Republicans must seize control of their image and messaging, defeating the lies and distortions of the President and the liberal media, and drown out their own extreme members.
If you asked your average American or European citizen about the Republican party’s positions on the issues, they would describe a party that would seem impossible to support. Republicans, they would say, are against women’s rights, gay rights, are prejudiced against blacks and hispanics, believe the handicapped should not be supported by taxpayer-funded government programs, that the poor should be left to fend for themselves, and that they don’t care about the environment, the elderly, or anything else except for their own interests and money. Republicans have allowed themselves to be defined this way, and it is killing the party that is in actuality the only potential savior from liberals and President Obama’s goal of “fundamentally transforming…” the greatest and most free country on the planet.
Republicans need to be consistent, omni-present, and relentless with a drumbeat of what the mainstream of the party’s messages really are, including:
1. Republicans are for women’s rights, women’s equal pay, access to birth control and quality healthcare. We don’t agree that taxpayers should fund birth control except when prescribed for non-reproductive medical reasons, or when provided to women in poverty for either birth control or other medical purposes. But we believe women are equal, have special circumstances that need to be allowed for (e.g. maternity leave), and that they should have access to birth control.
2. Republicans strongly support immigration rights, and value the incredible contributions of particularly hispanic immigrants. And while Republicans have great concerns about the 11-18 million illegal immigrants in this country, we have no plans to send anyone who hasn’t been convicted of a non-immigration related crime back to their country. We are for a path to permanent residency for positively contributing and law abiding illegal immigrants. However, we are strongly against allowing the population of illegal immigrants to expand due to additional illegal boarder crossings. From here forward we want the borders controlled, and we want to deal fairly and humanely with those illegals that are here.
3. Republicans are struggling with the issues surrounding policies towards homosexuals. While we believe that homosexual couples should have all the rights of heterosexual couples including medical and tax benefits and the like, we believe the term “marriage” is defined as a legal bond between a man and a woman. This position, however, does not mean that we want to intercede in any other rights-based issues for homosexuals and we want them treated equally and fairly in our society.
4. We believe that global warming and environmental challenges are serious and worthy of government attention and investment. We believe the exaggerations of the left and by strong interest and lobbying groups make the situation appear far worse than it is, but we do believe that it is prudent and right to take measures to ensure the environment is protected for generations to come. As such we believe in expanding solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear power, but this should be done in a balanced, prudent fashion instead of in an emotional, job-killing, special-interest based fashion.
5. We believe that everyone should have access to quality medical care in our country, especially the poor and those with special needs or pre-existing conditions. We should say this loud, clear, and over and over again. However, we don’t agree with changing the healthcare industry for the very satisfied 90% of our population to serve that 10% that don’t have coverage. We should make allowances for that 10%, develop and fund programs that take care of that 10%, but not significantly change the care of the satisfied 90%. We are also for tort reform (a special interest strongly protected by the President, all while he cynically decried “interest groups”) which would significantly reduce the cost and risks in medical care.
6. We believe government can and does do good, but that a government that is too large and too invasive in our lives can lead to tyranny, and we are already seeing signs of this. With the healthcare takeover generating 22,000 pages of regulations, with Mayors telling us what size sodas we should drinks, and nearly everything we touch and that moves being taxed, and taxed higher. A President, Republican or Democrat, should not be able to make their own laws, defer their own laws (see Obama’s illegal changes to Obamacare). Government is necessary, but should be small and limited. We also believe that government expenditures are the least efficient way to spend money and grow an economy, and that every dollar not paid to the government but instead left in the hands of the citizenry is a dollar that will be 3-4 times more productively deployed, and that a goal of leaving as much money in the hands of our citizens is the very foundation of a free society.
7. We believe that before we increase taxes on our citizenry, which should be a last resort, we should streamline our government, pay government employees on the same scale as their private sector counterparts, eliminate (over time) the gratuitous retirement and healthcare benefits they have, and that we should dramatically reduce waste. As an analogy, we should clearly state that our governments are like a house with the heat running full blast in Winter, but the windows and doors are all open– and that you can’t take any more money from us to heat that home until you close most of those doors and windows.
8. We believe America is at grave risk from its enemies. Some of this we have seen manifest itself already, but there is much more brewing that is invisible to most of us. We must declare our enemies for who they are, and we must pro-actively destroy them before they reach our people and assets overseas, and before they reach our shores. We lose sight of the fact that the world is a very dangerous place, and we need to take extraordinary measures to protect ourselves.
9. We believe in the Great Society and New Deal, and that entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Unemployment, and Food Stamps are perhaps the most valuable contribution of American government. However, we also believe that these programs are being exploited by millions of our citizens, and that hard-working taxpayers are funding the lifestyles of many people who could and should be working, but choose not to. This is not fair to these taxpaying citizens. In addition, these programs tend to create a culture of dependence, and every major effort of reform designed to reduce this culture of dependence has been effective (see the Clinton/Gingrich welfare reform bill, which many screamed would destroy the poor when the opposite actually happened).
10. As stated above, we strongly believe in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Democrats say they do as well, but they are allowing these programs to be destroyed. Medicaid and Social Security are on their way to bankruptcy, and they must be reformed. This is not a matter of being for or against the poor, this is a matter of financial fact. We believe in these programs, and we believe they must be reformed and funded in a way that makes them sustainable so that they will be available for all our generations to come. Without this reform, they will be gone in 20-30 years, and the longer we delay these reforms the more difficult it will be to save the programs and to continue their positive impact. There is no humanity in defending these programs without reforming them, allowing them to collapse.
Because the press is mostly liberal (at last check 87% were Democrats), and because the President is totally comfortable lying and distorting Republican views, and because we have a few very vocal extremists in our party (happily elevated by the liberal press), mainstream Republicans and conservatives must triple their efforts to communicate our key messages. We cannot allow us to be defined by our opposition, we must define ourselves.