Thursday, November 13, 2008
A Party Without a Message
The last couple of days we have been discussing the reconstruction of the Republican Party here in Iowa. Before we delve into the topic again today, I want to thank all of you who have taken this topic seriously. I really hope that the powers that be read some of your thoughts and ideas and use them to rebuild our Party. Today I want to focus on the message. First I want to discuss how on earth we became a party without one, and secondly what should our message be moving forward.
Wikipedia defines a political party as a political organization that seeks to attain and maintain power within government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. Parties often espouse an expressed ideology or vision bolstered by a written platform with specific goals.
So we have a Party, we have a platform, so why don’t we have a message? I think it’s a pretty simple answer actually. Our party cedes its message to the candidate on top of the ticket every two years. So in Iowa that means our gubernatorial candidates set the agenda half the time, and the presidential nominee sets it the other 50% of the time. There is no continuity and there is no long term vision we are working towards.
On the other hand, ask any Democrat activist what their agenda is and they will spout the same ideals as their local and national elected officials. They want nationalized health care, special rights for gay, lesbian and transgendered people, tax policy that stifle investment and job creation (higher taxes), and a reduced role for America around the globe.
The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that their message doesn’t depend on who the candidate is. It didn’t matter if Becky Greenwald or Selden Spencer runs against congressman Latham, the issues are always the same. On the Republican side since we don’t have a message it all depends on who the candidate is. John McCain ran on different issues than Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee would have. Sure for the most part we know what we are opposed to, but we don’t know what we are for, and more importantly why.
Let’s look at the biggest issue on the horizon, health care. Now every Republican I know is against socialized medicine, but many can’t state why, and most can’t articulate what the Republican solution to the problem is. Why? Because Newt has his solution, McCain had his plan, Romney had his, and Huckabee promoted prevention.
Our Party must have a common message if we ever want to win elections in the future. While some issues might take precedence due to the current political environment, there are also core principles that we should never waver from. For instance I think it is absolutely obnoxious to suggest that the Republican Party should walk away from their support of traditional marriage and the right of the unborn. Now does that mean you have to be an avid social conservative to belong to the Party? No, because there are plenty of other issues that one can be involved in through the Republican Party. Don’t think for one second that the Democrats all agree on every single issue, to expect that of Republicans is simply unfair.
What I think people are worked up about is what issues we are going to wage our campaigns on. Quite frankly I don’t know if we should be worried about that right now. Instead I think we need to take our experts in different fields and create issue work groups to create solutions to the problems facing our state and country. Face it folks, we are losing the battle of ideas yet we have leading tax experts, medical professionals, and social conservatives already in our party, let’s use them!
We can’t afford to shift our stances on specific issues every elections cycle. We need to build our party and the only way we can do that is if we stand for something. Otherwise we will continue to watch our supporters erode away because the Republican Party doesn’t stand for anything.
Posted by Krusty at Thursday, November 13, 2008