The big topic of conversation this week seems to be the in-fighting within the republican party. Some call for a break and the creation of a new party in order to preserve conservative principles that have been abandoned by the GOP. Others argue that a third party is the road to nowhere... a la Ross Perot or Ralph Nader. A third party would arguably take votes away from the republican party without compromising the democrats, which would effectively ensure their control indefinitely. So, without a split in the party, where is the GOP to go from here? Do they embrace the moderates, led by the Meghan McCains of the party, who state that the social conservative issues (i.e. gay marriage, abortion, immigration) are the path to lost elections? Or are the social conservatives (think Huckabee fans) the true base that should not be ignored?
My question is this: why do we have to pick one over the other? Who says that the GOP can't show some diversity? Why is it that we are constantly telling each other to get the hell out of the party? Why aren't we focusing on the common ground? The tea parties have shown that there is a large segment of the population who are in favor of smaller government, less taxes, and personal responsibility. At what point did we give over all control over what it means to be a republican? The democrats have been very successful at branding the GOP as the party of the old, rich, uncaring, white male. They see the desire for smaller government and less taxes and they tell us that this means that we are anti-poor. Is this what we mean? Of course not! But we haven't done a very good job of explaining how personal responsibility relates to charity and helping the less fortunate. The facts tell us that conservatives are much more likely to give to charity than liberals... but you probably haven't heard about that. It's time for us to rally together and to articulate the GOP's message in a meaningful way.
We first need to reach out a hand to what we perceive to be the other side of the aisle within the GOP... if you're a social conservative, embrace the moderates, and vice versa. So you don't believe in gay marriage. Fine. You see yourself as a progressive on social issues? Okay. What we can all agree on is that Obama is leading us in the wrong direction on many issues... and our own party has done a poor job of defending fiscal responsibilty over the last several years. THAT should be the focus for now, especially at a point in time where the deck is stacked heavily against us. The pundits are right; this is a time of restructuring for the GOP. But we have a choice to make; does the restructuring further polarize the party and enforce the negative, closed-minded stereotypes about republicans? Or is restructuring a way for the GOP to become more inclusive and find ways to come together rather than split apart?