You Republicans got spanked on November 4 – hard. Obama won by a landslide, and the House and Senate have a Democrat majority. No, I'm not gloating; neither of the two major parties and their candidates appeals to me in their current configuration.
In the aftermath, all the talk shows and news programs are abuzz about the future of the Republican Party. Bush is to blame; McCain couldn't articulate his position; Sarah Palin was an embarrassing running mate; bad timing with the economy, etc. Certainly all those factors played some part, but the fact is that the Republican Party has nothing to offer these days.
Once upon a time, the Republican Party stood for fiscal conservatism, minimal government, and a strict, none-of-your-business policy when it came to personal privacy and government intrusion into one's life. Stay out of my pocket, stay out of my business, and stay out of my life used to be the Republican credo.
Of late, the Republican Party has identified with the religion and family values crowd, and there is no shortage of new legislation proposed and enacted to appease this demanding new constituency. When it comes to spending money, the last eight years of financial bingeing is as much the fault of the Republicans as the Democrats – even more considering they had a majority position for most of that time. And Republicans seem committed to continue dumping hundreds of billions into the Middle East cesspool. Let's face it, Republican pandering to their newfound constituency and constantly using taxpayers as an ATM has redefined the party, and is the reason they are the losers in this election. Ten years ago, who could have foreseen the shift in the Republican Party platform from championing less government and fiscal conservatism, to promoting faith-based programs and policing morality?
So, do you Republicans want to win back America? You can if you want. The Democrat sweep of this election is not because everyone was so in tune with the Democratic Party and their platform. It's because they're sick of the last eight years and what the Republican Party had to offer: Frat Boy, Grandpa, Hockey Mom, billion dollar bailouts, and a never-ending war. People are pissed and they saw the Democrat option as the lesser of two evils. I think most people who voted for Democratic candidates are not dedicated Democrats; they are moderates who wanted change from the past eight years and saw no alternative. At heart, I think most Americans are moderate, not far-left PC liberals or right-wing evangelical fanatics. And Republicans can win these people back if they return to what the Republican Party once was. The new Republican platform is simple:
* Minimize government and spending (that means radically slashing, not just slowing growth).
* Cut taxes to 15% of income, max.
* Lead the way on alternative energy and fuels.
* Forget the evangelical constituency. They have nothing to offer the future.
* Take on a pro-choice position.
The last issue is critical. Many, many moderates and fiscal conservatives lean to the Democrats only because of their pro-choice position.
The Republican Party can become the party of moderate conservatives; a demographic and political outlook I believe describes the majority of Americans. We are looking for leadership in that direction. Let the far-left liberals and right-wing evangelicals stay on the fringe where they belong. Neither group has anything to offer.
So Republicans, why not give it a try? At this point in time, you have nothing to lose. By the way, the Democratic Party has this same opportunity to appeal to moderates, but they are probably too busy planning to screw up the next eight years.
– Matthew Hardy
Matthew Hardy is the author of A Culture of Crybabies: The 21st Century World of Wimps, Whiners, and Victims.