Memo to the GOP: Liberty Is Colorblind
Promote Freedom in Every Quarter of America!
“A little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation.” –Thomas Paine (1791)
A record number of conservatives, from grassroots Patriots to national GOP leaders, gathered for the 2013 CPAC confab last week, sponsored by our friends at the American Conservative Union.
CPAC attendees represent the GOP base, though many would not call themselves Republican. This is mostly because the GOP has squandered the conservative legacy of Ronald Reagan, and too many of its current congressional leaders are part of the problem rather than the solution.
Among the more notable speakers at CPAC was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the grassroots voice of the Tea Party movement. Paul aptly summed up the GOP’s problem and solution in his rousing remarks: “The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered. I don’t think we need to name any names, do we? Our party is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom. The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere. If we’re going to have a Republican party that can win, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP. We must have a message that is broad, our vision must be broad, and that vision must be based on freedom.”
Sen. Paul, who offered a few words about our mission last week – “The Patriot Post provides a clear and substantial voice for America’s Constitutional Conservatives” – is more than just Ron Paul, part deux, as some of his establishment Republican colleagues lament. Rand has much broader appeal than his father, and yet his appeal is every bit as strong as that exhibited by Ron’s constituents. Rand Paul represents a fusion between Libertarian and conservative Republican principles, a fusion that, at its core, is already reflected in the Republican Party Platform. (You can read all political platforms on our Historic Documents page.)
The problem is, most old-guard Republicans pay as little attention to the GOP platform as they do their oaths “to support and defend” our Constitution. Instead, they subscribe to the Left’s so-called “living constitution.” As a result, the only political “fusion” they generate in confusion.
Shortly after CPAC concluded, the Grand Old Party released an election 2012 “after action report” with GOP initials – the Growth and Opportunity Project. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus ordered up this 97-page report, and not a minute too soon. Priebus, who proudly carries and reads his copy of our Essential Liberty Pocket Guide, and who arranged for its distribution to all 14,000 attendees at the last GOP convention, said, correctly, “I don’t think our platform is the issue.”
While Priebus chairs a party with some members who are virtually indistinguishable from their Socialist Democrat Party opponents, he is not among them. Priebus is cut from the cloth of Patriot warriors, not armchair diplomats, and his vision for the future of the Republican Party reflects that spirit.
It’s a spirit that is evident in the Republican report’s introductory sentence: “The GOP today is a tale of two parties. One of them, the gubernatorial wing, is growing and successful. The other, the federal wing, is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.”
The GOP review notes the obvious – the party is out of touch with the people, especially women, minorities and young voters. That was our message to the Romney-Ryan ticket by way of our Grassroots Memo to Mitt last October. We outlined for Romney what his establishment Republican political handlers would not – precisely what grassroots Americans needed to hear from him if he was going to defeat Barack Hussein Obama. Unfortunately, that memo never penetrated the gauntlet set up by his handlers.
In our own post-election analysis, we bullet-pointed the consequences of that failure to communicate, and we plotted a road forward to our time-tested conservative roots.
The key recommendations from the Growth and Opportunity Project center on a return to the basic message of Liberty, especially in outreach to urban Latino, black and young voters – and, last but not least, the voters who really determine elections, women.
The GOP is spending $10 million to hire an army of grassroots folks permanently posted to communities across the country. The report notes that you reach people where they are, not where you want them to be. There were also some practical suggestions such as creating a national voter database that could be accessed regionally and redirect PAC and other group funds to fund field staff and technology rather than only media ads. In other words, greatly enhance the ground game, which Democrats have done so well. Other key suggestions included tightening up the primary schedule and reducing the number of debates so that Republicans spend less time attacking each other and more time drawing sharp contrasts between themselves and their real opponents. The next Republican National Convention is also likely to take place sooner than August of election year, which would give the nominee more time to focus on his or her opponents on the Left.
As Rand Paul declared, “We need a Republican Party that shows up on the South Side of Chicago and shouts at the top of our lungs, ‘We are the party of jobs and opportunity. The GOP is the ticket to the middle class.’”
The GOP must run candidates with presidential character; candidates who can promote, far and wide, the Reagan model for restoration and adapt it for the 21st century. Their focus must be on restoring Liberty and the Rule of Law.
The first step to accomplishing that goal is to understand that Liberty is colorblind. It’s not a “white thing.” The concept of Liberty is timeless and transcendent, and it can have the same appeal to all people if the messenger will only remember that. Republicans – even some of the most conservative members within the party – are mired in the minutiae, and the larger message of Liberty is lost.
President Reagan said of Liberty, “An informed patriotism is what we want. … Man is not free unless government is limited. As government expands, liberty contracts. … I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. … The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”
If Republican leaders do not refocus on Liberty and the successful fusion of Republican and Libertarian principles, then, in the words of Rush Limbaugh, “They’re finished. They’re done. They’re yesterday’s news. They may not survive. Don’t doubt me.”
And to that I add, don’t doubt me.
- conservative mandate
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