Friday, November 14, 2008

The Republican Winners, and Their Message

Some Republicans won in this decidedly difficult election year for Republicans. Do they have any advice the GOP should heed, as it licks it's wounds and tries to plan a strategy for 2010?

3 Successful Republicans Caution Against a Move to the Right
[...] Senator Collins, Senator Alexander and Representative King were among Republicans who defied the odds in a terrible year for their colleagues. Their re-elections provide a possible road map for how the party can succeed in a challenging political environment. The answer, the three veteran politicians agreed, is not to become a more conservative, combative party focused on narrow partisan issues.

“What doesn’t work is drawing a harsh ideological line in the sand,”
said Ms. Collins, of Maine, who early in the year was a top Democratic target for defeat but ended up winning 61 percent of the vote while Senator Barack Obama received 58 percent in the presidential race in her state.

“We make a mistake if we are going to make our entire appeal rural and outside the Northeast and outside the Rust Belt,” said Mr. King, of New York, who easily won re-election in a region shedding Republicans at a precipitous rate.

“We can stand around and talk about our principles, but we have to put them into actions that most people agree with,” said Mr. Alexander, of Tennessee, a self-described conservative who was able to attract African-American voters.

Their comments go to the competing visions for the party’s future that will confront Republicans as they return to Capitol Hill next week to elect House and Senate leaders and begin the process of adjusting to a second consecutive round of resounding losses on Capitol Hill. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Notice they didn't say "abandon conservatism". They simply speak of being more flexible, reaching out instead of being too narrow and intolerant, and not putting all our eggs in one basket.

Some would call that common sense.

The Democrats regained control of Congress by their clever stategy of supporting Blue Dog Democrats, conservative Democrats, to gain wins against Republicans. I'm wondering if the Republicans shouldn't learn something from that, and try supporting "Red Dog" Republicans, liberal Republicans, to win against democrats in blue states.

Instead, a vocal element in the Republican party has become strident, labeling anyone who doesn't fit their definition of conservative as RINOs, moderates who need to be driven out of the party.

Look where that's gotten us today. The entire Northeast, once a Republican stronghold, has been lost to the Democrats as many of New England's Republicans have abandoned the party they feel has abandoned them.

Even here in Oregon, the Uber Republicans who felt our Republican Senator Gordon Smith was too liberal to support, decided to throw their vote away on the Constitution party instead. Now we have that disgusting pig Jeff Merkely as our new senator. How is that supposed to be an improvement?

There has been too much focus on trying to kick people out of the Republican party. It's clearly a losing strategy. Isn't it time we focus on trying GROW our party and to attract people INTO it instead?

Related Links:

Can't we all just get along?

"Politics is the art of the possible"


No comments: