Vern here. I decided to ask the Orange Juice’s Republican bloggers, as well as some of our good Republican friends, this question, in hopes of some scintillating and enlightening conversation:
“In the wake of this last election and the changing times and demographics, what do you see your Party having done right or wrong so far, and how would you like to see it change (or stay the same) going forward? I just ask as a progressive Democrat who would like to have a viable, reasonable, honest conservative party to butt heads with. Okay, go!”
The GOP failed miserably in three areas:
- Vision. We have absolutely no concept of what “good” looks like for the 21st century. The country’s perception of the Conservative vision is one of nostalgia. We can’t go back in time and that’s how people think of us. Our leaders aren’t willing to stake their political futures on being a bold visionary and that’s killing the party.
- Messaging. We can’t control the conversation and routinely get dragged down rabbit holes where we don’t belong. This has a lot to do with morons at the state and local level who happened to have a (R) sewn to their lapel, but it has a lot to do with the party elders/leaders wanting to be “right” versus “winning”. Your average Democrat is funnier, quirkier, and younger than your average Republican. Participating in a battle of zingers is a losing proposition for Conservatives.
- Plan. We have no idea where we want to take the country, so we’re obviously not communicating it well, and we’re certainly not laying out a road map for how we get there. The only plan that the public perceives a Conservative having is to vote “no”, to pitch fits, or to call Donald Trump when things don’t go our way. While we can’t be a party that only speaks in logical tones; we can hardly be devoid of logic like we are now.
We will never be able to match the Democrat [sic-V.] party in issuing free stuff or to keep pace in every social trend. We have to have more substance and beat the Donkeys with a vision for the future based on enduring American values that stand the test of time: If we don’t become the party that advocates for the perpetuity of the American Dream, we’ll continue to lose.
You want to be the party in power and lead America to its fourth century? Remind immigrants and citizens of why they, their parents, or their grandparents came here in the first place; don’t tell them why they should go home.
I am probably the wrong Republican to ask, since I have had issues with “the party” my entire adult life, but I still have no viable alternative party to register with. Before I say anything about the specific policies that make me nutty I have to say that the GOP is not losing to liberals, we are losing to our own lack of moral compass. We demand accountability in government, but our own Central Committee has not audited its books in years. We have a mess to clean up and we need to begin at home. So by no means am I going on the attack against liberals. The GOP has shot itself in the foot and then through the fog of pain managed to find the strength to reload and fire again into the other foot.
- The party of smaller, less intrusive government has been hijacked.
Instead of hard work and self-reliance, the GOP is embodied by special interests like OCBC, and OC Tax, trough feeders who decry welfare and union pensions while signing up for every “economic development” deal they can put their hands on. “Stop spending” means ALL of us.
Christianity is not a political party. Christ came to change hearts, minds, and lives, not legislation. When the church gets off our butts and becomes salt and light, as we are supposed to be doing, there will be no need to legislate morality. But Legislate your (my) beliefs into law and we create neither moral change nor legal reform. The President has no legal authority to overturn Roe v Wade on abortion nor Griswold v Conn on birth control. Why are we allowing the left to convince women this is our purpose? Let the church be the church and provide safe haven for every terrified pregnant teenager and we do away with the need for Roe v Wade. We must stop blurring that line of legislating religious beliefs, but by no means am I advocating for abandoning those beliefs. We who insist that government is not the answer for social programs then rely on government to be the answer to legislate religious behavior.
On that note, dictating who may or may not marry is not the sign of the party of smaller less invasive government. Europe issues civil marriage licenses and one may have a church wedding to bless that union (or not) and churches may opt out of participating in ceremonies they do not agree with. How did issuing a government license become a religious dictate?
- Deal with the changing demographics:
America is no longer the nation of self employed middle age white men ala Norman Rockwell. Women run our own companies, we vote, and we make the buying decisions in most households. Yet the GOP stand by these morons who spout ignorance about “rape rape” or “shutting that whole thing down” and wonders why they are losing women. Immigrants and children of immigrants trend far more toward family-oriented, fiscally conservative mindsets than native born citizens, yet the GOP ignores entire zip codes as though the Democrats have a lock on ethnic communities. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Republicans decry the welfare state, yet demonize an entire population of hard working self reliant employees simply because they work for government and are therefore unionized. But it is not the librarian who tanked the pension system, it is the middle manager collecting six figures for a job he is not qualified for because he was once someone’s Chief of Staff and needed a safe landing. It is the Republican leadership that gave away that 3 at 50 deal to suck up to a union leader they would never have their pictures taken with that cost us that money. And do not get me started on the lifetime pay and perks of elected leaders for a part time temp job. But please, continue to make the guy who fixes lawnmowers at my local park seem like the center of evil, that’s a great way to build the party.
Wise up, realize this is not your grandpa’s world, and it can no longer be your grandpa’s political party. Put down your cigar and single malt, collect your car from valet parking, and get out beyond the confines of the Balboa Bay Club to find decent hard working people who simply want to see their taxes pay for basic services, and then help them run for office. Quit looking to your moneyed friends to perpetuate the same recycled losers who run for every election (see Harry Sidhu for a prime example) and recognize there are good men and women out there whose love for country and community exceed their bank balances, but if the party gets behind them they could be great Republican leaders.
