Since the work of reform has to start with Republican leaders, we need fighters, not socialites. If politics is seen as one big social event, then being liked is what’s most important.
By its very nature, endeavoring to bring serious change in public policy often requires stepping on toes and losing friends. If those who hold office or occupy powerful posts as Republicans don’t want to do this work then they are utterly useless. Their legacy will be one of abject failure, even while they become lobbyists, TV analysts, collect their nice pensions and have roads (or even highways) named in their honor.
A leader who is a fighter will, through credible and correct action, attract a lot of support. This is exactly what has to happen since the enormous communications task ahead can’t be accomplished without the help of a lot of additional voices. Rational people will only be motivated to join in when there is the promise of success.
The reason I am constantly calling for a modernized and professionalized political party structure is because the party vehicle can play an important role in mustering supporters and reaching more voters with a reform message.
It’s going to come as bad news to some people but we’re not going to see that kind of regeneration of the party if we continue to cling to an outdated patronage model. Ours has to be a volunteer force.
Anyone paying attention knows that during the past several decades, millions more Americans have become dependent upon government largess. Today there are a record number of government employees, companies dependent upon government contracts, and individuals who receive some form of aid via tax dollars.
These people are going to fight not just to hold onto what they’ve got, they will be working hard to get even more. Can they increase their take from the public till? “Yes we can!” is their motto.
Our political and party leaders have to understand not just the philosophical difference between the political parties but also the practical difference. It’s the Democrat Party that can fill their ranks with public employees, union members, and others who do profit via government.
Republicans are going to have to muster a mostly volunteer force committed to good government, but that’s impossible without a commitment by its leadership to advance GOP principles. So we’re back where we started. It all begins with an understanding of what’s wrong and a good grounding in the platform principles that point towards the solutions.
Our national party and each of the fifty state parties, as well as our state legislative and Congressional delegations need to stop waiting for the next Ronald Reagan or Newt Gingrich to come along. Their future is in their hands, not in the hands of some rescue party.
Nor is it in the hands of the punditry class. While today’s marketplace of ideas and opinion is packed with great stuff, I’m reminded that on my bookshelf at home are copies of several books containing over twenty years of columns by one of my favorite writers. They contain some great stuff, but its reach is beyond anyone but enterprising house cats.
What we do lack is the equivalent of modern telegraph lines to carry the content to new eyes and ears. This process will only be accelerated credibly when our elected and party leaders commit themselves to throwing off their old assumptions about how the game works. I’ll say it again, they must lead.
I’m sympathetic to the all the demands placed on today’s elected officials, but frankly, it’s time for them to learn to set priorities and reorient their time investments. Public opinion is job one, not holding countless hands or sitting in countless meetings on finite details better left to responsible and like-minded subordinates.
The political left offers nothing new. The only reason Democrats still fare well on election day is because Republican leaders aren’t doing the work of reaching more voters with a reform message. Until we elevate leaders who will, we shouldn’t expect to see any real progress.