by Bethany Blankley
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Reince Priebus and other Republicans should step aside and let a leader emerge who understands that the base of the Republican Party (GOP) and the majority of Americans are conservative. His approach to spend $10 million on a marketing campaign to reach women, minorities, and gays is foolhardy.
First, he wrongly assumes that the GOP excludes women and minorities. It doesn’t. The problem with the Republican Party is leadership and message—not race or gender. The ideals that the GOP has always embraced-free market principles and constitutional government-are not exclusive to white men. Free enterprise benefits everyone.
Most Americans do not realize that having an income of $34k puts that earner in the global one percent. This includes immigrants, minorities, and women who live and work in America, where their property is protected, markets are regulated and respected, and government is representative and freer than other countries. For example, Mexicans don’t come to America because quality of living is better in Mexico.
They come because of the numerous opportunities capitalism affords them. Republican leaders should consistently point out that President Obama’s policies are hurting women and minorities. Under his leadership, government dependency has increased black unemployment to 14.3 percent and the Latino poverty rate to 28 percent.
Second, more Americans identify with being conservative, than as moderate or liberal, and 69 percent of these conservatives identify with being a Republican. Furthermore, there are more conservatives than moderates by a 3 to 1 margin within the Republican Party.
Republican leaders cannot ignore the fact that while there is a broad mix of conservatives, moderates, and liberals amidst American political culture, conservatives continue to remain the largest group. Being a conservative is not a bad word. The socio-political philosophy to preserve traditional social institutions is just misunderstood because there is more than one kind of conservative in America.
Libertarian conservatives seek to advance laissez-faire policies, eschew any kind of economic intervention like national bank and business regulations, and oppose environmental regulations and welfare subsidies.
Fiscal conservatives are mostly concerned with government spending and debt. Cultural conservatives want to preserve America’s heritage, strongly believe in traditional values, and often have a sense of nationalism.
Social conservatives desire to maintain traditional values as well, but hold fast to the idea that government must enforce these traditional values/behaviors through civil law or regulation.
Religious conservatives apply the teachings of their faith to civil society, attempting to influence laws.
Unfortunately, the 2012 Republican primaries revealed that there was no one candidate that conservatives could support. In fact, the lead in a USA Today/Gallup GOP national poll changed nine times between May 2011 and February 2012. It wasn’t until August 2012 that Romney emerged as the party’s candidate. Not only did he lose the election by five percentage points, but Republicans lost seats in the Senate.
Republicans lost because they failed to appeal to their base. They did not focus on electing conservative candidates, did not have a consistent conservative message, and did not have leaders in the Republican Party who were willing to identify conservative principles and stick to them.
Without a strong leader, there is no clear message. Without a clear message, few can understand what the Republican Party actually does represent. By not defining itself from the onset, the RNC allowed their opponents and the media to redefine them, which proved to be their downfall.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Priebus’s approach is that it won’t work. Building a political strategy on cultural whims only gambles with the nation’s future for unguaranteed short-term gains. As James Taranto wrote, “A politics built around racial polarization and competition between sexes – around revenge against ‘white males’ – may win some elections, but it cannot deliver a bright future … it portends the decline of civilization.”
Republicans should-and can-broaden their base to reach as many people as possible-but not through racial pandering and polarization. They must emphasize the benefits of limited government and traditional values as imperative for the nation’s future.
Bethany Blankley writes about religious, political, and cultural issues from a biblical perspective and
appears on national television and radio as a political pundit. She received her postgraduate degree in
Christian Ethics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and resides in New York. You can follow
her at www.bethanyblankley.com
by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—To the delight of Democrats, the battle over control of the future of the GOP is intensifying, with the Tea Party, establishment and social conservative factions beginning to openly criticize each other for election setbacks. As Republicans seek to understand and explain their defeats in the 2012 election, the various factions are already gearing up to influence which candidates will be selected to represent the party in 2014 and beyond.
In 2010 and 2012, American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS, headed by Karl Rove, the mastermind behind George W. Bush’s election wins, did not get involved in Republican primaries. Rather, it chose to support whichever candidates emerged victorious in those primaries.
Some of those candidates, though, emerged from the nomination contests too extremist to win the general election. Rove does not want to see that happen again. He is setting up a new organization, Conservative Victory Fund, that will seek to help “establishment Republicans,” for lack of a better term, win their primary contests. Tea Party groups are taking offense at the news. They warn that establishment Republicans would do worse because they would not have the same grassroots support that Tea Party candidates would have.
“If the establishment’s large donors want to see a complete electoral catastrophe, then all they need to do is push Tea Party conservatives into supporting alternative third candidates. In the general elections, responsible Tea Party leaders have supported the GOP’s establishment candidates consistently after primaries, even though moderates have been nearly nonexistent in being loyal to conservative primary victors,” Tea Party Express complained in a Monday press release.
The Tea Party has data to back up its complaint. In last year’s election, establishment Republicans were not very successful. Establishment-type Republican Senate candidates lost in Florida (Connie Mack), Massachusetts (Scott Brown), Montana (Denny Rehberg), North Dakota (Rick Berg), Virginia (George Allen) and Wisconsin (Tommy Thompson). Establishment Republicans were also successful in selecting the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, but he also lost in the general election.
The poster child for a weak candidate losing a winnable race has been Todd Akin in the Missouri Senate race. Claire McCaskill was widely viewed as the weakest Democratic incumbent. Akin was ahead in the polls until he made some ill-informed remarks about rape victims. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock in Indiana also lost his race after similar comments.
Those incidents, and others like them, has prompted Concerned Women for America, a social conservative advocacy group, to require any candidate that receive its support to attend a training session. Those sessions will inform the candidates about women’s issues and teach them how to better articulate their positions on those issues.
While many in the press continue to label Akin the “Tea Party candidate,” Akin was never supported by Tea Party in the primary. Akin was supported by social conservative groups and narrowly won a three- way race against an establishment Republican and a Tea Party Republican.
Rove’s group has already announced their first target: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), if he chooses to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014.
On Wednesday on Washington Watch, a daily radio show hosted by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, King complained that he did not understand why Rove would target him for defeat. He has always had good relations with all factions of the Republican Party in his state, including establishment Republicans, he said.
Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee appears to be trying to improve relations between establishment Republicans and grassroots groups. Newly elected Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been appointed vice chairman of grassroots outreach, a position that was created specifically for him. Cruz won the Republican primary against an establishment candidate with the support of Tea Party groups. Cruz also has the strong support of the social conservative wing of the Party.
“We want to work with states and party organizations, the grass roots, members of Congress, people who have an interest in who the Republican nominee is for Senate to see if we can’t find consensus on candidates that can be nominated and that can win. We certainly want Sen. Cruz’s involvement in that process,” NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas told Roll Call.
Newscast Media — Former Houston mayor Bill White is questioning Gov. Rick Perry’s leadership as they both battle for Austin. White said, “I am more concerned about the well-being of Texas,” and accused the governor of focusing more on the next election. Bill White has been criticized for profiting from hurricane Rita construction contracts.