Unity in the GOP?

Have we, as a party, forgotten former President Reagan’s 11th commandment? “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Lately it seems as if we’ve put politics about party.

Example: This weekend was the biannual YRNF Convention in Indianapolis. Young Republicans from all over the nation gathered to listen to topics such as “Rebuilding the Party,” “Libertarians and GOP Synergies,” and “So You Want to Run for Office?” The convention also took time to elect a new Chairperson. Running for the seat was Young Republican Vice-Chairwoman at large Audra Shay and YRNF Director of Media Relations Rachel Hoff. On Wednesday, a day before the conference was scheduled to begin, a news article was featured in an online news source, describing Shay as a racist and quoting comments made by others on her Facebook page. Long story short, one of Audra’s friends posted a racial slur on Facebook and Audra then posted “You tell ’em, Eric. Lol” Now, there are many different explanations to this. Audra could have not seen the post (since it was a second comment he had left simultaneously), she could have failed to click “Read More” as comments aren’t always displayed in their entirety, or any number of other reasons. That’s not the issue. The issue I have with the whole situation is the swift move by Audra’s opponents—within the Republican party—to “leak” this info to liberal and left-leaning blogs just to smear her name.

Whether you like Audra or not, put that aside and imagine how this looked from the outside. I am not a member of the YRNF and therefore had no favorite in this race. But the moment I read of the incident and the slam the other side was promoting against her, my heart sank. I thought we were past inter-party slurs, “brother bashing,” and petty fighting. Again, I’m not saying what Audra did was right or wrong; look at the bigger picture. Once again, our party was shown as a disjointed group of politicians whose message was lost among the finger-pointing. It again proved that inter-party fighting hurts only ourselves.

Long gone are the days of running a campaign on a solid platform. Gone are the days of debates about issues, not people. We see it on every level of government—hit mailers, slanderous articles, and personal attacks. And you know the sad part? The most slanderous materials seem to come within our own party. Republicans fighting against Republicans, committed to a brutal battle for a win at all costs.

What ever happened to working together for the common good? What ever happened to joining forces to promote our cause? We’re so busy fighting among ourselves that we don’t have time to fight against the left.

When will we as a party get it in our heads that we can’t sacrifice party for politics?

The Future of the Republican Party

This is taken from an interview Esquire Magazine did with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Jeb was my governor while I lived in Florida and I greatly enjoyed the work he did in that state. In this interview, Bush talks about everything from the President’s approval ratings, the elections, to the Republican Party. In this particular part of the interview, the interviewer asks Jeb about the future of the Republican Party. Here’s Jeb’s answer: (Republicans, take note. This is the best formula for success I’ve yet to hear.)

Okay, give me your forty-five-second pitch for a Republican future.
[Bush outlines four points, speaking for more than fourteen minutes. It’s worth noting here that after two years out of the governor’s mansion, Bush seems a little out of practice at this interview business.]

We need to empower people to be taking advantage, to turn their fears into opportunities in a variety of different areas. It seems to me four areas of greatest concern right now, outside of foreign policy, which is a whole other subject. [On education.] Are we educating our kids properly? Are enough of our children gaining the power of knowledge in the current system? The answer is unequivocally no. So we should have more school choice, we should have more pay for performance, we should be raising standards, not lowering standards, we should embrace technology in a radical way, we should have “seat time” eliminated.

[Timidly.] Seat time?
You show up for 180 days, you graduate. It should be based on what you learned… People learn differently. It’s a simple fact that our education system ignores.

We’re living in a world now where in order to create high-wage jobs, you have to have knowledge-based workers. There is no way to do that unless they have the basic building blocks of being able to think abstractly, understand math and science, be able to read, maybe once in a while express a thought in a three-syllable word, preferably do so in more than one language, and have a sense of history, because it has this crazy way of repeating itself. I don’t think our education system in America is acceptable right now.

[On health care.] Have you ever gone to HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services]? Have you gone to CMS, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid? It’s scary. That’s going to be the marketplace for health care if Democrats have their way. Senator McCain had a fantastic health-care proposal that he had a hard time explaining, that said that basically you should empower people, individuals, to make choices, and they should be rewarded when they make choices that improve health-care outcomes.

Under Obama, we’re going to create a system that’s not focused on quality; it’s focused on access to care.

You end up insuring fewer people the more government expands its insurance. People drop out of the private market. For every person the government takes on the rolls, there’s an equal number of people leaving the private sector. We’re like gerbils running in place. We’re not expanding health-care access per se.

There are all sorts of technologies now that exist that allow us to improve health-care outcomes if we organize our system differently.

[The budget is the third point.] If you put a performance review on almost any government program, there’s always a better way of doing things.

[Energy is the fourth point.] We don’t have control over our energy sources, and it puts us in a vulnerable position.

[Conservatives need to be involved in the discussion about alternative fuels, Bush says.] We’re the only country in the world that would consider it appropriate policy not to take advantage of our own natural resources to provide stable, low-cost sources of energy.

[A pause. A moment of reflection.]

In this interim period, we have to pay for our sins and show some humility.