What the GOP Must Do to Regain Relevance

Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 11:46 AM

By Chris Freind

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Pop quiz:
 
Why Did Mitt Romney get crushed in 2012?
 
Was it:
 
A) Because Chris Christie worked with President Obama in the aftermath of the most devastating storm to ever hit New Jersey?
 
B) Because Christie sabotaged Romney as payback because he wasn’t chosen to be Mitt’s running mate? Or . . .
 
C) Because Mitt Romney was Mitt Romney? Namely, being the all-time gold medalist in waffling, out-of-touch with middle America, believing in nothing, and perhaps most significant, never wanting to run for president in the first place? (According to his own son).
 
If you answered A and B, you must be part of the Republican Establishment that is, incomprehensibly, still calling the shots for (mis)direction of the national Party.
 
It doesn’t matter where you stand on Christie’s Bridgegate scandal. But it is unconscionable, not to mention political stupidity, for so many Republican leaders to bury Christie at his low point simply as sour grapes revenge for what they see as his too-cozy relationship with the president during those post-Sandy days.
 
A shocking number of decision-making Republicans believe Christie’s actions “handed” a sure win for Romney to Obama. Nothing could be further from reality, which is apparent to everyone but the Romney folks. But the fact that these people still believe that is indicative of a mammoth problem: If GOP leaders can’t understand the problems, then, by definition, they can’t solve them.
 
Tragically, too many in the GOP hierarchy are either out of touch or content to simply get rich — win or lose — off huge campaign contracts. The result is that the Republicans are on course to lose yet another presidential election.
 
But don’t expect things to get better. Remember, this is the party that continues to blow elections, most recently losing senate races in stalwart Republican states such as North Dakota, Indiana, and Montana. Consequently, many GOP loyalists have either bolted to the Libertarian Party or refuse to vote, believing nothing will change. And through it all, party power brokers continue to coronate candidates “whose turn it is,” while inexplicably expecting different results.
Here’s a blueprint for what the party must do to be competitive again.
 
1) Stop blaming Christie, the weather, and Obama promising free cellphones for why Romney lost. If you want to find out what’s been wrong since 1988, look in the mirror. Admitting that you’ve been the problem would go a long way to restoring people’s faith.
 
2) Build a bench of the best candidates — not based on gender or ethnicity, but on bold vision. The notion by clueless pollsters that the GOP must follow a politically correct diversity path is a fallacy. People are thirsting for a leader who can articulate ideas, and see them through. Black, white, male, female — it makes no difference. Skin color doesn’t matter; character does.
 
When you run boring, business-as-usual hacks, you lose. McCain, Dole, and Romney personified that, as did Gore and Kerry. And the lesser of two evils always wins. Just look at 2012. Despite a dismal economy, runaway spending, actual unemployment over 15 percent, a world on fire and a pervasive pessimism, Obama trounced his opponent. That election should have been a home run for the Republicans. Instead, they struck out before coming to bat. That is inexcusable.
 
3) Eliminate Iowa and New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status. America would no longer be held hostage by the corn vote — with its untouchable ethanol subsidies, which make food and fuel prices skyrocket — and millions of Republicans would finally have a say. But the party likes the current system because it usually gets all the messy stuff — also known as democracy — out of the way early, giving the leaders control as to who will be crowned.
 
The nation should be divided into four geographically diverse, rotating regions, with four primaries. That way, losing early would no longer be a deathblow, and voters, rather than party pols, would pick their nominee.
 
Instead, with the party’s new rules, small states still play God, honest debate takes a back seat, and party bosses retain their ability to choose whom they like, will of the people be damned.
 
4) Embrace primaries. Contrary to conventional “wisdom,” protracted primary battles are good for, not detrimental to, the eventual nominee. They make candidates measurably sharper, and ready them for the bruising general election.
 
5) Do something. The House just hoisted the white flag by raising the debt limit with no concessions, making the GOP no different than the Democrats. Same with no action on immigration, healthcare, energy independence, and tax-code overhaul.
 
The utter lack of achievements has left the party in shambles, rife with internal squabbles and no clear ideological vision. Without the emergence of a Reagan-esque communicator, the prospects for the Grand Old Party to regain its former glory dims.
 
You can’t win something with nothing. If the Republican Party wants to regain its relevance, it better do something. Quickly.
 
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
 
 
 
 

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