Rebuilding the GOP – Part 2

Where to look next.

Yesterday I put forward a few changes that will need to be made. Implement technological leaps. Court voters in every age bracket. Organize properly and master a ground game.

I also mentioned that abortion is no longer a working wedge issue. Republicans need to rebuild their reputation in managing the public perception of economy.

A couple of days ago I affirmed this to be one of the paragraphs I liked from Rep. Paul Ryan’s opinion in the Wall Street Journal.

Our party has become too fearful of our own ideas. Since 1997, congressional Republicans began a steady retreat from principled leadership to political expediency. A party built on spending discipline and government reform succumbed to the siren songs of government expansion and earmarked giveaways. Republicans squandered the opportunity to limit and reshape the relationship between the federal government and the individual.

Republicans need to come back to a core of smaller government and lighter spending. To continue to spend like Democrats – to place into government more programs and entitlements – does nothing to distinguish Republicans from Democrats. When Republican look just like Democrats, Republicans lose.

It’s imperative to Republican success that a simple mission/vision statement be implemented that distinguishes Republicans from Democrats.

(Forgive me, but knowing what needs to be done doesn’t mean I know how to do it. I tend to write mission/vision statements that sound like someone with marbles in their mouth. Surely there is a group of top level thinkers who can nail this one.)

Next, the GOP needs to tighten the chain of command. County party chairs, state chairs, regional chairs, and national leadership need to be on the same organizational chart. This is what made Obama’s campaign so effective. If we want leadership to be the RNC and not have to rely upon a super-motivated candidate like the one we just saw, the organization must be streamlined.

I have it on good authority that at least 25% of Wisconsin’s county Republican leadership could not be contacted by e-mail this last election round. That is unacceptable.

Leadership needs to be refreshed and well trained. The mission/vision statement should lead a common purpose. The job needs to be the same for every county chair. The party can not continue to look the other way if leadership isn’t turning out voters for Republicans in counties that are balanced or where there are a high number of independent voters.

In short, it’s time for a leadership shake up.

Changes need to be in place to deliver the changes in two years.

Sure, I know there’s not a presidential election for another four. And frankly, unless Obama lands on his keester, we probably won’t be looking for a presidential change for another eight. (We need to be careful about the candidate we front in four years as to not waste a potential candidate for the next opportunity.) But it’s 2008. The elections from 2010 will elect the state representation that draw new district lines. Those new districts create the larger congressional districts. If Republicans want a chance to make changes in the next 10 years, they have to deliver within the next two. Republicans must have made enormous gains by 2010 to keep the maps from becoming insurmountable.

(Yes, I know a few of you whine about Wikipedia, but the page does provide a decent description of redistricting in case you are not familiar with the concept.)

Avoiding badly drawn districts is crucial for Republican survival. One of my voting behavior class assignments a few years ago put us into groups to draw new Wisconsin boundaries. We were given the task of drawing lines to be neutral, drawing lines for Democratic control, or drawing lines for Republican control. In each case we had to keep voter counts even so as to not create an argument for gerrymandering. We also had to keep boundaries contiguous and logically formed. In every group, the mission, no matter what challenge was assigned, could be accomplished.

Republicans at best want to draw those lines. At a minimum they will need the strength to keep boundaries party neutral.

So that’s the task: Republicans need renewed leadership and better party organization. The leadership is charged with defining a mission/vision statement that appeals to voters in all age groups, implementing technology fully, and mastering the ground game. They must deliver within two years or they will sacrifice the next decade.

I think I’ll be adding part 2a soon – discerning the candidates.


  1. I embrace the notion of increased numbers of volunteers, leadership among them, organization. BUT when you spoke of these volunteers as being unemployed in your part1 on this topic, that (even unintentionally) implies there is something wrong with them, or they would have jobs / better jobs / full-time jobs / careers which would either make them feel insulated from politics, complacent, or to self-absorbed to get involved in volunteerism. YIKES, what a bleak worldview! Why not celebrate those who give of themselves so generously, and understand that some may even take vacation and personal time to do so?

    In my opinion, you can’t have it both ways: looking down on those forming the grassroots to wake sheeple out of their complacency, while asking more people to come forward to do this difficult and time-consuming public relations task. Maybe a wee bit o’ respect for their efforts? Maybe a wee bit o’ understanding for a volunteer knockin’ on your door after you’ve already been visited by another? It’s highly likely that the 1st volunteer noted that contact was not made at all homes… possibly transcribed a digit incorrectly when noting addresses still to be visited. I would not make too much of that.

    I actually think it is funnier that the DNC sent letters asking for money, indicating they could not afford the presidency they just purchased. Maybe they should return it and see if they can get their money back?

  2. Whoops. I think you misread my intention. I said the staffers hired by the campaigns were mostly unemployed as they were hired. The volunteers were simply volunteers – working when they could, but still under a great organizational umbrella for Obama.

    The two that knocked my door for McCain were not volunteers.

  3. Tinkerbell says:

    Whew! Ok, then! My Bad!

  4. Go back to Kasten Plan, it elected Ryan, Quayle and Kasten the first time.

  5. Yes – that’s a great grassroots ground game, but it’s volunteer/labor intensive, which gets us back to rejuvenating the workers. We can’t rally the base until we define the message.

    (Here’s a quicky on the Kasten Plan.)

    Keep in mind Kasten lost to Feingold. Giuliani didn’t fare so well either, and Kasten consulted there.

  6. All strategies have to be built around the fact that conservatism will never have a fair forum in the MSM. The schools of journalism are controlled by tenured liberals and their graduates provide that view in newspaper and tv newsrooms around the country. So when a conservative gets a chance to communicate in the MSM the message must be consistent, clear, and concise. Positive statements made out of conservative conviction. Alternate forms of communication need to be used/developed. There is good news is that MSM newspapers are dying and losing influence, in large part due to new technology, but in part because of their bias. Likewise for other MSM media which lost a lot of credibility during this election cycle for abandoning almost all pretenses of being objective.

  7. If there is a future for the Republican party I see two paths: Tim Pawlenty or Theodore Roosevelt.

    At any rate, there has to be a really tough closing of the schism between neocons, corpcons and evengelicals.

  8. Leapin,

    Great comment! Problem is finding that person or persons to get that message out and in the right format. I am confident it will happen, it’s just a matter of when…

  9. Sean, Leapin,
    I think we *are* the people, together with many others, helping to get the word out there by these simple messages. Keep it the good work!