Heads to roll at RNC: Who will lead party reform?
By J.B. Williams
Unlike their united active counter-parts across the aisle, Republicans have not been known for their political activism since they tossed tea into the Boston harbor. That will have to change!
Now that it's clear to everyone in the free world that the Republican Party national leadership is indeed out of touch with rank and file Republicans across the country and unable to defeat even the most unqualified and inexperienced Democrat candidates on the national stage, heads must roll and they will.
But what's next?
After regaining congressional power for the first time in forty years in 1994 by returning to the American principles and values the party was founded upon, congressional Republicans slid back into DC elitist habits of ignoring their base, feathering their own nests, appeasing leftists and spending like a drunken Kennedy.
A brief twelve years later, Republicans were once again tossed from congressional power in huge numbers and by 2008, one of the best known American heroes could not compete with the most unknown empty suit to ever seek the Oval Office.
As the Republican Party suffers the biggest national rejection in American history, losing control of every branch of the federal government and relegating themselves to second class citizens and minority status, the party is looking for answers and a new direction.
Change for the Sake of Change
Voters of all political stripes are so fed up with status quo Washington ignorance and arrogance that they are going to make a "change." They are so desperate for "something else" that they won't even bother to ask any questions about what kind of "changes" they are making.
Obama supporters came in three forms...
Obama ran on some Republican promises, like lower taxes for 95% of Americans and less intrusive government. Even though Obama has never supported these ideas at any point in his life, voters embraced these ideas and believed he had magically woken up a centrist one morning.
But what they really voted for was "change." A largely undefined concept at the center of the Obama campaign, left to the imagination of the individual voter.
Latinos thought "change" meant amnesty for illegal family members. Blacks thought "change" meant history-making black power in the White House. Gays thought "change" meant expanded gay rights. The 50% of Americans who don't pay taxes thought that "change" meant more tax "refunds" for taxes never paid to begin with. Anti-war folks thought "change" meant ending a war that can't be ended until our enemies are agreeable to ending it.
It was brilliant really... By refusing to define "change" throughout the two year long campaign, the definition of change was left to the special interest imagination of the individual voting bloc.
Old Candidates can't sell New Ideas
John McCain tried hard to hijack Obama's "change" mantle, going so far as to pick Alaska change agent Sarah Palin as his running mate to bring youth and energy to his otherwise anemic campaign.
But in the end, the voters didn't believe that a 72 year old Washington insider would bring "change" to a corrupt process he had been a part of for so many years. In a way, Obama's inexperience was a vital asset to his campaign. With a blank résumé and a record of doing nothing at all, there was no history of doing anything wrong. Voting "present" was his greatest accomplishment to date.
McCain had a history of being caught on the wrong side of too many issues. John McCain is a great American, but he was a horrific candidate. A sure way to lose elections is to continue to put forth candidates with only 35% primary support within his own party. Hopefully, lesson learned!
Out with the Old
The Republican Party has allowed itself to be defined as the party of tired old white men selling tired old regurgitated rhetoric that nobody believes anymore after years of governing opposite that rhetoric.
George W. Bush has grown the federal government at a pace that would make Karl Marx blush. He has kept the nation safe from a second 9/11, but at what expense to taxpayers and his party of "smaller government?"
Bush will be written into history as a president who kept his promise to make America safer from enemies abroad. But he also made it less safe to threats from the enemy within who now holds unbridled power over the people and is promising to run roughshod.
But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water in our reactionary rush to make our own "changes."
Out with Old Leadership, in with Old Principles and Values
The old leaders of the Republican Party failed to protect and preserve the principles and values of their party's rank and file members. Those leaders no longer have any credibility with the party base and for this reason, those leaders must go.
But the original tenets of the Republican Party are as valid and vital today as they were the day they were set as the foundation upon which the party was built.
