So Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is out with a plan for a "new" version of the party. It includes greater "outreach" efforts toward minorities, women and young voters--and changing the perception that it is the "party of the rich". Some party members are probably relieved to hear that Priebus is recommending procedural changes--rather than dramatic dogmatic shifts in policy or platform. The last thing we needed was a choice between Democrats and "Democrats Lite" from now on.
The full report came up two pages shy of 100--so to reach that nice round figure, can I suggest a couple more items?
Page 99--Get more conservatives involved in local politics. I know Tip O'neill was a Democrat, but he was absolutely correct when he said "All politics is local". Give people a reason to vote for conservatives EVERY election cycle. If you favor small government and limited spending, who are your candidates this year for Oshkosh Common Council or School Board? Or for the past couple of election cycles? By forfeiting the real "grass roots level" of government to liberal, the GOP is only making it harder to win races higher up on the ballot. Experience gained by seeking these smaller offices--and the recognition built by serving at that level--gives Democrats an advantage as politicians try to move up the totem pole. It also creates a system of giving--as donors who support small time campaigns tend to move right along with "their man" or "their woman" to the next race.
Page 100--Be patient. American politics--like the weather--is cyclical. Ask Democrats what they were thinking following the elections of 1984 or the old time GOP folks what it must have been like in 1964. Those involved in the political process lose touch with the "regular voter" who isn't nearly as hardcore in their political beliefs. Opinion--and voting patterns--swing wildly. And often times, the actual person running--and their appeal--is more important that the message they convey. So Republicans just need to wait for the political pendulum to swing back in their favor--along with a crop of new candidates not perceived as out of touch and wishy-washy on the issues.
Democrats have sown the seeds of their own downfall already. Huge entitlement program expansions that will saddle the economic recovery and place further stress on individual budgets will provide strong talking points for Conservative candidates for years to come. And since voters usually consider their wallets--and their job security--first when they head to the ballot box, staying on point about economic issues will score points in future elections. Even the most hardcore Democrats like Bill Maher are starting to say "just how much are we going to ask people to pay?"
The GOP doesn't so much need to roll out "version 2.0" in the next couple of years--it just needs to recommit to being party "Number 1".