The election is over folks and we lost...big time. Not only is there four more years of Barack Obama but some of our future stars, people like Allen West who I will always call Congressman Mensch (because he is), and Mia Love who impressed me at CPAC and the entire country during the GOP convention lost by the tiniest of margins. Rather than wallow in our grief for the next decade, after a day or two the Grand ol' Party has to regroup and move ahead, if we take too long of a break we risk losing our base to inactivity.
The party needs to change its strategy to survive and I have a few serious suggestions.
- The GOP must take a stand. Folks we need to decide. Will the Republican Party be the party of all things to all people, or we be the party of the constitution? Will we be the party of smaller government and freedom or simply the "not quite as liberal as the Democrats" party. But choose wisely --because if the GOP is not the party of the constitution, freedom and small government we will find a party that is--even if its a new one. America was a right of center country four years ago and remains one today.
- Streamline the primaries. The conventional wisdom during the long primary season is that debate is a healthy process. But while we were firing bullets at each other, Obama was using his primary dollars to organize the swing states and run anti-GOP commercials. Sorry folks but the primary season was way too long.
- Obama is not the enemy his policies are. One of the first things said by Mitch McConnell after Obama was to his first term was that his job was to make Obama a one-term-President. That phrase has haunted the GOP for years. We must continue to fight this president's progressive policies tooth and nail, but we need to stop making it personal.
- Its time to stop avoiding social issues. This campaign was supposed to be all about the economy our opponents made it a war on women, contraceptives and abortion. There are some in the party who say we need to avoid those issues. After the past year, I have come to the realization its a stupid approach. They need not be our primary focus, but we need to include them in our debate and sales pitches. Face it-- we end up fighting that battle anyway the mainstream media and the democrats will make it an issue, that is a guarantee. Even worse, when it does come up we are hopelessly unprepared (Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock) because we aren't used to debating life issues and such. Let's give our social issue pitches an "out of town tryout" before we take it to the "big show."
- Revise the way we present economic issues. Voters believed that the economy was the number one issue, yet Obama, who's economic program has been a disaster still won. It's certainly not the electorate--we have an intelligent voter base in this country, we must find the "sales pitch" that works.
- Reach out to Latinos, African Americans and Women. This is more of a subdivision of the point above. Latinos are not all about immigration, women are not all about abortion. We need to show how our economic policies will improve the life of women and minorities and how our foreign policies will better protect their families. But we also need to find a conservative solution to immigration NOW, not as we near the next elections. And folks, we have to do it in the urban centers...not from the suburbs.
- What do we do about the media? The mainstream media is generally corrupt. Its hard to get out a message when the supposed journalists are advocates for the other side. There is talk radio but its hard to get them to change the message. There are the right wing blogs, but even when we change the message, such as my story about the DNC platform and Israel which dominated the news cycle the first part of the convention, there is little financial incentive or even credit. Even when we feed the conservative mainstream media big stories such that we all have, all they do is use them without attribution. When new jobs get opened its usually the same names getting recycled. Its hard for the blog-world to become a viable alternative to the mainstream media if people (as most of us do) have to conduct research and write before, after and during the job we have to earn money for our families. I blogged full time for three years and never made more than $7,500 .
The conservative world must find ways to encourage bloggers to be full-time journalists either by grant (as the liberals do), full-time jobs, or even simply finding ways to drive more traffic to our sites. For example maybe instead of trashing us all the time, Bill O' Reilly could give out our links once in a while. I don't know what the solution is but there is an army of David's out there providing the Republican/ Conservative establishment finds a way to keep us in business.
- Listen To Sean Connery. “You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s* the *Chicago* way! And that’s how you get Capone. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I’m offering you a deal. Do you want this deal?-Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables (1987)”
Like John McCain before him, Governor Romney is a truly decent human being (thankfully Romney doesn't have a dumb blonde daughter like McCain). Romney's decency was one of things that attracted me to him, it was also one of the reasons he lost. The Republican nominee thought he was competing in the traditional world of presidential politics, but his opponent was following Chicago rules, which is a much dirtier game. In Chicago, the political arena is in the gutter, names are called lies are told and no one cares, especially when only one side is playing by Chicago rules. And rule number one is there are no rules.
Rather than talk about his policies vs. Romney, Obama’s most effective commercials cast the the former Governor as Scrooge, happily firing people, hoarding his money, killing grandmas and promoting the rape of women. Its time to pick a candidate who will play Obama’s game of Chicago-style politics, it worked AGAIN!
- We need a change in leadership, especially in the house. John Boehner is a nice guy and he worked hard to be a good Speaker of the House. But he gives off the image of a career politician who will compromise on ideals as well as the way programs are executed. If you believe in those ideals then they cannot be compromised. How does speaker Paul Ryan sound? Majority Leader DeMint?
- No More "Same Old Same Old" As we begin to coagulate towards potential candidates for 2012 we look at what pundits have been calling our strong bench. The whole lot of primary contenders should be thrown out and we should be looking to new candidates, our strong Governors our conservative Senators, etc. Oh an please not Chris Christie is not a conservative, he is a fiscally conservative RINO, who care more about his reelection than the future of this country. There are plenty of political hacks on both sides of the aisle, we don't need to raise up one more.
- We need to start tomorrow. One of the things Obama did effectively was to keep campaigning. Almost immediately after his inauguration he went back on the road. The GOP should figure out what states it needs to win next time, which senate/house races are winnable and keep those organizations alive even though the campaign is over.