Why G.O.P. Leaders Should Subscribe to Car Magazines
If I had known that some of the articles that I’d read about the Ford Mustang in recent years would’ve provided a unique perspective into the November Sixth election, I definitely would’ve saved them. With each model year – and every sheet metal change, some automotive journalists are more than willing to offer their opinions as to how to increase the Mustang’s appeal to a wider audience. However, a writer for a Mustang magazine wrote something similar to this: “the people who are suggesting certain changes to the Mustang, such as an independent rear suspension, are the same people who would never drive a Mustang – regardless if it included everything that they wanted or not.” That quote shows the fallacy of the “all things to all people” mentality – a mentality which has polluted the electoral process in terms of the quality of candidates.
As the election results have been analyzed almost continually since the election, the biggest message that the left, as well as the leaders and moderates within the Republican party are trying to send to conservatives, is that the GOP must alter its platform in order to attract new voters. If the Republican party were to adopt a platform that in some ways mirrored that of the Democrats, then the Republicans risk being successfully labeled as flip-floppers – candidates who will say anything in order to win elections.
With arrogance and elitism, the Republican establishment has just about blamed every voter who supports their party for this narrow loss. With this lack of moral fortitude in mind, perhaps a review of the post-Ronald Reagan elections is in order.
Riding on the coattails of President Reagan, George H.W. Bush more than easily defeated Michael Dukakis in 1988. As his moderate tendencies started to show – especially with his broken tax pledge, as well as his refusal to admit that the economy was in a recession just before the 1992 election, he lost to Bill Clinton. Yes, having Ross Perot in the election could’ve worked against Bush, but Perot had liberal leanings regarding abortion and gun control. Besides, Perot damaged his credibility by exiting the race – only to return, and claim that he had been threatened by GOP insiders if he did not drop out.
For 1996, the Republican party nominated Bob Dole, the Kansas Senator whose legacy is the ethanol mandate; a big, sloppy kiss to the corn farmers in Iowa – in exchange for their votes in the primary. Besides his decision to make us fall in love with the idea of using food as fuel – whether we wanted to or not, Dole’s platform was simple: “vote for me, because I’ve wanted this job for forty years, therefore, you owe it to me.” Once again, Perot was in this race, but his popularity decline gave him the credibility of a morning radio shock jock’s wacky sidekick. Despite the Republican Revolution happening only two years before, Dole had lost.
George W. Bush’s wins – especially in 2000, were close. The stories of John McCain’s and Mitt Romney’s losses are very similar to each other.
What do these Republican candidates have in common? The royalty within the GOP had decided that they were the “most electable candidates.” Unfortunately, these “most electable candidates” rarely displayed that quality; it seems as though these were compromise candidates instead.
Why do these candidates appear to self-destruct during elections? Perhaps it could be the Illinoisization of national politics. Until recently, the two parties in Illinois had some major contrasts between their larger counterparts. With Chicago Democrats controlling Springfield – Governor Pat Quinn won the 2010 election by winning three out of the state’s 102 counties for example, the leaders of the Illinois Republicans have become subservient to their Cook County Democrat overlords in order to hold onto some power – within their own party. From former governors Jim Thompson, and George Ryan, to unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Judy Barr Topinka, and Senator Mark Kirk, these individuals have more in common with Democrats than Republicans.
All of them are liberal on social issues, while Thompson and Ryan had also proven to be cavalier spenders of taxpayer dollars. Both of those politicians had their own Obama-like stimulus projects: Build Illinois under Thompson in 1982, and Ryan’s Illinois First in 1998. According to the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass, David Axelrod helped Ryan defeat his Democrat opponent, Glenn Poshard in the 1998 election via a smear commercial intended to portray Poshard as Hitler-like. So just like Illinois Republicans, it appears that the national GOP elite are looking for Democrat approval when it comes to candidates and policy.
As for the social issues, these may not have as much to do with losing elections as the much as the candidates’ inability to prove that they possess any leadership capabilities. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had won a recall election – by a bigger margin, and with more votes than his first gubernatorial election due to the fact that he refused to moderate his policies. Voters dig a moral and philosophical backbone.
One of the concessions that moderates expect the Republicans to make is for support of same-sex marriage. The problem with redefining marriage is that marriage is a religious concept, not a government one; religion oversees the ceremony, the government covers the legal issues. If the definition of marriage is altered, clergy could be forced to perform ceremonies that are contrary to their religious beliefs – or face criminal charges under new civil rights laws. If this scenario seems impossible, remember that religious organizations are suing to stop provisions within Obamacare that mandate they cover birth control drugs whose use they morally oppose.
Abortion is the other issue that party insiders want to alter. However, this may not be a platform to abandon. The GOP needs more minority votes in order to survive. And, many minorities are socially conservative – especially when it comes to religion and family. Perhaps the Republican party could use this issue – as well as the historic, traditional definition of marriage, as building blocks to show that Republicans share their values.
Democrats have successfully portrayed Republicans as being anti-immigration. This is another area where Republicans need to disprove lies from the left. Republicans also need to support an immigration policy that does not alienate immigrants who have come here via the legal process, while also not jeopardizing our national security.
Yes, the Republican party has problems that have helped some candidates snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but this proves that the message has no meaning if nobody trusts the messenger. The self-serving leaders of the Republican party have been exploiting voters for a long time; the scare tactics that they use during the primary processes produce candidates that either barely win, or they suffer embarrassing losses – unless of course, they had been the vice-president under a successful predecessor.
Yes, the self-serving, self-appointed leaders of the GOP could listen to people on the left and adopt a more liberal platform in an attempt to attract new voters, but those potential voters would never vote for the Republican party – regardless if it included everything that they want or not.