Posts Tagged ‘Reform’

The Republican Party of Strategies and Tactics

November 21, 2008

There is an enormous amount of talk right now in the Republican Party about what the election results mean and how they should impact the future of the Republican Party.

It appears that there is a consensus that we lost – that’s good I suppose – and it also appears that there is an understanding that the nearly abusive level of voter-administered corporal punishment was caused by some sort of systemic failure within the party. Trouble is we can’t quite agree on what that systemic problem is.

David Brooks has labeled the two camps that have developed the Traditionalists and the Reformers. As he explains, the Traditionalists believe voters support our small-government, lower-tax principles but rejected the Party because we abandoned those principles with big-government initiatives. The Reformers, according to Brooks, argue that times have changed and our defeat was the evidence of a party whose priorities and concerns are out-of-step with those of the voters.

They are both wrong. They are both also right.

Of the two generalized camps I certainly agree with the Reformers more strongly – in fact my only disagreement with them is a very slight and very nuanced level of focus. The Traditionalists, on the other hand, are dead-on when they say that the general voting public subscribes too many of our core values and that part of our losses can be attributed to our inability to remain true to them. Where they grossly miss the mark however is in their prescription for the problem.

Who am I and why should my thoughts on the matter be of any consequence to you? I’m no one – just a mid-level campaign hack who loves his party who can no longer stand silent as I watch my party reach a hand out of the toilet to grope for the handle. Based on my name alone there is no good reason why you should pay attention to a word I say – so don’t filter what follows based on what you think of me – base them on the arguments themselves. If I am wrong, I would love to hear your thoughts as to why.

The Republican Party of Strategies and Tactics

There were certainly a number of factors that contributed something to our losses this November – I would even grant that some of those factors were completely out of our control as a party. That said, our problems did not begin with the 2008 election and I strongly believe that there was one factor that, far above any other, has lead to our downfall: We.Stopped.Solving.Problems.

We elect our leaders to solve problems in accordance with the values and priorities we express through the electoral process. If we feel the government is getting bloated and taking too much of our money in the process, we support candidates who commit to trimming government and cutting our taxes.

Problem is for years now the Republican Party has made strategic and tactical perfection in both the policy and campaign arenas our focus at the expense of generating ways to solve the nation’s problems in accordance with our philosophy. And make no mistake, until recently we have been VERY successful to that end.

Am I saying strategies and tactics are bad? Absolutely not – like it or not the best-intentioned candidate with the best ideas in the world who pays no heed to the need for strategic and tactical excellence will have a very hard time winning against an opponent who is largely devoid of ideas but superior in their strategic and tactical approach.

Strategies and tactics in the political realm provide candidates and parties with the ability to efficiently and effectively share their ideas with voters and make the case that they are the better choice. They are tools that are vital to success but they are, at the end of the day, still only tools. They are both the cart and the horse but the greatest vendor in the world, with the strongest horse and most beautiful and ornate cart will still go home broke if they take rotten, moldy fruit to sell at the market.

For a few years now a question has been brewing: what does it mean to be a Republican? A few weeks ago, voters got tired of trying to figure out the answer.

Some of them may not have liked everything he stood for and some of them may have wished for a more detailed list of solutions but they supported Barak Obama anyways because he was able to convince them that he was more likely to solve the problems that concerned them than his opponent.

More to come…