The need for Republican Party reform
Julius Caesar once said that the only thing necessary to conquer the world was men and money. Add message to that list and you've got the fundamentals of politics - as in organization, fundraising and communications.
And our party has problems in at least two of those areas.
The first problem is principles, which goes to our message and not adequately communicating our conservative philosophy - or living up to it.
In spite of what some others may insist, our conservative philosophy is not the problem. In fact, if anything, a failure to abide by that philosophy while in power has helped lead to our current situation. The need is for a better application of our philosophy to the issues of the day and translating that into a political message that's relevant to the average American.
Unfortunately, we got off base with big-government conservatism, or "active" conservatism, as some in that camp prefer to style it. The problem with big government conservatism (apart from its obvious philosophical flaws) is that there are always big government liberals that will shamelessly outbid you every time, (because they know it's not their money anyway). It will never work, nor should it.
We do know what does work however. Reagan showed the way, as did the GOP majority in the mid 90's with the Contract with America. Simply put, be true to our conservative principles. There's no rationalizing any other approach. And it has the virtue of being politically viable.
Next is the "mechanics" or infrastructure part of our problem - as in our party has been out organized, out raised and completely bested technologically.
There are no excuses, only reasons. And it all comes down to leadership.
We haven't invested in the new tools of political infrastructure as we should. We've been too unwilling to adapt such technology due to a fear of loss of control and centralization. We have too many leaders that resent grassroots input; too many who are so stuck in the mindset of the last war that they didn't prepare for the next one, and too many who just have a financial stake in doing things the old way.
This has to change. Yesterday.
Unfortunately, politics doesn't occur in a vacuum. We have determined opposition with ideas that are diametrically opposed to ours, but who are doing a superior job of using the new-tech tools of democracy to package their ideas, ID their supporters and get them to the polls. Further, their methods better allow those supporters to feel a part of the process. Very important.
The point here is that these things are the fundamentals of politics. They don't change. But how they get accomplished is always evolving. And we are WAY behind the evolutionary curve.
The national Republican Party is the vehicle where much of this work should have been done to build the political infrastructure to enable success from the local level all the way to the national level.
But the problem is not just with the national party. It's pervasive at the state levels, local levels and within the leadership of much of the conservative movement itself. We've all been caught flat-footed. It's time to recognize it and call it what it is and determine that we will do whatever it takes to make sure it never happens again.
What's so maddening is that it doesn't have to be this way. There is no legitimate reason why we can't (or shouldn't) have the same assets and advantages as our opposition. Not money. Not a lack of available technology to make it happen. Not a lack of grassroots support. Only a lack of leadership.
That this is the case is a scandal no conservative should tolerate. We're not playing tiddlywinks here. The consequences of inaction are all too real. And they're not just limited to the jobs that certain people won't get, or the issues that won't get addressed, but also the policies that are likely to come from a liberal dominated government; policies that, like the Great Society, could drag down liberty and individualism for years to come. Not to mention the judges that will be appointed to the federal bench will represent a generational loss to the conservative movement.
In a lot of ways, a political party is like a bus. Every few years it pulls over to the side of the road, people get on and off; we argue over a destination and fight over the steering wheel - and then off we go for a few more years. In recent years the people behind the wheel have drifted off in the wrong direction and let the bus get outdated. We need to modernize the bus and get the right people behind the wheel and steer back in the direction of our principles.
To do that, we need the right leadership. At all levels.