Does the GOP gets it?
By now, you have heard that several prominent Republicans have formed a new organization. The National Council for a New America has a stated goal of uniting “leaders from across the country to begin a dialog about how to meet our common challenges and build a strong country through common-sense ideas and solutions that will help every American.” The effort, spearheaded by House minority whip Eric Cantor, intends to bring together party leaders, a panel of prominent experts, and citizen activists in an informal setting for a robust debate. The first such town hall style meeting was held on May 2, 2009 in a suburban DC pizzeria. Cantor was joined by Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, more citizens than the number of Senate Republicans, and several pepperoni pizzas.
Rep. Cantor should be applauded for his efforts to revitalize the GOP from the bottom up. Prediction: Cantor does not fall into the camp of those Republicans who think it is only necessary to simply “re-brand” the GOP. You know as well as I do, that the “brand” is not the problem. The GOP is in the classic position of what happens to every political party after a butt-kicking. The party flounders for a while, struggles to regain its footing, then finds its voice as a leader emerges that leads it out of the darkness.
Optimist that I am, I know it is just a matter of time before the Republicans assume the leadership role. Almost every poll shows that core American values align more closely with those of the Republican party than those of the Democrats. The most recent Rasmussen polls confirm this. It shows that Republicans outpoll Democrats in the Generic Congressional Ballot Republicans are trending upward with Americans as Obama and the Democrats reveal their true collectivist stripes.
Some argue that the best use of the TeaParty momentum is to focus on local level politics. Others promote third parties as a place to throw support. By all means, we need to win municipal and state elections. It is from these local levels that our national politicians and leaders are born. The true long-term viability of the conservative movement resides with these local leaders. But I see in a unique circumstance to rebuild the party, and to clip years off the normal cycle for conservatives to regain power.
In my last post, I posit that the TeaParties may be the first step in a groundswell of conservative governance that fights the collectivist trends we see in America. I think that now, today, this minute is the time for TeaParty conservatives and the GOP to join forces.
Huge barriers exist, and it is incumbent that that the true leaders on both sides step forward to break down those barriers. That’s what leaders do. They recognize an opening, marshal their forces and exploit the opportunity.
I propose that the National Council for a New America and the Republican Conferences in both the Senate and the House adopt a "TeaParty Model.” The TeaParty Model can be loosely defined as a confederation of local leaders who are given local level responsibility to generate local level enthusiasm for a national goal. The hundreds of TeaParty organizers showed this could be accomplished in a short period of time with limited resources to a huge effect. TeaParties generated active participation of over half a million people, and from their workplaces and homes, the support of multiple millions more.
Now is the time for outreach. Outreach from the GOP to the TeaParty activists. Outreach from the TeaParty activists to the GOP. With the infrastructure in place at the GOP and the new ideas and enthusiasm of the TeaParties, a powerful force for good in American politics can be created. The TeaParties have showed the way. The TeaParties have shown us the theme around which to unite. Together activists can stop the creeping collectivism of the Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration.
Here is how it can work:
I propose that the GOP sponsor town hall meetings similar to the one the National Council for a New America just held. These town halls are held during the same week, and preferably on the same day in every congressional district in the US. High profile districts get high profile nationally recognized speakers. Where possible, the events are coincident with election/re-election campaign announcements.
The organization of each meeting is the titular responsibility of the Congressional District’s House of Representative member. In those districts without Republican representation, the highest ranking local Republican spearheads the effort. While the Member is responsible for making it happen, he is tasked with working intimately with a TeaParty activist who, using the experience and contact lists from the Tax Day TeaParties, actually coordinates the event. The Member provides input and support, but the activist sets the agenda.
No pissing contests allowed.
The GOP provides technical (e.g. webcasts, message boards, points of contact) assistance and provides the technology. The GOP would also provide financial assistance. The TeaParty activists frame the issues and the debate. They provide the enthusiasm and the motivation for the individuals.
I think the time is ripe to integrate GOP and TeaParty activists. Barack Obama went from a junior second tier liberal Senator to President in just 20 months. There are 19 months until the 2010 Congressional elections. We have time to move wisely and make major gains in the House and Senate.
Is Cantor taking the second step on the road to recovery? Contact him and let him know. He may well be taking that second step, but only time will tell.