On one side you have those who would go the same direction the rest of the world is going, but in a much more “pragmatic” and “realistic” way. They figured out most of the world’s problems between the 13th and 18th hole on Friday. Libertarians and Social Conservatives call them RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).
The other side of the GOP is a coalition are the “Evangelicrats” aligned, strangely enough, with the Ron Paul crowd (aka: Paul-bots). Evangelicrats would have you believe that every Founding Father was a born-again evangelical and that, regardless of the polling, “We The People” always and overwhelmingly agree with them. The Ron Paul segment of this strange coalition is itself a diverse group consisting of constituencies ranging from Ayn Rand atheists to true Libertarians to chronic discontents and crazies who love the cult-like atmosphere surrounding Ron Paul.
I paint with a broad brush and the variables for individuals within these two major armies within the GOP are too numerous to stereotype down to the individual RINO or Right-Winger. We basically, however, have “Democrat-light” on the left side of the Party and the always principled and angry hyper-right on the other side with very few in the middle where wisdom and principled leadership usually reside. (For what it’s worth, I believe base human nature is always liberal so the burden is on those with Judeo-Christian or Libertarian values to be accessible and relevant instead of chronically angry and weird if they want to be taken seriously.)
So what did people like me who doesn’t identify at all with either camp need to hear from the Republicans? What does does the average blue-dog Democrat (do they exist anymore?) or the moderate to conservative Independent voters need to hear from the Republicans to consider kicking Obama out of office? How can a Party at war with itself present a message of unity that inspires a nation to support it?
I believe we need to hear tough yet tender talk about long-term ramifications and solutions to the economy. We need to hear something like the “A Time For Choosing” Reagan speech. Over the long haul, I believe Americans are going to need to see principles in action to continue taking the party seriously. Most of us agree that this election is about ballooning deficits and debt at home along with a European and worldwide debt crisis. Most Americans agree there is a growing middle-Eastern and Far-Eastern threat in the form of Iran, Russia, and China and their increasing ability to bully the West economically and militarily. The problem is that Republicans generally talk tough during the campaign but find governing scary and quickly become motivated by fear of the next election. In fairness, it’s a lot easier being liberal. They are usually motivated by what they believe is righteous indignation. That is a motivator that sustains much longer and results in much more bravado than conservatives who fight being seen as championing the principles of the past.
I don’t care if Republicans don’t openly campaign on social issues but, once elected, I expect them to actually do something about these very issues. Make the public message about people’s wallets, but back that rhetoric up with a holistic approach that includes not only cuts taxes, shrinking govt., incentivizes for production and hiring, and an audit of the Fed; but also creates the cultural and societal recipe needed to sustain these reforms. This recipe includes a return to Clinton-era welfare-to-work programs, movement on Federal marriage and pro-life legislation, secure borders, a hand-over of control back to States on education and other issues, and massive sales of Federal Land to States and private American organizations (look at a map of how much land the federal government controls. It’s just stupid.). In short, our nation needs a focus on a sound economy and a repaired social fabric we know will result in increased production and will plug the welfare and entitlement drain.
If the Republican Party and their candidates focus on the economic issues we all agree on, then they can always campaign on popular economic successes while making it clear to social conservatives, evangelicals, and libertarians across the country that their issues are being taken care of too.
A public focus on economic issues with consistent behind-the-scenes work to repair our nation’s social fabric will not only end the civil war within the Republican Party, but just may result in a less polarized citizenry as well.