Many older conservatives remember the good old days of the “Reagan Revolution.” I wish we could bring Ronald Reagan back so he can tell us what he thinks of the policy win-loss record for conservatives since he left office twenty-six years ago this month. Something tells me Ronny’s sunny disposition would be sorely tested.
I am well aware that my subject in most of these recent columns is the political equivalent of “eat your spinach!” The majority of conservatives are comfortable in 24-7-365 bitch mode. “Those darned people!” they cry, as if the “we the people” thing didn’t include them.
There are, of course, those conservative pessimists who say, “it’s all over, we’ve lost, so why bother?”
Wherever their ancestors came from — or whenever they came to this land — it’s a good guess that they had more fight in them than their descendants who fly the white surrender flag.
You are not “more realistic” if you’re giving up. And you’re certainly not more realistic if you think victory can be achieved without the help of a lot of like-minded people. There’s no such thing as political magic — so sorry — you’re not excused from participation.
If you’re younger than 40, you need to start doing the math on just how much debt your elders are leaving to you — and pay attention to this thing called the social fabric.
If you’re older than 40, it’s time to choose sides and join in the work. Do you want to be a part of the solution or are you content to stop listening to your conscience for the rest of your natural life?
If you’ve given up hope, let me suggest that you’re not exactly the kind of person the Republican Party needs. Right now we need fighters. We need people who are willing to admit what hasn’t worked politically. We need people willing to learn and try new approaches.
Some of those approaches aren’t actually new — they’re just new to an entire generation of people who have never engaged politically. We’ve touched on some of the basics regarding what the local party organizations should and can accomplish. But it’s important to note that because the Republican Party is mostly a volunteer effort, good people will be needed who will attract other good people.
However, without honest, competent, and professional leadership, we can’t expect high quality people to invest energy, time and money.
In his best selling book “Good to Great,” author Jim Collins writes that he expected the first step to success in building a successful enterprise was going to be setting —
a new direction, a new vision and strategy for the company, and then to get people committed and aligned behind that new direction.
We found something quite the opposite.
The executives who ignited the transformation from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get the people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it.
There isn’t a problem in the nation that can’t be solved if enough of the right people get engaged in politics. It’s true for every policy challenge. And it’s certainly true for the fundamental task of re-building a political party — which has to happen if we’re to successfully undo the damage caused by the political left.
Next time let’s look at the Republican Party’s chicken and the egg problem.