) we lose. Don't give me the "who else are they going to vote for" because they'll stay at home.

My conclusion is that we can regain the moderates through economic conservatism while keeping the social conservatives.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Tom, We're not at odds on alot of this. I completely agree with your illustration of our recent screwups in front of voters, and I do think that those foulups MORE THAN LIKELY cost us this election.
I'm not one to throw any denomination of Republican under the bus, but you said: "I agree that we should not lead with social conservatism, but throwing them overboard is a recipe for disaster."
I could not agree more. I want all elements of the Party to participate in the grassroots and be active in the Party's business, but pushing morality while not exactly "living" it is over the top.
Then you put forth: "Don't give me the "who else are they going to vote for" because they'll stay at home."
This is troubling on a number of fronts. If the two candidates are one democrat that you KNOW will cause irreversible damage, and the other is a moderate that represents at least some of your values....and you stay home, causing the democrat win and DEFINITE DAMAGE to the Country occurs, how are you not responsible, again??