Republicans and Adult-ery
By Raynard Jackson
Now that I have everyone’s attention, let’s talk about the one way the Republicans can negate the momentum they have gained heading into the fall elections.
Political analysts all agree that this fall’s elections will be a referendum on the Obama administration and the Democratic controlled Congress. If the elections were held today, in all likelihood, the Democrats would be handily defeated in both the house and the senate (not enough to take the majority in either house).
The American people are going to hold the Democrats responsible for the health care bill that passed, the growing budget deficits, and the increasing government involvement in our lives (banks, auto industry, etc.).
As a political strategist, I don’t share the same enthusiasm that my fellow Republicans are feeling. I think the party is peaking too soon. One measure political operatives use to gage electoral prospects is what we call the “enthusiasm” factor. The thinking is that if your base of supporters are emotionally excited about your candidacy, they will show up on Election Day and will contribute money to your campaign. There is no way Republicans will be able to sustain this level of enthusiasm through the November election.
But, I see a more ominous sign for the Republican Party—the lack of adults. You have the Tea Party folks spewing out all kinds of vile, hateful, and incendiary language and there are no “adults” within the party to stand up forcefully and say, ENOUGH!
The stars are so aligned in the Republican’s favor that all they have to do is simply shut up and let the Democrats destroy their own electoral chances. But, Republicans have created a Frankenstein monster (Tea Party) that they can no longer control. The so-called leaders within the party are terrified of challenging these groups for fear of alienating them. Where are the adults?
The American people are with the Republican Party on the issues—less government, lower taxes, and national security. The party’s rhetoric and lack of a vision are going to keep the party from taking control of either body of Congress.
The American people divorced themselves from the Republican Congress in the elections of 2006 and 2008 for committing political adultery—not being faithful to true Republican principles (and notice that I didn’t say conservative principles).
A true Republican doesn’t need to use racially tinged language. A true Republican isn’t afraid to embrace a presidential initiative from the opposing party if it is in synch with Republican principles. A true Republican will share his vision for America with the people in the market place of ideas.
Where are the adults in the Republican Party who will demand that the rhetoric be toned down? Where are the adults in the party who will embrace a Democratic president who is espousing a Republican principle? Where are the adults who will challenge the party to take our message to every community in the country?
If we are truly the “big tent” party, why does the tent look so small? If we believe we can “save” our country, when will we share and take our vision to the American people?
In 2006 and 2008, the American people filed for divorce because the Republican Party was caught in the very act of adultery. We cheated on our vows to control spending, shrink the size of government, and to lower taxes.
We need the adults in the party to tell the American people why they should trust us to govern again. We know what Republicans are against, but what are they for? How would a Republican vision make my life better?
Americans want more than just a bumper sticker campaign—party of Lincoln, lower taxes, smaller government, etc. What is the vision and what is the call to action? Americans will no longer vote for a marriage of convenience; they want a marriage based on a commitment to a specific vision.
If true adult leaders emerge within the Republican Party and take a principled stand for party values, this is the type of adult-ery the voters will accept.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com).