Weeks ago, Republicans finally experienced a surge of hope after Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. He drew in Republican, conservative, and independent support from across the nation as he, along with outraged voters, intended to halt Obama and the Congressional Democratic agenda.
He succeeded, winning in a state that Democrats have controlled for decades where Republican voters were outnumbered 3 to 1.
Unfortunately, the Republicans once again bitterly find themselves in a civil war, as the battle for their ideology continues to damage their name. This event was triggered by four Republican Sens., including Scott Brown, who voted in favor of a $15 billion jobs bill that was passed by both the House and the Senate last week. Already, moderate voting within the GOP leaves a bad taste for conservatives.
The 2010 midterm elections are less than eight months away, and despite big gains in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts, Republicans are still struggling to gain control of their party image, tactics and direction. Moderates, such as Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and John McCain (R-AZ), continue to mow the Republican reputation down as their voting history has little to reflect the Republican name.
Republicans were once the party who stood for three Gs: gold, God and guns.
Unfortunately, some moderates have now thrown in gay rights, global warming and government. These additional principles disturb the conservative voters. The foundational base that once stood so strongly has deteriorated over time, and as Republicans continue to reach across the aisle in hopes of bipartisanship, their party image dwindles.
It’s no wonder McCain lost the 2008 presidential race, and it’s no surprise that the GOP took massive losses in the 2006 and 2008 Congressional elections.
The argument is not to discourage bipartisanship, but there is a solid difference between finding common ground and completely forsaking party ideology. Then again, congressman Brown intended to be an ‘independent thinker.’ Kudos for demonstrating that last week. But when this Senator believes that government spending is already out of control and then votes in favor of another outrageous spending bill, a.k.a. taxes, one has to wonder: What makes a liberal Republican different from a Democrat?
The Republican Party needs to seriously reconsider their strategy. Back in January, Republican leaders proposed a litmus test for potential candidates. To qualify, the candidate would have to pass 8 of the 10 requirements on the checklist, including several key conservative beliefs. Instead of exclamations and praises, these Republican leaders were crucified even by Michael Steele of the RNC. Steele blasted the litmus test, claiming the Republican Party was about “addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division.”
As kindly as I can put it, this is where you’re wrong, Mr. Steele. The more you multiply and the more you add, the more compromises you have to make. The more compromises you make, the more voters you scare away. The truth is, a constant base demonstrates consistency, and with Steele’s thinking, the Republicans will not demonstrate enough of that consistency.
Is it really that bad of an idea for moderate candidates to be weeded out through the proposed litmus test? Every election, a candidate will run primarily on a party name and not on a party belief. We saw that when Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Parker Griffith (R-AL) swapped parties within the last year. Could Brown possibly have been another one of those candidates?
As emphasized before, Republicans are in need of a dramatic makeover. While American voters, particularly independents, have leaned away from the Democratic party, some of them are still hesitant to vote Republican as well.
Voters want a conservative candidate, and that’s probably why Senator McCain could face a tough fight against Republican J.D. Hayworth for the Arizona Senate seat. If the GOP does not start embracing true conservative issues, then they could end up as the party swallowed by their own enemy.