How to Fix the Republican Party...
Nasty defeat. Well-deserved, too. Here's some ideas on how to fix things:
This movement is in dire need of reform. It is stale and the personalities on point are mostly ticket-punchers. We don't need cosmetic changes posing at reform, but a fundamental rebuild, from the bottom, up (not the top down, which is what the party leadership would like). These changes will not occur unless we first demand them, and then hold the party to account on their implementation.
As for the changes needed:
- It is not enough to demand accountability from the other side, particularly when we try to hide our own dirty laundry. No more defending the indefensible. No more Foleys, no more Craigs, no more DeLays. For those who of you who cry about moral equivalency from democrats, don't forget how some of our leadership went to bat for these guys. This primary principle must not only be obeyed now, in defeat, it must be obeyed if and when the republicans get back into a position of responsibility, or else it's just hot air.
- The message needs changing. The old mantra of "smaller government, moral values, national security...and a tax cut, to boot!", should now also include this: "we say what we mean, and we mean what we say". Not only does that need to be hammered home in words, it needs to be demonstrated by actions. This means no more Katrinas, no more busted budgets, no more Bridges to Nowhere. As McCain said, make the folks who backslide 'famous'.
- A new formulation of Gingrich's Contract with America shoud be put forward as the guiding principles for the republican party for the next decade. It should include;
a. a plan to prevent American corporations from offshoring/outsourcing (euphamistically - 'encouragement' to stop this practice) and generally screwing the American worker. This nation's industrial complex must be rebuilt both to provide jobs and future economic activity. This may be a no-no for free-marketeers, but we have to put people in this country back to work. Give them incentives (or punishments) to bring the jobs back home. Sometimes you need to break eggs to make omlettes. We shoujld no longer give a rat's ass about whether the Chinese can afford to buy American products when it's becoming clear that Americans can no longer afford to buy them.
b. Present a challenge to American industry and science to produce a viable, sustainable alternative fuel -- and just as important, the machinery which can utilize it. If it worked for NASA, it'll work for Exxon-Mobil and GM. It's about time American industry (what's left of it) started doing what it used to do; making actual products, that people want, at a price they can afford.
c. Get the party off the Christain Right teat, and put the Godbots back in the pews where they belong. Morality will never be legislated; it has to be nutured -- outside of the political system -- on an individual level -- which (ironically) is where the churches of this country historically do their best work. Simply packing the Supreme Court will not get rid of abortion-on-demand. Create the culture first outside of politics, and then the newly-created culture will reshape the politics. Not the other way around.
d. Change the immigration debate not by stigmatizing immigrants (after all, we are all the descendants of immigrants), but rather by advocating policies which steer new immigrants towards assimilation. Punish those who break the law, espcially employers (instead of milking them for campaign contributions and votes). No more welfare applications in Spanish, no more voting forms in Swahili, no more money for bi-lingual education. The only time a foreign language should be used/transmitted by the US government is if it is matter of public health or safety. Assimilation is the most important solution to the immigration problem, enforcement of existing law is the second. Armed marines with orders to shoot lawbreakers would be the third.
e. Fight like hell to revoke the monstrosity called Campaign Finance Reform (three lies for the price of one). John McCain hung himself with his own rope, which is appropos. The stupidity of this particular legislation was obvious from the very start. It's appropriate that McCain's system, which was really nothing more than a way for elected politicians to achieve tenure, should be at the very foundation of his failure to achieve higher office.
f. Demand accountability. Every member of Congress should be required to keep a website in which their day-to-day activities, in minute detail, are updated every day. That includes every meeting, every vote, every bill they sponsor, every dollar they spend in their offices, every contribution and endorsement they receive. Each member should be required to explain their votes on it, too, in excruciating detail.
- Find a way to not only communicate 'the message' but find a better way of actually describing how your message will translate into action, also. We get it, we just don't know how you intend to do it. Details, details, details...and then explain why the details are consistent with both republican and conservative principles.
- New blood, new blood, new blood. Stop with the litmus tests which prevent that new blood from entering the party debate. If this is truly a Big Tent Party, then the price of admission to that Big Tent must not be anti-gay, pro-gun, anti-regulation-only; if we have a fiscal conservative or constitutional literalist who's weak on a social issue, we must stop labeling him/her RINO and then showing them the exit. Orthodoxy should never trump effectiveness, or utility.