At the end of George W. Bush’s second term, I came up with an interesting plot for a novel, or screenplay, or some such piece of fiction.
Without getting too deep into it, the plot basically centered around a conspiracy theory, where G.W. hated his father, the first Bush, so much that he wanted to be the worst president in U.S. history ON PURPOSE, so that he could destroy his father’s legacy and the Grand Old Party along with it. After a few outlines, I lost interest. I had better things to do, I guess.
The damage done by Bush is no fiction, however, and after this last election, Republicans really should be terribly afraid for their political future. Not only is the party out of touch with the needs of most average voters, they are not in tune with the demographic shifts taking place across the country that threaten to send them into certain obsolescence. Regardless of what you may think of my politics, I do not favor this in the least.
I have said it here before — for our country to be strong, we need to have a two-party (or more, for that matter) system that works, where the intellectual cream of the crop from all sides of the aisle duke it out, coming up with sustainable solutions to our nation’s shared problems. Our system was founded to do just this. But when one party is so weak and out of touch with reality that it can barely put up a logical fight (think sequester), then regardless of your political persuasion, things aren’t going well.
Don’t take my word for it. A number of heavy hitters have said the same thing lately. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks has gone on record advocating a split in the GOP, with a new wing that can compete with this new robust Democratic Party. He wrote in January: “It’s probably futile to try to change current Republicans. It’s smarter to build a new wing of the Republican Party, one that can compete in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic states, in the upper Midwest and along the West Coast. It’s smarter to build a new division that is different the way the Westin is different than the Sheraton.”
After Mitt Romney’s defeat in November, a bit of serious soul-searching began. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, for instance, spoke in front of the Republican National Committee, saying the GOP needed to stop being the stupid party. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, according to the New York Times, said the GOP needed to seriously start focusing on the least fortunate half of Americans. The Wall Street Journal’s Arthur Brooks lamented the GOP’s image problem on March 4, when he wrote that most people believed Republicans only cared about the rich and powerful. Who can dispute that? Brooks cites a poll in April 2012 where only 33 percent of respondents said they felt Romney cared “about people like me.” Ouch.
Also, it is so easy for progressives to paint the GOP as the party of the rich as well as the party of nutcases. The Tea Party movement has certainly helped that last notion along. But also, look at the disrespect from hard-core Republicans toward New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Here you have a GOP governor in a historically Democratic state, who enjoys approval ratings in the 70s, who gets things done, and who gets routinely snubbed by conservatives in his own party. Roger Simon pointed out as much on Politico recently, suggesting that the snubs are proof that today’s GOP embraces the “crazies” within. Simon cites the Conservative Political Action Conference, which instead of inviting a Republican success story like Christie, chose as this year’s speakers Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, both electoral failures. Simon writes, “To many hard-core Republicans, the party has wasted nomination after nomination on wishy-washy mock conservatives who are not true believers and who are not willing to drink the Kool-Aid. Crazy? Crazy is what a lot of Republicans yearn for.” Huge problem.
Arthur Brooks made a smart suggestion when he said that Republicans can start to build bridges to minority voters by helping lead the way toward a new explosion of minority entreprepreneurship. The effort would help bridge the gap between the party and minority communities while reinforcing one of the GOP’s traditional strengths, its pro-business stance — like Cruz suggests, not pro-business as in pro-billionaire, but pro-business as in providing a pathway to financial security for more minorities. I like that idea a lot.
I also think Republicans should swear off their social agenda altogether. Embracing the moral majority got people like George W. Bush elected, but that bell rings so hallow today, that I doubt it could be repeated ever again. No more talk about rape and abortion. No more anti-gay marriage or anti-immigration. It doesn’t work. I’m not saying the GOP needs to transform itself into the gay pride party or anything. I’m just saying they should just be quiet, stay out of people’s bedrooms and go back to the business of shrinking government (in a smart way, of course) and helping foster strong industry, creating good jobs, cutting government waste, etc. That’s what the GOP was always really good at, as well as on national security. But the party scared the hell out of most women, minorities and young people with all its social agenda — it is garbage, so throw it away.
If the GOP did this, guess what, they’d start winning elections again. Until they do, game’s over. You lost.
I promised my employer I’d mention that the Pahrump Valley Times has some rental property that just became available. We have two buildings, a 2,800-square-foot professional office building with private offices, two bathrooms and a large reception area; and, a 4,680-square-foot warehouse with 540 square feet of store front and office space. The warehouse has two large roll-up doors, a loading dock, commercial wiring, plenty of parking, etc. The complex is just across from the county administrative offices along Calvada Boulevard. Come check out the buildings. Call Marie or Debbie for more information, 727-5102.
Now, that said, I have some suggestions from the staff that I’d like to pass along to any entrepreneurs looking to open up shop here, becoming our new favorite neighbors. A cotton candy company or chocolate factory would be much appreciated. A soul food restaurant would be cool. An indoor shooting range would be awesome for the warehouse, or better an indoor skatepark/laser tag/paintball range. Sweet.
I know people in town have been talking about an Olympic size indoor swimming pool. We have room for one of those. A comic book store would be neat, or a book store in general. A coffee shop would be awesome. A honkey tonk could be fun (beer, babes and blood!) Maybe the sheriff’s department could use some more jail space. Our good buddy, the public administrator needs a better office. Bam! We got it.
You get the picture.