Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Conservative Make-Over For GOP

Since the dust settled from the election results, there has been a lot of banter concerning how to repackage the Republican party. The answers are as clear as day that some pundits have missed them entirely. The largest key to repackaging is to stop mussing up the packaging that is already there. After that, it comes down to adjusting a couple of ribbons and bows, and streamlining some of the excess

First of all, candidates this past election had a narrative to defeat, not an opposing candidate. The opposition did a great job of presenting the candidates, such as Richard Mourdock, Mitt Romney, and Todd Akin, as candidates to run away from. The candidates didn't help themselves too much, either. They allowed themselves to become entangled with the very distraction narratives meant to chase voters away.

Let's make this simple.

Conservative candidates, who mostly come from the Republican Party, need to demonstrate that they are truly for less government intervention into private lives. Each tactic meant to scare voters away painted the candidates as not being truly for a more conservative application of government authority and intervention.

You may not realize it, but the TEA Party is actually growing. There are new members each day, even though the huge rallies in the parks are no longer on the news being portrayed as the anarchist riots that the Occupy movement actually was. It's time to go to the grass roots level and talk to them. Don't waste your time just speaking at large arena venues in so-called "swing states". Your grass roots base will get your message out, if you give it to them (and heed their advice on it). You do not do well telling conservatives what they want. You do better asking them to tell you.

On large case in point is the topic of abortion. It was not an issue in this campaign. It is not an issue in any campaign. Do not debate abortion. Do not step in that trap. Each time a candidate does it comes across as though that candidate wants to legislate morality. Roe v Wade happened decades ago. Those who run an anti-abortion platform garner only those voters who place abortion as a top-3 issue, or the only issue. It makes the candidates come across as though they do not support the First Amendment. For a party that supposedly more aligned with the US Constitution, it makes conservatives appear as hypocrites. It's been 40 years and Republicans are still falling into this trap. You would think they'd learn by now.

There is a saying, "It's better to sit silent and look like a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt".

Frame your answer this way "Abortion is not an issue. My moral and religious stance is against abortion. However, the decision was made and the reality is that there is little that can be done about it. So let's talk about the real issues."

The same goes with contraceptives. Do not let yourself be trapped into false memes of banning contraception. You cannot ban it. That is the truth. Why can it not be banned? For one thing, that is legislating morality. Remember, folks, abstinence is a form of birth control/contraception. Not only was this not an issue, it wasn't true. In this case, openly challenge the opposition to provide proof of their allegations.Take the lessons of Prohibition. All that amendment did was create a nation of criminals who violated that law.

The same-sex marriage issue is another dumb trap. It's simple, marriage is not a religious condition in this country. The First Amendment makes it this way. Your religious view of marriage does not apply. All that applies is the legal definition determined by our society and culture. To translate this into easy terms, this means that marriage must be defined, through law, on a state by state basis. All the federal government can do is insure that a couple's marriage in one state remains recognized in another, just as was the argument concerning inter-racial marriages in our past. The Supreme Court already ruled on that. If a same-sex couple is legally married in state X, state Y has to recognize it. In addition to the First Amendment, the Tenth Amendment also applies. Do not support the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Do not get distracted by this issue. Instead, simply state that you "support the decision of each state to decide its legal definition of marriage and respect the first and tenth amendments in regards to this issue. All people must be granted equal individual rights and opportunities that do not infringe upon those of others." 

Educate fence-sitters on important issues. One such issue is how lowering tax rates while increasing the tax base works to generate greater revenue. Most people cannot even identify the Laffer Curve much less give a quick explanation on how it works. Candidates need to have that quick-guide ready to explain. it is simple math with a parabolic function. However, most voters don't want to recall freshman year high school algebra in order to know how a candidate intends to pay for all these government services while taking less out of their paychecks.

Be exciting. Bush may not have had the best "rock star" persona. However, he rocked it harder than Al Gore. Clinton went on television and jammed his saxophone. Obama has his little south-side thug appeal. Reagan showed he had a backbone, telling hecklers to "shaddap" and telling debate moderators to allow his opponents to speak. Mitt has boardroom appeal. That didn't translate too well to those outside of his base.

Newt Gingrich's highest debate performance ratings came when he challenged the media bias. He showed he was willing to fight. That is what people want, somebody who has solid beliefs, a plan, and is willing to fight for it.  Not only do the candidates need to be prepared to fight on behalf of their platform and base, they need to fight against false narratives. Meet them head-on. Expose the distractions and lies as what they are. Show proof that the common voter can understand.

Despite the fact that "safety nets" such as Medicare, Social Security, and Food Stamps are not responsibilities or authorities allowed to the federal government per the US Constitution (and the 10th Amendment), the fact is that people have gotten used to them. Conservatives and Socialists both have segments that embrace these things. The fact remains, though, that they are bankrupt. Come up with a platform that reforms these illegal federal programs and returns much of the running of  the programs to the state and local levels where they belong.

I can address item by item for pages and pages. The bottom line is that if the party that holds itself to be one of conservatives, it needs to actually be conservative. It needs to present a platform that demonstrates it will work for smaller government and less wasted revenue. That also includes demonstrating the desire to not force morality down people's throats. Make people know that you truly support them having more choice, more liberty, and more say in their own lives. Then show them how that leads to the opportunity for a more successful pursuit of happiness.