- Quit blaming the Left:
We lost, fair and square. We can whine about the liberal media failing to report on Benghazi but the RNC ran ads on every one of those media outlets and networks, where was our report on Benghazi? Our own candidate didn’t bother to hammer Obama with it during a debate on Foreign Policy, how can we blame the liberal media? We let the worst President in the history of our nation kick our teeth in, and we let liberal spending overtake State leadership all over the nation. We lost because we stopped being who we are supposed to be. Once upon a time we were the party that believed in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, now we pocket stimulus money for our businesses while griping about spending. If we live out our beliefs and help our neighbors instead of expecting government to do it, we render FEMA irrelevant. Hey, thanks for the trailers but we got it already, go on back to Washington. Instead we are the ones selling FEMA trailers to the government. We lost because the American people see the BS that the RNC is shoveling. We lost because we deserved to. And until we clean up our own act and return to the party of smaller government we will continue to lose.
The party has many ills. That starts with its leadership which creates and attacks bogeymen, like Food Stamp recipients and public sector employees, while Rome burns. They attack others but offer nothing to move the state or country forward, just attack, attack, attack. Throw in rampant cronyism, at least at the local level, that rewards friends at the expense of taxpayers, and ignores the reality of changing demographics. They have become the party that wants to go back, while the world is going forward.
The party is controlled by wealthy extremists who telegraph that they smirk at the average citizen – except that is when they want their vote. Elitist, tilting at windmills, playing to emotions seeking the comfort of days gone by. By imposing litmus tests – Obamacare, abortion, gay marriage – they have alienated increasing numbers and succeeded in becoming irrelevant in California. Will they eventually succeed in doing the same in Texas – a good laboratory to watch.
I read that former Governor Wilson spoke at the Republican “celebration” here in OC on election night, and in an attempt to raise the spirits of a crowd that by then knew they had been whipped in the Presidential race, urged a focus on public sector unions and their benefits. This while Prop. 32 was also going down in flames, in part due to resentment of the big Republican money that poured in from out of state for the yes on 32 campaign. This little performance by Pete is a great illustration of just how out of touch the so called Republican leadership has become. Pete, your time is long over!
Yes, I am a Republican and have been for over 50 years. But it is harder every day to resist moving over to the Independent camp.
Let’s see how Mr. Schroeder’s DUI changes the landscape around here. End of another King Maker?
I think the Republican Party has done wrong entirely in California and the nation as a whole. What has happened in California is happening to the rest of the nation. Expect Arizona and Texas to change big time in the next four to eight years respectively. California used to be reliably Republican until 1988, and this will happen in many states if we do not start becoming inclusive and responsive to the concerns of the people of our nation.
I think for the California Republican Party to succeed, they need to dump the Charles Munger Jr. influence and the influences before the Munger infusion. What happened before Munger did not help and what happened with Munger did not help either. What Charles Munger Jr. did to my party was basically chemotherapy to demonstrate that without reaching out to people who do not fit the stereotypical mold of the Republican Party. Which led to 1974 like results on Election Day. The best advice is to leave the Republican v Republican races to their own devices, and focus on the real races which are the R v D races. Since we got distracted, this was one reason the California Democrats got the supermajority in the legislature.
My other suggestion is to get candidates that fit the district profile. Donna Lowe in AD 41 would of been perfect for the 2001 era District 59, but today’s district 41 did not want her. Republican volunteer organizations and caucus groups should recruit carefully.
I do not expect State Senate Republican leader Bob Huff to visit some Latino families in Monterey Park nor him breaking bread with Log Cabin Los Angeles at Mickey’s. Republicans need to reach out and expand beyond their comfort zone to reach out to new voters.
The election of 2012 was not about the economy, it was about how the Republican Party was symbolically against people instead of being for people. People were fed up being targeted against and they voted for Obama and the Democrats even though they did not have much to show for in the economy. No more lame comments about rape, instead of forcing women to keep their rape conceived children how about giving monetary incentives so the children can be adopted out? Strip out the statements condemning the LGBT population from the California platform, come up with reasonable policies that deal with the reality of the undocumented in our nation instead of just throwing them out or racial profiling such as with SB 1070.
California is not Alabama nor Oklahoma and Republicans MUST face this fact up front. Embrace the Latinos, embrace the gays and change will happen. We want a robust economy so public services can be funded. Because we are squeezing the state out with taxes and odious regulations, people and their small businesses are fleeing which provides a revenue crunch. Making taxes reasonable and regulations easier to comply would be the best way we can raise revenue instead of a tax increase to compensate.
(Was hoping for something a LITTLE more optimistic…
To be updated as we hear from Boutwell, The Pot Stirrer, Bartlett, Bushala, Barry Levinson, and/or Tim Whitacre.)
Whoops – Bartlett says he’s too MAD to write anything right now – mad at DEMOCRATS, who he’s sure are gonna tax us all to death. That’s not good!