Diary

Why Republicans Lost

When Republicans look for a big tent, “all are welcome here” mindset… we lose. A party has to stand for something. The challenge is then to not browbeat or scare others into submission, but rather engage them and persuade them that our way is better. Diluted principles lead to a weak party with no clear vision to offer. It isn’t about the party, it’s about the ideals and principles. Ronald Reagan was successful not only because of his considerable communicative skills, but more so because he believed, right down to his socks, everything he said. His conviction and faith were unshakable. Conveying that depth of belief in a core set of values is what makes people want to join you.So… why did Republicans lose this year? Whether you agree with him or not (I suspect “not”), Barack Obama painted a vivid picture of what his campaign meant and where he wanted it to go. Ronald Reagan did this for Conservatives. He not only articulated the message, he painted the vision. People could see what “Morning in America” looked like, and they wanted to be in that picture. They wanted to live in the “shining city on a hill”. We may be the opposition party now, but we will never be successful running against something. We have to give people a bright, vibrant picture of what they are voting for when they vote Republican. It really is about hope and dreams. We have to get back to a basic message, solid principles, and a clear vision. Then, we find a way to make people see it and feel it.Republicans support my America. In my America, people can fail. In my America, we help them learn from those mistakes, pick themselves up, and encourage them to try again. In my America, success doesn’t always come easy. That makes it all the sweeter when you finally attain it. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party would have people believe that “yes we can” is only possible with the help of the government. We don’t say “yes we can” a lot in my America. Instead, brave, hard working individuals stand up and say “yes I can”. In my America, the government protects my Constitutional rights and clears away barriers to my success. They do not cheapen my achievements by creating artificial success. They don’t discourage me by telling me that I can’t succeed without their help. In my America, my accomplishments may be small, but they are mine and I can take pride them. That’s why I am a Republican.We need people who can hear the Democratic message, smile and say “there you go again”. The critical follow-up is the ability to paint an alternate picture of America that makes people smile, and proud to wave the flag. If we do, we will win. Backtracking and compromising our message will add to the air of defeat around the GOP, and no one wants to join the losers. Our message did not fail. We never effectively communicated our message.I am a motivated volunteer who has worked hard since May of 2007 for candidates who inspired me. We should always expect, and demand that our leaders inspire us. A consensus candidate may get my vote, but they won’t get my help. I suspect that I’m very representative of the needed activists out there. I would urge you all to not find “consensus” candidates next time. Instead, find brave champions and true-believers who can convince those that disagree with us, that we just may have something here. Find candidates who can make people believe, right down to their socks, that “yes I can”.Steve Smith