Thursday, April 09, 2009

Republican Dream

Some Republicans describe the party as conservative. But even among conservatives there is no agreement as to what this means. Therein is the problem facing the Republican Party: who are they and why are they

By Raynard Jackson

Some people say dreams are for those that sleep; but dreamers have the ability to build worlds others cannot see.

Republicans constantly talk about the “American dream,” but never define what that dream is and how their policies can help that dream become a reality. They constantly use the mantras of: less government, more individual freedom, lower taxes, etc.

The Obama administration and the current financial crises present a great opportunity for Republicans to define the dream to the nation.

But first, Republicans must define who they are. If they don’t know who they are, how can the American people?

Some Republicans describe the party as conservative. But even among conservatives there is no agreement as to what this means. Therein is the problem facing the Republican Party: who are they and why are they here?

If they are a conservative party, what are they trying to conserve? The Democrats have done an excellent job of defining conservatives and conservatism because the Republicans are too busy fighting each other. If the Republicans are a conservative party, then they are saying that moderates and independents have no place in their worldview. A moderate or independent may be pro-choice or pro-affirmative action, but agree with the party on small government, lower taxes, and a strong defense. But, Republicans spend all their time focusing on their disagreements on issues like abortion, race, religion, etc!

Before Republicans can talk to America, they must first talk to each other. If they can’t agree on what they stand for amongst themselves, how can they persuade the American people on who they are?

There will never be agreement within the party on abortion, race or religion; neither will there be agreement within the country.

As a whole, I think most Americans agree with the Republican’s position of workers keeping more of the money they earn. Republicans have allowed the Democrats to turn this into a class issue. Republicans will lose this argument every time. The party needs to focus tax cuts more on those making half a million dollars and less. They also must talk more to single taxpayers with no kids. This is an often ignored, but growing demographic.

The American people are with Republicans when it comes to having a smaller, more efficient government. But when Republicans speak, the American people hear “no government.” Thus, Republicans are blamed for the current financial mess.

Republicans have a great opportunity to show the country what is the legitimate role for the government relative to oversight of the financial markets. Up to now, their has been no leadership on this issue.

Americans are willing to be persuaded, but Republicans must present real solutions to real problems. If Republicans truly believe in their principles, when will they take them to the market place of ideas?

Will the party leadership place a pro-choice Republican who is experienced in all things financial as the point to lead the party’s response to the financial crisis? Will the party’s leadership place an anti “don’t ask, don’t tell” general as the point on all things military?

Will the Republican Party place a pro-affirmative action, pro-minority set aside Black businessman as the point on small business issues? I think you get my point.

Americans are willing to listen, provided Republicans have something to say. But, they can no longer scare Americans into voting Republican based on what people are against. If they are the party of less government, then they must stay away from issues like Elian Gonzalez and Terri Schiavo.

What is the Republican vision for preventing the financial crises from happening again? What is their response to the North Korea missile test? What is the Republican response to the seemingly endless shooting and harassment of innocent Blacks by rogue policemen (N.F.L. player Ryan Moats or Oscar Grant, who was shot in the back of the head in San Francisco by a policeman while lying on his stomach unarmed)? What is the Republican response to the one foot policy that allows “only” Cubans who touch U.S. soil to stay in the country, but send Haitians immediately back to Haiti?

If Republicans share their vision with the American people, maybe then they will have a reason to wake up!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm. You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. Go to to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.

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