With the new year here, 2008 is a memory that many hope to learn from. For Republicans there were plenty of lessons taught. The loss of the White House as well as increased losses in the United States Senate and House of Representatives provided some extra tutoring and all those lessons leave us with a great deal of homework to complete during 2009.
In 2009 most honest political observers and participants will tell you that for Republicans, 2009 is a year for rebuilding. But how do we do that? How do we not only compete in future elections, but how do we win in future elections?
Part of the solution to our problem is not entirely up to us. Some of the Republican parties fortunes depend on Democrats. Part of the solution….not most of it.
If with total control of the federal government, Democrats begin lurching to the left, they will be opening up a window of opportunity for the G.O.P.. They will make themselves vulnerable to an attack that could easily make most Americans feel that Democrats are extreme and out of touch with the people and their needs.
I already know that Democrats are out of touch. I already know that most Democrats are no longer Democrats….they are liberals. And now, with a so-called Democrat in the White House, the blatantly liberal leadership of sad, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and extreme liberal loon Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, I believe their extremism will present itself so glaringly that most Americans will soon begin to remember just how liberal and incapable of leadership that today’s liberal party really is.
I am convinced that today’s Democrats will be unable to live up to the hopes of most and they will certainly not bring the kind of “change” that most people really want. Their failures to do so will give Republicans the type of opportunity that we could use.
However we won’t be much of a party if we simply count on the failure of Democrats in order to achieve a Republican victory. In my view, although there are many things we need to do, one of the most basic and important projects we must undertake is reconciliation. A reconciliation between the grassroots of the Republican party and the leadership of the party.
This reconciliation would go a long way in re-establishing Republican political preeminence.
The grassroots of the party has been quite disaffected by both Republican party leaders and Republican elected officials.
Over the past 5 years, many Republican elected officials avoided taking the lead in fights where ideological leadership was needed. Many of these elected Republicans also lost the antiestablishment sentiments that helped lead to the Republican revolution of ‘94. It was the sentiment that had congress sacrifice privilege and perks. The type of sentiments that allowed people to believe that congress was there for them, not for taking advantage of the people they represent. Some Republican party leaders as well as some Republican elected members of congress may have lost their fervor for these sentiments but their supporters have not. that is one reason why many of those Republicans did not return to congress.
As for Republican party leaders, many of them, particularly those leading the national committee, lost organizational and communication superiority with their grassroots. Not only were many voters in the Republican base becoming increasingly disappointed by those in congress and less interested in what they had to say, but party leaders lagged behind Democrats in the area of technology. Republican leaders missed the opportunities that internet technology provided. As a result, grass root Republicans were further removed from the process and the G.O.P. lost the chance to energize itself with instantaneous feedback from the grassroots. Feedback that could have provided the party with the concerns and priorities of the Republican grassroots in real time. It also would have made more Republican voters feel more directly involved in the process.
There are many other major and minor issues and tactics that must be addressed but doing so will be a process that we need to undergo over time. 2009 will give us that time. As an off year, there will be no major elections except in New Jersey and Virginia where voters will be electing Governors along with members of their state legislatures. Illinois may have a special election to fill the vacancy that Barack Obama’s election to President has created but that whole issue has yet to play out. So while time is of the essence in New Jersey and Virginia there is still some room for breathing in most other states, but not much. Which is why I am glad that 2009 has kicked off with several efforts that can help to boost Republican fortunes.
These efforts have begun in of all places, the internet and by of all people, Republican grass root supporters.
One of the most promising sites and to date, most effective sites involves young, Republican internet guru Patrick Rufini.
Appropriately called ““REBUILD the PARTY”” the site helps provide the proper direction and leadership for the party not only with good advice but by example as well.
In the weeks following the election of 2008, “REBUILD the PARTY” conducted an open forum where Republicans submitted ideas and votes were cast on which suggested ideas were best. A long the way a ten point plan of Republican action was developed. It is a ten point strategy that, so far, has been endorsed by 5 of the six people running for RNC chairman.
In addition to official strategy development “REBUILD the PARTY” offers itself as a central headquarters for Republican to communicate and debate on. Through the social network “NING”, participants can even create their own homepage and blog. In it‘s totality, “REBUILD the PARTY” is a perfect example of how a rebuilt Republican party should proceed in 2009.
Another promising new site is “Flip4”.
“Flip4” is striving to “flip four seats in every statehouse where doing so will give Republicans the majority”. The sites creators understand that the state legislatures are where Republican fortunes lie. They know that after 2010, the state legislatures will be drawing the congressional district lines that will make up the house in Washington, D.C..
So Flip4 focuses on state legislatures by trying to find and elect “talented, principled, forward-thinking Republican candidates” and by implementing the following strategy:
- Identify four talented, principled, forward-thinking Republican candidates in every statehouse where their victories will give Republicans the majority.
- Collect and distribute information about these candidates, their issues and their races.
- Direct resources to these candidates, both financial and otherwise, to enable their victory.
Another new forum is another platform developed by Patrick Rufini. This one is called “THE NEXT RIGHT”.
The “The Next Right” highlights the current thinking of several of the sites politically experienced Republican operators. Here they detail and debate the weaknesses and strengths of the party and also present rich, thought provoking proposals for the party to undertake.
It also involves input from grass root Republicans, who can post their own blog entries and allow for debate through ongoing comment sections.
If one takes a moment to review these three sites, they will find themselves increasingly optimistic. They will see that hope is not lost and that Republican losses at the polls did not occur because the Republican principles we stand for are outdated or wrong but that they were not applied by many Republicans serving in office. A look at these sites demonstrates that the Republican base is strong and that they ready, willing and able to do what is necessary to help provide America with the leadership that true republicans can offer the nation.
So as 2009 unfolds, be a part of the rebuilding process. Get involved in the sites mentioned here.
They are helping to turn things around and upside down. To date, their activity is responsible for getting the attention of our leaders and instead of the people joining the proposed efforts of our party leaders, party leaders are getting involved in the efforts of the people. It is a redrawing of the political blueprint where the actions that the G.O.P. takes comes from the direction that the people want to go in as opposed to the people going in the direction that a party boss wants the people to go in. It is the type of blueprint that Republicans could have used a few years before we lost control of congress when they lost touch with the grassroots that elected them in the first place.
In 2009, for Republicans, these sites are trains leaving the station and if you are not onboard, you’ll be left behind.
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