The Blog

Opine Needles

The Blog

Take the High Road

Well, I reckon most of you feel about the way I do; lousy.

There are two roads to traverse from here; high or low. I encourage you to take the high road.

What happened? Two things-

  1. The composition of the American electorate is evolving, and an unfettered message about growth, free markets, free will, and strong defense is simply no longer enough to sway the changing (and voting) face of America
  2. The Republican Party needs to reach out more successfully to emerging voting blocs; in particular, single interest oriented women and Hispanics.

There is no point languishing in recriminations. Governor Romney ran a good campaign, and was not beaten by ideas. He was beaten by fear.

  • He was beaten by women who were convinced Romney would take away their access to contraceptives or abortion.
  • He was beaten by Hispanics who believed he would close the door of opportunity to them.
  • He was beaten by senior citizens who think Republican policies will kill them.
  • He was beaten by African Americans, many of whom voted to re-elect someone with their skin color. (That is not racist, folks. That is a fact, supported by numerous exit polls. I am not rendering judgement.)
  • He was beaten by Superstorm Sandy, and Chris Christie’s interesting behavior in its aftermath.
  • But what’s done is done. This is not the time for the House of Representatives to crawl into its hole. If the President is smart, he will reach across the aisle (something he has not done in 4 years) and engage Republican leadership in a constructive dialogue. If the Republican leadership is smart, it will let itself be engaged. The ball is now in the President’s court. Will it be 4 more years of gridlock, or will he try to get something done? Only time will tell.

    The Republicans need to lick their wounds and get serious about what it will take to begin to be more appealing to a broader base. The talking heads on the far right who maintain that the solid conservative base does not need to spread its wings are wrong; full stop. Nothing stays the same. This is not 1980. Indeed, in 2016, it will not even be 2012.

    The Republican Party is the party of ideas. It’s Rubio, Portman, Daniels, Ryan, Cantor and others. We have not always held the intellectual high ground, but we do now. The democrats will continue to be led by the likes of Biden, Reid, and Pelosi. It should not even be a contest. But the people have spoken and they say it is very much a contest. So it’s time to redirect the message, and put some more people in the Big Tent.

    It can be done, but to do it, the Republicans need to take the high road.

    Chins up-

    More to Follow


    • Mark Rennie

      Certainly a more credible explanation than saying half the electorate are selfish takers. (Of course, I would argue the fears you enumerate were well-founded and reject the gratuitous swipe at Gov. Christie given what he’s up against. But whatever.) The shared foe is runaway spending not the character of recipients or the myths behind dependency paradigms. Callousness, indifference and reproachfulness are never policy; fiscal responsibility and smarter government are. If there is any mandate here it is a rejection of the worn anti-New Deal refrain that government is inherently malevolent and counterproductive. Modernizing conservatism to attract ascendant demographics means among other things leaving these old canards behind. (Most of them are utterly unintelligible to many 21st Century voters.) The single issue abortion voter is a conundrum to be sure as an approach either way alienates the other; hence, the eleventh hour observations by Romney (and notably Henninger in the WSJ) that nothing would have happened there in a Romney Administration anyway. To his credit, Gov. Romney emerged with a more palatable modern conservatism message late in the race, but his own obeisance to the Tea Party ideologues in control during Primary and Convention season had done him in.

    • Tom Keene

      Jim, nearly all the good young reformers are in the GOP, and you’re dead on that a consistent, aspirational message will help draw others in. The intellectual engine of progressivism is about out of gas, which will become evident when we (soon) run out of money. Time to get back to work, building the coalitions to achieve the reforms that are desperately needed to leave the country in better shape for our kids, and — as we Texans know as well as anyone — for the people yet to come here from other places. We reached for and attained loftier goals in the past and will do it again. Your voice is a great contribution to the movement.

      • Opine Needles

        Thank you very much for your kind words. We are aligned! We just need to get after it, and make it perfectly clear that the flaps to our tent are open, and we represent the path to prosperity. It will not be easy to get through these next few years. We have no choice but to stay focused on the huge task at hand.

    • Waite

      I agree with the “High Ground” but my god it is a party with the core being individual rights and freedom and free enterprise! How does this jive with those that fight to end individual rights and emphasize a view of the world that is so limited by their religious prejudices? You know that I believe in economic freedom, intellectual integrity and free enterprise. What have I done for 35 years!!?? But build a base of people that have an intellect and contribute to America!