I was once an elected Republican. I started the College Republicans at my school. I served as the state chair of the College Republicans in Georgia. I have worked for more than two decades to get Republicans elected. But more and more I cannot tell you what it means to be a Republican other than opposition to Barack Obama. I want to be for something, not just against someone. And I surely do not want to be for a party that thinks the problem is Democrats in charge of government and not government itself.
As a former political consultant I know most people want to vote for something or someone, not against something or someone. That, frankly, is one reason why Mitt Romney lost in 2012. He did not really give people something to vote for. He just assumed people would vote against Barack Obama. But a majority liked Barack Obama even if they disagreed with him. New polling shows a majority of people who voted for Barack Obama regret doing so, but they don’t regret not voting for Romney.
What does the GOP stand for?
I know what conservatives stand for — limiting government, local control, free markets, and life. But what of the GOP?
Many of those in charge of the Republican Party and their allied talking heads in the press claim the GOP is conservative. While that is what they preach, in practice they too expand the government. They want Washington calling the shots. They turn the free market toward their large donors. They prefer to not make eye contact on social issues. They focus on Wall Street, not Main Street. They, like the Democrats, offer platitudes to middle class, while ignoring middle class economics for Davos dalliances.
The basic message of Republicans in Washington these days is that they can control the Democrat created leviathan better than the Democrats. They will tinker with it, mend it, and control it. But we know they cannot. When last the GOP ran everything in Washington we got Medicare Part D, an expanded federal role in education, and eventually their assistance in banning the incandescent light bulb.
If the Republican Party returns to power in Washington, the same people who did all that will again be in charge. They will still stand for nothing unless a poll or billionaire tells them otherwise. In short, the modern Republican Party has abandoned its convictions to billionaire donors and crappy pollsters.
There are elements of the Republican Party not in office who see the GOP as better than the Democrats and are, consequently, willing to trust in those in charge. They view the need for majority as so critical that they resent any and all boat rocking that might jeopardize the chance for a majority. Their concerns are very valid. The GOP would be better than the Democrats.
But then there is my camp — we believe the GOP should offer more than better technocratic management of the leviathan. The GOP should not just preach small government, but practice it. And most importantly, we cannot do those things or offer new ideas with the same faces in charge. We cannot relate to the middle class and Main Street if the puppet masters of the party are coastal elite billionaires who think Wall Street is Main Street and have grown detached from the conservative concerns of working moms and dads trying to make ends meet.
I’m not willing to settle for just taking back the Senate. I want to take back my country. And I don’t want to take it back from the Democrats, but from Washington itself. That is impossible with a Republican leadership intent on telling me what Washington can do for me if only I would let them help.
I want Washington to leave me the hell alone. And the only way that is possible is this fight now in the Republican primaries. The patricians of the party must be defeated if we are to be left alone. If we do not change the face of the GOP, we will want change Washington. And if we do not change Washington, we can never change our country.
We must challenge and replace Republicans. We must fight. We must.