Ronald Reagan is the only modern Republican president to return the party to those concepts and he returned the entire nation to those ideas at the same time. John McCain and RNC leaders departed from many of those precepts and instead of breathing new life into the party values, they attempted to introduce new left-leaning concepts to the party faithful.
That strategy has failed miserably, repeatedly now. As someone put it recently, "you can't out-liberal the liberals..."
In with the New
Renewing, refreshing or reforming anything requires fresh blood, new faces and an energetic lust for real change. It also requires a steady hand and a firm backbone.
I love old warriors like John McCain. But sometimes old warriors are tired warriors. And face it; too many years inside the Washington beltway could corrupt the Pope!
Republicans are talking about who will be the new face of the Republican Party and the resurgence to conservative principles. But I seriously doubt that there is a single face in America qualified for such a daunting task.
It will take a group of new faces with fresh blood and youthful energy to turn this sinking ship around.
Atop the list of contenders for RNC Chairman seem to be Newt Gingrich and Michael Steele. Why? Is this a knee-jerk reaction out of panic?
Newt is not new, young or without his own set of inside the beltway baggage. He's full of good ideas and we should listen to many of them. But is he the new fresh face of the Republican Party?
Steele is young and fresh, but where are his conservative leadership credentials and where on his résumé is the clear indication of the kind of backbone it will take to return the party to national prominence?
Both of these men are good conservative leaders. But my point is this... why are we hanging the future of the party and the country on any one individual? We need a new team of leaders, not just a party face lift.
The Conservative Talent Pool
The fact that John McCain was the best we had in 2008 is a strong indication that the Republican talent pool has been drained to an empty swamp. This might be true inside the Washington beltway, but as Sarah Palin proved, there is some very exciting young talent on the rise at the state level.
The Tennessean writes, "As Democrats prepare to usher in Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, party officials in Tennessee are embarking on a sobering post-mortem to determine how it lost control of the state legislature and how to block even more GOP gains in 2010."
Tennessee was the one ray of sunshine in the entire 2008 election cycle. What did Tennessee Republicans do right, at a time when the rest of the nation took a giant leap left?
Republicans took control of the state legislature for the first time since the American Civil War! According to leftist press assessments and DNC rhetoric, this makes Tennessee the most "racist" state in the nation. But is that what really happened?
According to exit polling data, it was not "skin heads" or KKK members who rejected Obama on the basis of his skin color, but "evangelical Christians of all colors that rejected the massive national march into secular socialism at both the national and state level.
Tennessee didn't just vote for "the white" presidential candidate, it voted for "conservatives" across the board, no matter their race. At a moment in history when much of the nation blindly followed the Pied Pipers of secular socialism off the leftist cliff, Tennesseans dug their heels in and set their own agenda for the future.
People seeking leaders for the national Republican Party should be studying what Republicans in Tennessee seem to know that they don't.
A new team of conservative leaders committed to founding Republican Party principles and values must be assembled and drafted into RNC leadership. The Republican Party really is the "big tent" that represents the will of the vast majority of Americans who still believe in freedom and liberty for every individual, no matter race, creed, gender or economic status.
The DNC is the party of secular socialism today, built on the divisive platform of race, class and gender warfare.
But RNC leaders have failed to adhere to the simple principles of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for all, with a smaller, less expensive and less intrusive federal government designed to protect and preserve individual freedom for every American.
Those leaders must go and they must be replaced with a new set of leaders who can carry this mantle forward in a rejuvenated and exciting message of freedom for all Americans.
Newt Gingrich, Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and many others can and should play an active role in reforming the party to a platform that means something.
But let's not leap from failed party politics to reactionary panic politics. Decisions made in a state of panic seldom turn out to be good decisions. And no one person can handle the task at hand.
Pro-America conservatives of all brands belong in the Republican Party. But to get them all back in the tent, the party will have to return to party fundamentals in a meaningful way and it will have to breathe new life into old American precepts by bringing new blood into an old battle.
© 2008 J.B. Williams