Just wrote this to a friend, then I thought it would make a darn good blog entry…
. . . for it is there you will find your future, if you want one. And the key for the future of the GOP, IMHO, is to drop the social issues as a principal means to their political ends. It will be difficult, but it is critical. The party is simply on the wrong side of time by clinging overtly to deeply divisive issues such as an abortion litmus test (all too often manifesting as militantly pro-life), anti-gay marriage, and overt religiosity. If they continue down those premises it will go worse for them as time goes along. Those are the actual core reasons why the GOP has lost ground..
This isn’t to suggest they should do a 180 and take the opposite by becoming overtly pro-abortion, pro gay marraige, and reject religion. But there is a third way, and I see it as the only way. There are core themes that can draw together libertarians, Christian conservatives, free thinkers, and economically astute social liberals. Chief among them are: lowered taxes, limited (efficient) government, market premised economics (a separation of economics and state), less regulation, and an overt support of individual rights and personal freedom. In short, the idea ought to be: whatever your moral premise may be, whatever your religion (or not), there are things we all can and should agree upon so that we are free to exercise our individual religious freedoms and personal preferences in a country that is prosperous while respecting and promoting the rule of law. We need to renew the principle of the government as logically subordinated to the individual – it now vice versa, supported all too often by the GOP, and is the operating premise of the Left. If the GOP were to go down that path, I guarantee you it would win a lot of elections down the road. It is, essentially, an end run around the Left whose premise is ideologically based upon subordinating the individual TO the state. The new GOP would remove the Left’s makeup and reveal them for what they really are: controlling and vindictive. The GOP would first and foremost win minds, and then hearts.When the Whigs, Free Soilers, and Abolitionists emerged from Ripon they had various individual beliefs and positions, but they all agreed that that free men on free soil comprised a morally and economically superior system to slavery. The GOP of today would be well advised to wrap their arms around that simple idea and portray what the left has inculcated as policy (taxation, regulations, educational monopolies, controlled economics) as slavery. The GOP, of all parties, should be the champions of individual rights – not the bedroom window peaking party they are perceived as and portrayed as by the left and much of the center in America today.
Lincoln left the Whig party principally because of the slavery issue, and was a man without a party until the GOP emerged with a single minded purpose. When they lost their political power to Roosevelt’s new deal, it was eerily similar to what we’re living through now. Of course, the inception of the GOP was heavily influenced by the Free Soiler movement and anti-slavery, but it also advocated for a modernized economy. Well, that sounds like individual rights and free market capitalism to me today! The GOP would be well advised to look deep into their own history and see that free men and free minds were really at the core of its initial appeal, and could be again provided they stop proselytizing and started thinking in terms of individual rights as envisioned by crazy lunatics such as Thomas Jefferson ;> (who, sadly, could not be nominated in the GOP of today – he wasn’t enough of a Christian).