Sat, 07 Feb 2009 03:59:21 +0000 – By Tommy De SenoAttorney/Writer
"Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours." --Noela Evans
Excitement awaits RNC Chairman Michael Steele. His opportunity is not just to steer through another's plotted course; rather he assumes leadership at a time when new routes are expected of him.
[caption id="attachment_6530" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Michael Steele (AP photo)"][/caption]
Both the Republican and Democrat parties have morphed over the years. A Republican from one generation might have trouble recognizing a Republican from another.
Michael Steele must study Republican high times and note well what worked so positively. He will be drawn to Republican beginnings when the party held its broadest appeal from 1860 to 1933, when 12 of 16 President were Republican. People from all races and classes voted Republican.
What was the appeal? "Pro-people." The Republican Party was founded by three civil rights groups opposed to slavery. The party was literally "pro-people" from the start.
The Republican "pro-people" policy of "liberty for the individual" naturally evolved into the policy of "responsibility of the individual." This American spirit of "rugged individualism" was forged by early frontiersmen, and understood well by Republicans from Presidents Hoover to Reagan. Rugged individualism seems to be lost on 21st century Republicans involved in corporate bailout frenzies and Keynesian government spending.
Steele need not create Republicans anew, rather he needs to change us back to being "pro-people." Our policies simply need updating, they cry out for modernity. We must re-ask today's burning questions so that they can be answered positively, instead of leading us to dead ends.
Our agenda, that Michael Steele must now rally, is, in its simplest form as follows:
Urban Strategy:Republicans have no urban policies or political structure on the ground. With the census showing more people living in urban areas than in rural areas, it's morally wrong for our party to ignore those people. Politically, Republicans are paying a price for it.
As Exhibit A, I present Monmouth County, New Jersey, once a Republican stronghold that turned over to Democrats for the first time in 23 years in this past election. Monmouth's three urban areas gave Democrats such a large margin of victory they cancelled out the votes of the county's five biggest Republican towns -- despite having half the population of those Republican towns. Republicans had little presence in the urban areas.
Rather than choosing sides between urban and suburban areas Republicans must realizebothsides actually want the same thing -- to maintain their respective identities and aesthetics. So service them both.
If state Republicans support open space legislation and 10-acre-minimum zoning lots for homes to keep the suburbs suburban, then we must equally involve ourselves in dense and vertical housing in our cities. Without that balance, our suburban policies become exclusionary and segregationist.
Better to serve all than half of all.
Fiscal Conservatism:Hamilton's Federalist Paper #23 envisioned these things as necessary for the federal government to govern: the common defense of the members; the preservation of the public peace as well against internal convulsions as external attacks; the regulation of commerce with other nations and between the States; the superintendence of our intercourse, political and commercial, with foreign countries.
Our party needs to reaffirm our founding principle of limited federal government. Government meddling in citizens' lives beyond our common needs leads to wasting money. Review also Madison's Federalist Paper # 10 on factions, but relate it to spending. --Then join with Blue Dog Democrats on sound fiscal policy.
Immigration:To be succinct, we are "pro-immigration, anti-illegal immigration." Present our policy in that order. Our first priority is to ensure an orderly entrance and path to citizenship for those who choose Americanism as we do. The political capital we pick up, particularly with Latinos, can be used to vigorously combat illegal immigration and blanket amnesty.
Conservation:Sell me on conserving energy to save resources and I'll do it. Sell me on conserving energy to save money and I'll do it. Sell me on conserving energy by lying to me about climate change and I won't do it. Republican policy is to keep conservation issues separate from the climate change debate. We will conserve energy for the benefits it gives, but marginalize the hysterics of false global warming claimants.
Bring More African Americans Into the Party. Even before President Obama was elected, 90% of African Americans were voting for Democrats. No other group of Americans votes so monolithically for one party -- not even Christian Conservatives. Republicans must attract this group of voters on issues where Democratic Party policies have failed them -- school choice, respect for religion, opposition to abortion and segregationist policies such as New Jerseys' Abbott School funding.
Social Conservatism: Again, a return to our "pro-people" origins is in order. We must always insist humans win.
Hypothetical Arguments:If we were to find America's founding documents were contrary to current Republican ideas of social conservatism, which would we choose to revise -- America's founding documents or Republican ideas? We need a conversation on the meaning of the beautiful words from the Declaration of Independence on the equality of our creation. That same language should protect unborn humans and so too Gay and Lesbian humans. There's a coalition to be made between those two groups for equality.
Fundraising:Internet, Internet, Internet. The only way to compete with President Obama's three-quarters of a billion dollars is to employ our tech-savvy young Republicans to digitize our fundraising.
Economic Globalism:Technology will force us to play.
We have one option: Win!!!
Read more Tommy De Seno at www.JustifiedRight.com.
Tommy De Seno is an attorney in New Jersey and contributor to Ricochet.com.