At long last, I’m going to announce my choice for Republican Party Chairman. I will not talk about the five candidates I choose not to support at this time. We’ll dish at another time. However, let’s take a look at something that I and most conservatives got wrong.
After the 2004 elections, the Democrats made what most of us thought was a bone-headed choice in selecting big-mouthed loose cannon Howard Dean to run the Democratic Party. We rubbed our hands together to enjoy the series of meltdowns, oh, and Howard Dean had his share.
Yet, we have to say without reservation that Dr. Dean has had one of the most successful party chairmanships of recent years with a solid 50-state strategy that was derided by both left and right. Why did Dean succeed?
First, was that he had a sound strategy and good vision.
Secondly, while some party insiders didn’t believe in him, the grassroots Democrats did, many of whom would be the foot soldiers in the Obama campaign. In a Washington, DC that was led by the hapless Ms. Pelosi and the inept Mr. Reid, Howard Dean got Democrats engaged and believing in the party again. He found the folks who brought the party back in many states, regions, and districts that have left the GOP shellshocked.
The Real Crisis
The Republicans are behind in money, technology, and in reaching out to minorities. But ultimately the GOP doesn’t face a crisis on any of these points.
The GOP crisis is one far more fundamental. It’s a crisis of trust. The proud Republican is a dying breed, limited to Lincoln Day Dinner attendees. Most meetings of grassroots Republicans where politics are discussed begin with the understanding that the party is messed up, dysfunctional, and broken. The only disagreements are how bad, why it happened, and how to fix it.
The idea of the GOP reaching out, adding to its membership, seems rather silly. If it’s own membership is increasingly unenthused, demoralized, and disgusted with its leadership and its direction, how are they going to attract others to join? It’s like trying to be the booster club for the Detroit Tigers. People won’t work their heart out for a party they don’t believe in. They won’t give during a time of economic hardship. They won’t engage.
In the Democratic Party, when demoralization happens, it isn’t so bad. They have Unions that will squeeze people’s paychecks. They build dependency and have constituents who are beholden to them no matter how poor a job they do. There is not compulsion and guaranteed money to move a GOP that has lost its very soult.
The GOP’s success is not a one man show. It can’t be solved by being a great cable TV show guest. It can’t even be solved with a great plan to bring the party back. Any plan that doesn’t include and bring about an enthused grassroots that will implement the plan is worthless.
The GOP base needs to be engaged and brought into the fight. They need to be told that the GOP shares their values and is more than a bunch of power-grubbing White Males in their 50s and 60s working out their own personal issues with a grasping quest for power.
We need to prove to the base that the GOP is worth their time, their money, and their energy. If we fail to, all the rest is irrelevant. While the party needs to reach out, it must have an energized base. Because swing voters won’t get a party and its members to the polls.
I want to be proud to be a Republican again. I want to be part of a party that stands for things rather than just against things. I want to be part of a party that understands the world we live in, incumbent with all of its dangers, and offers solutions. This will not happen without a fundamental change in direction. We need one leader that we can actually trust.
While I believe there are many fine gentlemen running for Chairman, the man who can best bring our party through these next four years is Ken Blackwell.
Ken Blackwell would bring an exceptional dedication to the position of RNC Chairman. His commitment to both fiscal and social conservative values is outstanding. I was initially critical of Blackwell’s support, because it seemed entirely ideological, but through the course of this campaign, he’s shown himself intelligent and thoughtful. He has run a positive campaign that has gained increasing momentum.
He has presented a solid plan for our party’s future. Blackwell’s plan includes key elements like strengthening the party in the midwest, the Northeast, and the South, reaching out to minorities, and embracing new technologies. However, he understands the future of the GOP is in a confident conservative agenda that makes its case to the American people. Blackwell also writes, “We must take a stand against corruption, Republican or Democrat. We can no longer be critical of Democrats while turning a blind eye to scandals and corruption amongst our own.”
In a political process where ethics is often something we expect other people to have, Blackwell’s got the right idea, and it’s a necessary turn for the GOP to take.
I believe Ken Blackwell is the best man to lead the RNC and I give him my unconditional endorsement.