GOP Future

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I sent this out to my fellow Republican PCOs:

I don't know about you, but I am optimistic.

Really. I know some people would say that just to try to rally the troops, but it's true. I feel pretty good, and it's not even because of the painkillers.

The unfortunate part to me is not that we lost the federal elections overall, but that so many good candidates, who would have won in normal years, got swept up in the anti-Republican backlash. But that is how it goes.

The reason I feel good is that this is a huge opportunity for us to restore the Republican party, which we all know has been deteriorating for some time. Most of what I am going to say is about the national level, but it trickles down.

Now, for once, we don't have to defend what I know most of us agree have been failings of the GOP. Our elected officials have spent too much money, they've allowed too much corruption, they've been unresponsive, they've been inefficient, and they've generally not performed well. They haven't acted like Republicans.

Sure, they have not spent as much as the Democrats will try to (thankfully, Bush still has the veto). And they've not been nearly as corrupt as the Democrats were before the Republicans finally took control (I may be young, but not too young to remember that). And we've been in favor of most of what the Republicans have done. We still wanted the Republicans to win, even with their problems, and our disaffection.

But the voters have been heard, and they disagreed with us. They either wanted the Democrats to win, or they were so turned off by the Republicans, that they didn't care. Those GOP failings were too much for them, even at risk of giving power back to the Democrats.

So let's face it, we need to prove to the public that we can be trusted again. How do we regain that trust, and move forward?

  • Return to our Republican principles.
  • Hold ourselves, and our elected officials, accountable.
  • Cut back on the rhetoric against our opponents, and focus more on level-headed reasoning.
  • Recruit PCOs. Seriously.


We start by getting back to basics. Back to our conservative principles. What are they? This is not an exhaustive list, but to give some examples:

  • Small, local, government
  • Accountability and openness
  • Fair and legal elections
  • True property rights
  • Low government burdens on business and individuals
  • Security of our borders and ports
  • Equal justice under law
  • Sovereignty of the family
  • Respect for the Constitution

There are some notable omissions in my list above, like gun rights, right to life, and so on. I left these out for a good reason, and it is not because I don't believe in them, or because I think we shouldn't fight for them, or because I think they shouldn't be in our platform. I left them out only because while they are very important and we should fight for them, in my opinion, they are often the very things that drive us apart as Republicans. They may be part of the core of why you and I are Republicans, but they are not at the core of why everyone who is a Republican, is a Republican.

A majority party -- what we used to be -- cannot survive if it lets one of two things happen: if it lets issues that *do not* bind it together tear it apart, or if it neglects the things that *do* bind it together. The Republican Party has managed to fail on both counts.

It's a fine line sometimes, but it is one we have to be able to walk. We don't abandon issues like abortion, but those are not the most important issues to all Republicans. Those are not the things that bind us together. Those are not the things that win us elections. Because of the already noted failings of the Republican Party on those core principles that bind us, Republicans of all stripes stayed home: moderates and conservatives, and everyone in between.


We need to hold our elected Republican officials accountable. Just as a hypothetical example -- since he is the most high-profile elected Republican we have in this state -- we should not keep supporting (WA Secretary of State) Sam Reed if he doesn't keep supporting our principles. We should sit down and evaluate how he's done before we throw our support to him next time around.

This goes for every elected Republican official, at every level. For far too long, we've supported candidates who don't serve our interests just because they are electable (or already elected), and that is the biggest reason why we're in this mess, because at the national level, we get people like Republican Senator Ted Stevens being one of the most unabashedly pork-loving people in DC, who has the nerve to complain about Alaskans getting their "fair share" (since when do conservatives believe in the federal government being a source of equal giveaways for all?), even though Alaska gets more pork per capita than any other state already.

We stand by those principles, even if it sometimes hurts. The public does not respect us if we waffle, or if we are drastically inconsistent. And our party is not served by diluting it significantly with people we elect just because they are "electable."

We don't say we should respect and follow the law and that we want legal elections, and then oppose Christine Gregoire's recount. Yes, we all had serious questions about whether there was fraud going on, but the law is the law, and we don't oppose the law when we don't like the result.

We don't say small government, and then spend billions on No Child Left Behind in order to get votes.

We don't try to work the system to our advantage: we stick to our common principles.


Rhetoric has its place, but we spent eight years trashing Clinton, and sat through six years of liberals trashing Bush, and I don't think the country is better off for it, let alone the Republican party.

This time maybe we can take a bit more of the high road, and focus our arguments as much as possible on the facts of why we believe what we do.

People are sick of the meanness. Let's show the public that we can be respectful in the minority.

That doesn't mean to not attack positions and viewpoints. We should do that even more than we have in the past. But we should put more of our efforts into presenting our principles, and then showing how our views flow from those principles, and how the facts favor our principles and our views.

Especially in this information age, that is a great way to gain the respect of the public. People have heard all the rhetoric before. It's not useless, and it has its place, but the public wants to gain real understanding of what we think, why we think it, and what the issues really are.

It's the difference between "the Democrats quickly spent a $1.4 billion surplus, and we already have a deficit again" and "the Democrats are socialists."


We have had a lot of loss of warm bodies in my short time here. We need to get out and find new people. This loss can serve as a wake-up call to many.

If I am re-elected chair of the 39th District, my first order of business, and the number one goal for the next six months, is recruitment. We all need to commit to this, and we will quickly develop a plan, and execute it. We won't be putting it off.

So, that's what's on my mind. Even if you disagree with some of what I had said, it should be pretty obvious by now why I am excited at the opportunity we're presented with here.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on November 10, 2006 7:14 PM.

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