Republican New Year’s Resolution

Bill Neinast

This is the time for New Year’s resolutions.  So here’s one for the Republican Party.

The Party resolves to stop or quit imploding in 2014.  The exact time a deadly virus started this implosion of the GOP--the Grand Old Party of small republican forms of government guaranteed by the Constitution that stay off the backs and out of the bedrooms of people--is the morning of Jan 22, 1973.

That is when the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Roe vs Wade.   That seven to two decision decreed that the Texas law prohibiting abortion was unconstitutional. 

The Republican Party had been the stalwart for free enterprise and keeping the government at bay and was thus an illogical nesting place for any movement to reinstate abortion and intrude into bedrooms.  Nonetheless, that is where the virus to control women’s lives established its home.

The virus is so virulent that it has turned Republican against Republican.  No longer are contests for Republican votes based on issues of governance like the economy, national security, a fair tax, and the environment.  Now the contests are about which candidate is the most conservative; i.e., who is the staunchest opponent of abortion, gay rights, and citizenship for illegal aliens.

This social agenda was most apparent in the 2012 contests for the Republican nomination of a candidate for the Presidency.  In the debates, the candidates literally slaughtered each other in trying to prove which one was the most opposed to abortion under any circumstances.  

The virus was also deadly in down ballot races.  Two Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate blew their excellent chances to unseat Democrat opponents by not taking the usual tactic of obfuscating or refusing to answer questions designed to trap them.  When asked about their stance on abortion, instead of answering that that was not an issue in the campaign and segueing into a discussion of the fair tax, they would expound on their beliefs that, regardless of the circumstances, when a sperm meets an egg in a woman’s uterus, the union must be borne to term.

Republican candidate Todd Akin was expected to unseat a weakened Senator Clair McCaskill for the Missouri Senate Seat in the 2012 elections until he let himself be drawn into his beliefs on abortion.  To make sure he was in with the Republican social base, he claimed to be against all abortions, even if rape is involved because, in his view, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”  The result was that McCaskill retained her seat.

Similarly, in the race for an open Indiana Senate seat, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock blew his lead in the polls by claiming, "And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."  The Democrat candidate Joe Donnelly went on to win the race.

Until Republicans learn to delete these issues from their platforms and to avoid any mention of them in debates, the chances of the party becoming the majority party are slim to none.

There are already indications that the lessons mentioned above are going to be ignored.  In a recent campaign solicitation letter for a Republican candidate for a statewide office in Texas, the very first plank in his platform or argument was his strict opposition to abortion.  He got around to things like the economy, the budget, and education way down on the bottom of the page.  

Conversely, the mail also brought an indication that serious work is being done to maneuver the virus into remission.  A letter from the College Republican National Committee almost went immediately into File 13.  On a whim, however, I decided to see what the youngsters are up to and opened the file.

What a refreshing breeze that brought.  The opening statement is, “Today I want to share with you some of the results of our report ‘Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation’.”  Then the letter focuses on these five action points.

Focus on the economic issues that affect young people today: education, the cost of health care, unemployment.  Capture the brand attributes of intelligence, hard work, and responsibility.  Don’t concede “caring” and “open-minded” to the left.  Fix the debt and cut spending, but recognize that messages about principle and “big government” are the least effective way to win this battle of ideas with young voters.

Go where young voters are and give them something to share.

There was not a single word about those social issues that are strangling the grey beards and blue hairs now controlling the party.  That gives some hope that the patient will survive and that the virus can be controlled.

So here’s the perspective.

New Year’s Resolutions normally are observed and followed for about two weeks.  The resolution suggested above for the Republican Party to quit imploding in 2014 probably will not survive that long.

That would require putting social issues on the back burner.  The Republican campaign literature already circulating for statewide offices indicates that is not likely to happen.

The political climate today is excellent for the Republicans to regain control of the Senate. The only hope for Republicans to do so, however, is to follow the lead of the College Republican National Committee.

Unfortunately, however, it appears that following that lead has about the same chance as any New Year’s Resolution.


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