The Republican Party has never been in more dire straits. After a great deal of mismanagement during the recent administration, instead of being synonymous with traditional values or fiscal conservation, it has become synonymous with war, irresponsible money management, and outdated modes of thinking. If the party is to have any chance this upcoming election, it needs to move past its current state and find a new message to present. No longer can the republicans simply be the party of opposition to the democrats. Contrarian politics are what cause things like the Civil War and the current budget circus in Sacramento.
By opposing scientifically proven things like climate change as vociferously as it has, the republicans have demonstrated not a savvy skepticism, but stubborn pigheadedness. By opposing things like gay marriage, the party has shown a willingness to invade into the people’s personal lives and deny rights frivolously. By opposing things like welfare in any circumstances, the GOP appears to be callous and uncaring.
What the party needs to work for now is an image of pragmatism. Rather than simply focusing on far-right stances, the party needs to emphasize its moderation over more extremist liberal ideals. Instead of supporting cuts of benefits across the board, regardless of economic situation, emphasize the need for programs during lean times, but chide the democrats for wasting money in good times on increasing said programs. Work with the cycle, rather than against it. Emphasize smart policy decisions, rather than traditionalist pandering. Bring the intelligence back to the Party.
This may be a stretch, but ask for reduction of vitriol in such popular Right wing pundits as Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. As fun and politically motivating these rabble-rousers may be, for too long all that has come out of their mouths (or pens) is negativity and hatred. This again, creates a rather hostile image of the Republican Party. The voice of the Republicans should be a reasonable, clear headed person, like George Will, rather than a pompous, hypocritical braggart, like Rush Limbaugh. Though Rovesian work redefining the moderate into moderate right was admirable, it only creates the problem of culpability whenever the country goes in the wrong direction, as it has several times in the last eight years.
"Since the Right leaning environment led us into this situation," people are reasoning, "a left leaning one should get us out." The key to fighting this is to exaggerate how far left the country is really moving. Work on the Obama campaign, comparing him to a socialist was actually very effective. The campaign, however, was lost simply on the Palin gambit. Like Kerry in ’04, the party picked possibly the worst choice for a political candidate as was possible. Republicans probably would have garnered more votes by choosing Ron Paul as a running mate than Sarah Palin. At any rate, you need to move responsibility from the right to the left in order to gain the sympathy the Dems have had for the last four or so years.
Emphasize the effect of the newly democratic congress (in ’06) on the economy. Point out the multitudinous ways that the Right could have done better than them. Try to avoid berating the people for voting Democratic, as the Dems did after the Gore-Bush fiasco. Treat the voters as wayward sons, and accept them back into the fold. The message here should be “Yes, we know you made the mistake of voting Democratic, but that’s okay. We still love and accept you.” See if you don’t see a Right congress in ’10 and Mitt Romney as prez in ‘12