Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wash., and Gary Bauer, president of American Values, made the case that Republicans did not fail to win the White House or the Senate because they failed to stick to the party’s positions on economic and jobs issues, which both resonate well with Americans.
Hispanic voters are not concerned with immigration and amnesty according to polls, and that the party’s focus on social issues should appeal to that demographic, as well as others, Bauer said during a panel discussion on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I don’t think it’s about the Republican Party needing to become more moderate,” McMorris Rogers said. “We believe it’s the Republican Party becoming more modern. Whether it’s Hispanics, whether it’s women, whether it’s young people, the Republican Party has to make it a priority to take our values, to take our vision, to every corner of this country and to every demographic group.”
She said that exit polls on election day showed women were more concerned with the economic and jobs situation in the country, rather than the social issues brought on by candidate gaffes about rape and abortion.
Bauer added that while social issues shouldn’t dominate the GOP platform, they have been crucial to the party’s movement and that candidates would be wrong to “take a crouching position” on them.
“Ronald Reagan defined our party and the road to success for our party on economics, smaller government, and lower taxes,” he said. “[But] the other ingredient that he brought were the values issues. and that’s where we got millions of midwestern and southern evangelicals, Catholics, etc."
She said that those voters have "started to leave the party of their birth, the party of their families, and become Republicans.”
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Bush administration Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez disagreed and pointed to fear as the major reason the GOP did not win
“I think the [Republican] Party is truly the party of growth and prosperity and that’s where you get into things like immigration,” Gutierrez said. “If we want to be the party of growth and prosperity, we have to be the party of immigration. So, we should be leading comprehensive immigration reform. We should be leading the DREAM Act. Not [just] the military DREAM Act, but students as well.”
“They need to know that we are pro-immigration,” McMorris Rogers added. “The values we have, the Republican shared fundamental values that are in common with the Hispanics, and I believe we need to be putting forward the Hispanics in our party. . . It’s not about changing our values and principles — it’s about bringing them so that people understand them.”
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