The Right Opinion

Reaching Out

By Michael Reagan · Nov. 22, 2012

Forget Republican comebacks in 2014 or 2016.

Unless it gets its head and its heart straight, the party might never win the popular vote or the White House again.

The GOP today is not my father's party.

And until the hierarchy of the GOP stops talking about how great Ronald Reagan was and starts embracing what he really stood for, the party of conservatism is destined for the ash heap of history.

Ronald Reagan was somebody who believed in inclusion, not exclusion. He found a way to reach out to all voting groups, which is why he was the last Republican presidential candidate to win the Hispanic vote.

The GOP in 2012 reminds me of the state of disarray it was in during the mid-1960s.

It was so bad for Republicans in California then that they held a special convention and invited the state's Democratic Speaker of the Assembly, Jesse Unruh, to come and tell them what was wrong with them.

Unruh came and was blunt: The GOP had no vision and no message for voters, because they didn't know who they were or what they stood for.

Those pre-Ronald Reagan Republicans got the message. They left that convention, turned their fortunes around, and ended up with Ronald Reagan in the governor's chair.

Today's national GOP needs the same kind of turnaround, and the process starts with fixing the party's inclusion problem with Hispanic, black and Asian voters.

Last week I spoke to a room of 400 conservatives. The only blacks in the room were serving us breakfast. There were only a couple Hispanics – in Florida.

That's not inclusive. Republicans have got to find a way to reach out to these communities.

I told those conservatives in Florida a story about a young man who as a child came to the United States illegally with his parents in the early 1980s.

He became an American citizen in 1986 when my father signed into law the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which granted amnesty to 3 million illegal residents and made them citizens.

When he turned 18, to thank the United Stares for allowing him to become a citizen, he joined the Navy to serve his new country.

When the USS Ronald Reagan was home porting in San Diego, he volunteered to serve on the ship named after the president who allowed him to become a citizen. Now he mentors 275 sailors on that aircraft carrier and is working on his master's degree.

There are a thousand stories like that that nobody wants to tell when Republicans talk about immigration.

The GOP has got to find a message of inclusion instead of “Get the hell out of my country.” That's what Hispanics and other immigrants hear from the Republican Party — “Get out.”

We have to attract immigrants to the GOP, not repel them. We have to do it with more than words every two or four years. And we can't do what Mitt Romney did.

He came to California, held a fundraiser, grabbed his money and left. He did nothing to get out the vote or reach out to the Hispanic community.

Romney wasn't going to carry California. But we lost three good incumbents in close congressional races in the state on Nov. 6 – Mary Bono Mack, Dan Lundgren and Brian Bilbray.

Why did we lose those seats? Because only 29 percent of registered voters in California are Republican. And why is that? Because the GOP lacks a vision. Because it lacks a message.

If the GOP is to survive and get this country back on track, it has to regain its Reaganesque vision and make its message more caring and welcoming to immigrants.

The Republican Party has to reach out to the Hispanic, black, Asian and other communities and become involved with them — and do it every day from now on.

Until that happens, the GOP is going to have lots more Thanksgivings with less and less to give thanks for.

Copyright ©2012 Michael Reagan

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7 Comments

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

Mr.Reagan, Who are these immigrants you are talking about? The ones who come here legally or the ones who are illegal aliens and not immigrants? How can you reach out to people who enjoy a living on the taxpayers dime and have no problem with that? What is wrong with enforcing the laws of the nation that says anyone entering the US illegally is subject to deportation?. Blacks will never vote Republican as long as the Democrats can ensure the massive amount spent on welfare keeps on coming. How do you break a pattern that is handed down from one generation to another? I don't have the answers but I know that to give in to this type of liberal mentality means total surrender of the principles that made us a great natioin once.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 10:29 AM

JHenry in NYSS, USSA said:

The GOP has become irrelevant because nobody needs Democrat Lite when you can have the real thing. The democrats of the 1960s were far more conservative than today's so called republicans. Play along to get along and power corruption has resulted in political homogenization. Time for the GOP to go the way of the Whigs.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 11:30 AM

HP in Kalispell, MT said:

Michael,

While I love you dad and hold him in high regard as one of our best leaders, the amnesty for the three million has led to another 12 to 20 million wanting the same. We cannot win elections by out-liberalizing the liberals. If you want conservatives to vote, close the border and research the definition of illegal. McCAin lost over amnesty and so did Mitt. Ignoring our laws and the Constitution does not inspire me to vote.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 9:48 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming replied:

Old sarge, J Henry and HP have it correct. Illegal Alien is ILLIGEAL. As for Simpson (RINO WY), he endorsed Kerry for the senate from Nebraska. Does this sound like the action of a real Republican?

Michael your father made three mistakes, picking Bush the Elder as VP Remmeber the No New Taxes pledge and the New world Order), the illegal alien amnesty and selecting Anthony Kennedy to be a Supreme. Kennedy in a case regarding youthful murders said we had to follow international law. The Supremes are supposed to follow the Constitution.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

We have a hard-workin' immigrant from former USSR in our maintenance group. He is already climbing the ladder of upward mobility, here. Soon he will become an American citizen, whilst workin' two jobs! He is living the American Dream, and he is certainly, no taker!!!He'll be registering Conservative Party.This is how we grow, one legal immigrant at a time!!!LOL M.R.

Friday, November 23, 2012 at 6:49 AM

Joe in Texas said:

Republicans won't win latinos by beating the dems to the punch on amnesty. They don't care about that as much as they want continued welfare, and the dems promise them that whether they're legal or not. That's why Reps lose the latino vote. It won't change.

Friday, November 23, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

How would Amnesty help Failifornia, anyway?Taxes always upward, into the deficit hole, rides the corrupt politicians and organized labor!FOWARD!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 6:17 AM