The media’s “concerned trolls” are tsk, tsking about how the Tea Party and Establishment Republicans are hopelessly divided. May I suggest that this will disappear when a good Republican leader choses his stands and rhetoric well. This division between the establishment and platform folks is not new. Establishment guys in the Congress make their careers and legacies by trying to win bipartisan support and passing business-friendly measures. The grassroots conservatives don’t answer for their scorched-earth rhetoric as they seek a consistent philosophy. This dichotomy was been going on long before Reagan. Taft’s conservatives battled TR’s progressives. But Reagan managed to be true to his conservatism while winning both the moderates and conservatives. So the old quip about What Would Reagan Do? is worth considering.
First I think he would point out that government needs to get off the backs of the people. Obama only won by 50.7% in 2012, so he was less popular in re-election than Jimm-eh Carter was in that squeaker over Ford at 51.0%. Yet he continues to pile on the big government. Obamacare, stimulus spending of dollars we don’t have, IRS persecution of conservatives, NSA abuses, Benghazigate make Obama and his yes-men Dems unpopular. A good R leader would Repeal Obamacare and replace it with HR 3121—or some similar plan. Second, Reagan cut taxes. The tax that both Tea Party and Establishment types agree upon is also the one that would turn around our dismal economy best—the highest corporate tax in the world which keeps $20 Trillion locked up abroad. Call for a one-year cut of the 32% tax to say, ten, then compromise of say, 20% thereafter. In that first year, you’d see repatriation of enormous cash that would kick-start the economy and create US jobs. Free up federal lands for drilling and authorize Keystone. Reform EPA. Third, Reagan reassured his Reagan Democrats that he believed in 7 safety net programs. Launch into comprehensive entitlement reform, warning the nation that to avoid this dismal topic is to become Argentina. Fortunately if we can clip some corners and spread sacrifice around, we can still guarantee survival of programs. If we don’t, we will see a day when there is no money to be spent on defense and federal highways or any other discretionary spending. The whole budget will be gobbled up by spending on seniors. Not something I want to bequeath to my kids. Lest they call us the greediest generation. Lest the end of our lives be filled with a generational war for political power.
The good Republican leader needs to show that the Tea Party is right in concern for the Constitution; Establishment is right in wanting to get things to pass. We are in this together. When there is no leadership to say these obvious things, the negatives come out. The tea partiers are doctrinaire and call anyone who doesn’t agree entirely with them as a RINO. Reagan had his 80% rule of thumb. “If you agree with someone 80% of the time, support him.” Establishment moderates like to spend government money on things that help businesses—sometimes termed corporate welfare. But they need to be reminded that when government is in cahoots with some and regulates others out of existence, this is the basis of fascism and the Strategy of Obama and the Dems.
Even though the Tea Party-Establishment standoff has received big billing, it isn’t the only one going on in the Republican party. Another is the ancient Social values vs. Fiscal values debate. The country club R’s of Reagan’s era hated the evangelicals and wanted no social issues. Trouble with that strategy is that half the Republican party base is strongly committed to social issues. Take away the issues and you have no base. Good leader that he was, RR put down the gauntlet on abortion rather than school prayer or Hollywood movie ratings. In today’s world, the leader needs to broaden beyond gay marriage and abortion. These are just two aspects of the Democrat’s War on Faith. Government censoring military chaplains is a Violation of the First Amendment. Government telling Lutherans what kind of ministers they can hire is a violation of the First. Demanding Catholics and faith-based businesses supply abortifacients, against their beliefs is War on Faith. Abortion is fast becoming a state issue. Gay Marriage was a state issue but is losing opposition due to the media’s War on Faith. Turn the tables on Obama and his codependent-enabler media and give them some backlash over their War on Faith.
Social issues R’s vs. Fiscal issues R’s often play tug of war with a large center group who are pro-business. In Reagan’s world he united the two extremes by playing to the Main Street Republicans in the middle and finding agreement with those on the ends. “If we don’t fix our fiscal problems we ruin the economy. If we don’t fix our social problems we have a worthless labor force.” If you are in business, you recognize the utter necessity and interplay of both.
Finally there are independents and minorities whom the concerned media trolls say the R’s don’t get. But work a campaign, you’ll learn about the I’s. They vote only half as often as partisans. The R-base is far more important to turn out. Majority of I’s are either hidden partisans, or have non-mainstream views and odd-ball social issues. The way to reach this some of this block is with fiscal responsibility. And realize that you don’t resonate with many of them. The minorities are each different. But concerning the Hispanics, a bold Republican leader might suggest a compromise that would satisfy the Hispanics who do vote. The best one I have heard is Permanent Residency Status with no citizenship allowed. This means Hispanic families don’t get split, may remain and work and prosper, and kids born here are citizens (making grandma and grandpa loyal). The Dems will howl, wanting a path to citizenship because they crave the voters, but the issue is defused among Hispanics at that point. R’s get credit for fixing it. Dems lose their “racism” argument.
The real minority that R’s presently lose is the single women. In the VA governors race Cuccinelli lost single women by 38%. The reason is that the D’s paint R’s as heartless and cruel. R’s need to turn the tables on the D’s by declaring their Reaganesque support of the safety nets. But the better thing is to have a good job and vibrant economy. This is the real strength of Republicans—they understand what made America great and exceptional. A Republican Presidental candidate, with skill in saying all of this as a coherent and understandable plan, would beat Hillarious by 60-40.