12.19.2012

An Open, Rambling Letter to Our Republican Leadership

http://thedailybanter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/wounded-elephant.jpgEvery six months or so, I try to write to my elected officials.  Past topics have included world hunger, immigration, deficit reduction, and innovation.  This time, I'm going in a different direction.  Three of my four elected officials (President Obama, Senator Casey, and Representative Fattah) are D's, but my audience today is all the R's.  Not just Senator Toomey, but RNC Chairman Priebus, right-leaning media, and anyone else who holds sway within my party. 

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Having lost four out of the last six presidential elections (and five out of the last six popular votes), it is natural for our party to do a little soul-searching.  Perhaps it is too simplistic to describe the internal argument as between "modernizing" and "staying true to the core."  But there is some truth to that description. (Although I quibble with the term, "modernization," since what I personally prefer isn't something new but a return to our party's truest roots: fiscal conservatism, belief in American ingenuity and charity, openness to diversity and innovation, and wise strength abroad.)

I have more beef with the D's than with you R's; if it wasn't so, I'd be a D.  But I do have beef with much of what has passed for Republican leadership lately.  Quite frankly, many people would describe it as not the Republican Party but the "threatened old white male party."  "Threatened" as in assuming power is automatically deserved and must always be protected.  "Old" as in assuming change is automatically bad and must always be suspected.  "White" and "male" as in assuming diversity issues and women's issues are automatically secondary and must always be dismissed.

I have no interest in being a member of the "threatened old white male party."  I do have a great interest, as do many of my peers, in being a member of what I think of when I think of what the Republican Party should be in 2013 and beyond.  It is a party that appreciates the importance of being muscular but humble in foreign affairs.  It is a party that vigorously defends free markets but knows where the public sector can play a role in that defense.  It is a party that believes we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and that wants to figure out a way to make the most out of both, since both are why we are exceptional.  And it is a party that upholds the importance of morality in personal and public life, but that wields that knowledge in reverence and charity and not in bigotry or exclusion.

I happen to think that kind of party will be politically successful.  I also happen to think that kind of party is the kind of party we ought to be.  I hope that you agree, and that you will do what you can, from your position of power, to help make it so. 







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