Remaking the Republican Image

Posted by Larry Miller on May 5, 2009 under How | Be the First to Comment

A group of influential Republicans called the National Council for a New America began a reconstruct-the-party tour at a pizza shop in northern Virginia. The message was, a la Frasier Crane, “I’m listening.” The cynic in me must observe at this point with all the tea parties and groups making loud noises about government expansion and intrusion into our lives in so many areas, and they still have to ask what people want? How loud do we have to shout to be heard?

The men in this group are good men, and yet I am amazed that even now, they come around and ask what it is the people want. Could it be like a child who goes from one parent to another hoping to get a better answer to his question? Could it be the massive discontent among the people has not sunken in? Or could it be that they are looking for better ways to package what they want to do already in terms that make the populace think they are listening? I like this last answer the least, but when anyone has been inside the beltway too long, the question has to be asked.

The reason that I, as a voter, am offended by this attempt to find out what we are thinking and wanting is that it tells me what I already know… that I have ignored for far too long. I am not a lobbyist who can make good things happen for them. I am not a financier with a briefcase full of money to contribute. I am not a union boss that can deliver votes by the thousand. I am just one of thousands who gathered at locations around the country on April 15…. and now they ask us what we want!

Making matters worse, we are told that the message, methods and approaches that, when used properly gave us victories in the past need to be set aside. There is some truth to this… times change and circumstances change, communication methods change. The are even telling us our message has to change so it won’t offend people. The primary truth here is that conservatives have not been good at explaining WHY our approach is better. The government indoctrination centers called public schools have many convinced of the value of Big Brother’s intervention and interference in our lives.

We are told that we need to get over the glory days of Ronald Reagan. We are told that we should forget about the man who told us: “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.” and “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”

We are told that his approaches won’t work today. I have no idea how they came to this conclusion as his philosophy has not been used in years. The fact that they are telling us these things on what is supposed to be a “listening” tour is indicative of the predilection of the political class to be in control.

What frightens me most is the nagging thought that some are simply looking to change the party’s’ marketing approach into something that sounds like what the people are looking for. It may just be market research. We have, for years, heard conservative messages from candidates, worked to get them elected and found them to something quite different once in office.

What we really need are the two qualities of integrity and courage… which is the one virtue that insures all the others. We’ve seen this in people like Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota and Sarah Palin, both principle driven ladies tend to make the old guard nervous but would be a great addition to this group, but have not been invited to take part.

All this does not mean we should not give them a chance to make amends for the past. If you have the opportunity to join one of these sessions, do it. Go in with the attitude of an employer doing a performance review. Don’t accept condescending answers that tell you you just don’t understand the big picture. Be polite, but remember they are the ones coming around trying to keep their jobs.

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