In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal , Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi, former Washington lobbyist, and RNC Chairman, offers some interesting analysis on the “nuts and bolts” of rebuilding the GOP.
Barbour, is now presently serving as Governor of Mississippi and has led legislation leading to some of the nation’s toughest tort reform, balanced Ms.’s budget, and jump started their failed educational system.
From the Wall Street Journal,
WSJ-Haley Barbour has a message for Republicans still dispirited by the November elections: “We’ve been in a lot worse shape than this. . . . read more…
Governor Barbour is actually correct and as he points out after the Watergate debacle only 16% of Americans identified with the GOP brand. This, Vietnam, the economy, and even possibly Gerald Ford’s pardoning of Nixon were all factors which led to Jimmy Carter taking the White House in 1976.
Barbour goes on to diagnose what resulted in the GOP massacre of 08′.
WSJ-One of his biggest worries is that voters have lost confidence in Reaganite free-market principles. “The last few times that we’ve lost elections, it has not been because voters changed their mind about our policies, it’s been because they changed their mind about us,” he explains. “They decided that we hadn’t adhered to the policies and principles that they had thought they were voting for during that election.
With the bailout and government dependence mentality sweeping through America like wildfire, fiscal conservatism can serve as the main platform for the GOP. Especially when this mess gets even worse over the next few years. No one has even answered the question as to how these stimulus and bailouts are going to be paid for. Unfortunately, in the back of our minds we all know the answer, “much higher taxes.” Whether you are a Neocon, Evangelical, Paulinite, Paleocon, Libertarian, etc. the issue of fiscal responsibility is the unifying link between all of these factions.
In a sense, the Liberal spend, spend, spend philosophy could potentially breath life back into the GOP. When people start seeing that their spending and saving power is becoming drastically reduced, they will be looking for leadership which will assist in returning this to them. This is a grand opportunity for Republicans not to reinvent themselves, but return to fiscal conservatism. However, if the Repubs wants to remain in power, they will need to stick to this core principal and never abandon it again.
Barbour then talked about the 20-somethings, who assisted Obama sweeping into office, and engaging the electorate.
WSJ-“Now is our chance when we’re out of power to build back up from the bottom, to have a participatory, inclusive process for letting people get involved in our party. Barack Obama proved something that I’ve seen time and time again: if you’ll give people a chance to participate in politics they’ll knock your door down. And the Democrats did a whole lot better job of that than us this time.”
Another worrisome trend he mentions is the youth vote. “We’ve got young people who voted for Obama by better than a 2-to-1 margin.
As these naive 20 somethings, pissed off moderates, disenfranchised Republicans, and Independents start to realize the “change” they were promised is more expensive than what they saw under the Bush years. Mind sets will more than likely change towards what people want out of government. It is easy for a college kid, who pays little to nothing on taxes, to fall prey to the hypnotic message of “hope and change you can believe in.” As well as the politically tired and older electorate. Nevertheless, what you can believe in is that they will be broke.
Another point is engaging the voters and making them think about your message. With Rebuild the Party and other similar organizations popping up, the GOP is slowly learning to manipulate technology to its advantage. Generating voter databases, using social rings like Twitter, blogs, and opening up dialogue between constituents and candidates might prove to be the best strategies.
The pool of Republican talent is another venue to look at. The best chance the GOP has is selecting candidates from its pool of fairly impressive Governors who embrace the new technologies and support the message of fiscal conservatism. Not failed RINO Senators who have been waiting in line for their turn to run for the POTUS.
How these Governor’s states perform over the next few years might be indicative of their potential as a strong GOP candidate for 12′ or 16′. Running candidates who have ties to a Congress with approval ratings in the single digits is foolish. Moreover, a governor tends to have a more definable record when it comes to their political activities, the results of their successes or failures are easier to see than a Senator or Representative.
There have been some very harsh and painful lessons the GOP has had to learn since the bloodbath began in 06′. Nevertheless, pain can sometimes be a very enlightening path to follow, especially when it teaches you about your mistakes.
A analysis of the only major GOP victory in the US, the state of Louisiana.