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The Republican Party's Little Problem

Updated on July 16, 2013
Plan B and the Tea Party Caucus are the least of House Speaker John Boehner's problems right now.
Plan B and the Tea Party Caucus are the least of House Speaker John Boehner's problems right now.

9 months after Election Day, Republicans are still having trouble re-branding. This is why...

Republicans have a problem, but its not one they like to talk much about these days. And that is just their problem. Namely, the Republican Party's problem is that they still haven't figured out why they lost to President Obama and the Democrats in 2012. It already seems like ancient history to some, but Republicans are still reeling over their defeat, and instead of asking why a majority of 5 million Americans might have conceivably voted against them, Republicans have been fighting something of a civil war within their own ranks. Some seem to think that any Republican less conservative than Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh is automatically unfit for public office and that Mitt Romney was not conservative enough. Others state that all they need to do is change their language and tone, instead of their message.The final group wants the Party to do some serious soul searching.

Of these different positions, only one of them is the right way to go. The most obviously flawed position is that, if the Republican Party had just run a true, dyed-in-the-wool conservative, than that candidate would be in the White House right now. From the look of most major polls, this argument seems unlikely. The consensus among this group of ultra conservatives is that Americans are really a center right people, and could be tempted to vote for a very conservative candidate. The reality is, of course, much more complex. Americans do tend to be fiscally conservative on economic issues. But when it comes to social issues, Republicans run a serious risk of alienating vast swaths of the population. For example, majorities now support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Republicans do not. In point of fact, majorities of Americans now seem to associate the Republican Party with the terms "extreme," "out of touch," "greedy," and "defenders of the rich." Generally, these are not things a party wants to be associated with.

And then, there is the matter of women. During the last election, Republicans damaged their brand among women, especially with candidates like Todd Akin. The Republicans lost the chance to gain two seats in the Senate because of unwise words by Republican candidates concerning women, rape or abortion. Those who find themselves in the "Mitt wasn't conservative enough" camp might want to consider the following; Missouri is a fairly conservative state. After Todd Akin made his remarks about "legitimate rape," fairly conservative Missouri proceeded to reelect Senator Claire McCaskill, the Democrat. Indiana did the same thing. Had Akin run for President, he would not have won the Presidency either. His conservatism ended up defeating him, in a conservative state, because he was too conservative.

Or, if that doesn't fit the bill, how about this; Ever wonder why Rick Santorum lost the Republican nomination? If the people of the United States, or even the Republican Party, wanted a truly "conservative" candidate, then why isn't Rick Santorum the President right now? The answer is that the United States actually isn't as conservative as it once was. It would be a stretch to say that it is a center-left nation, of course. If anything, America is a center-center country, that leans left on some issues and right on others.

Other Republicans have taken a very different approach. "There's no need to change any of our positions," they say. "Just change the words, and use a different tone," they add. Why not? Just put the broken pieces in a brand new box, they seem to say, and Americans will buy it. There's no need to change anything but the words.

This, of course, is nonsense, and furthermore, is an insult to voters intelligence. It is also probably a pretty fair reason why many people so distrust politicians; Why should Americans trust politicians or political parties that use deceptive language, and hide behind innocent gestures while possibly planning an agenda that might be detrimental to those who vote for them? This kind of manipulation is just not a great thing to sell to the people who cast the votes. It is also useless. After voting against Republicans because of their message, most Americans are likely to be more aware that Republicans are using misleading language.

In light of this, what are Republicans to do? Well, they might do well to listen to the last camp. These Republicans would like their party to do some serious soul searching. And Republicans really could use some soul searching right now, because their current policies and positions seem out of whack with most Americans. They need to find a different message, not a different tone, and they need smarter conservatives, not more conservative conservatives. They need to rethink their opposition to gay marriage. They need to offer conservative, market based solutions to climate change, instead of outright denial. They need to offer a fiscally sound plan in Congress, one that the President and Democrats can seriously consider. They need to offer compromises, and they need to compromise.

All of the above paragraphs present the discussion that is currently dividing the Republican Party. But those aren't the Republicans problem. The Republican Party's problem is that it has to have the discussion in the first place.



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    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      The Republican party is now controlled by the Far Right who supply the campaign money and come out to vote in primaries. They will need to wean themselves off this element or risk turning into a permanent minority party. In that case, another slightly right of center would develop into a major party. They are at a turning point. Excellent Hub, Nathan.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      Good points, HSchneider, and I agree! Thanks for stopping by!

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 4 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      Not letting the Koch Brothers, ALEC, the NRA, etc set the agenda would be helpful as well.

      Or does the GOP want to be a regional party?

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      TeaPartyCrasher,

      Yes, good points, all of them. But from the way things appear to be going, the GOP is well on its way to becoming a regional party. Thanks for commenting.

    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 4 years ago

      Hi Nathan Orf, I am a Republican. Actually, some of us on the Right are quite reasonable, perhaps more than some think. However, hard core evangelicals and the Tea Party are causing many to place all Republicans in the same box. This makes me sad, frankly, as many Republicans I know personally are not homophobic or untruthful.

      Having said that, you've made some insightful comments about things Republicans had better change if they don't want to fizzle away into the ether altogether. My party's rating is at an all time low, and we have to heed some obvious warnings...or else.

      By the way, my parents are Democrats, and they love Obama. But we've learned to agree to disagree, for the most part...although sometimes they blurt out some rather unkind things about my party. My point is that I've been exposed to both viewpoints, but I still believe in mine. I believe strongly in small government and fiscal responsibility.

      Thus, I hope that you and I can agree to disagree. As you've already learned about me, my speech is not politically correct, even with my friends. If I made friends that way, I would detest myself, and I'm not about to let that happen. At any rate, I've pretty much surmised that it's usually best for people of differing parties not to talk much about politics. For example, my son is a Republican, who is mostly liberal on social issues, yet his best friend is a far left Democrat, as liberal as they come. They've been friends since middle school - over 17 years. But they don't discuss politics. My point: We all know politics is a hot button issue.

      Nonetheless, I feel compelled to say that Republicans have offered the president some proposals with compromise and balance, but he rejected them out of hand because he wanted even more taxes placed on the table.

      If you are so inclined, and because I am fond of recommending books, you might take a look at "The Price of Politics," by Bob Woodward. You will learn some surprising things about President Obama, like how he rarely reaches across the aisle. And frankly, this was apparent to me even before the book came out. This lack of communication, to me, is unacceptable. He is the captain of the ship. He has to communicate better. Our Congress is highly dysfunctional now because the president has not been effective in drawing in members of both parties together for constructive dialogue. LBJ and Clinton knew how to do this quite well. Obama, I am sorry to say, does not.

      Anyway, Woodward is a seasoned journalist. His writing is based on factual documents, letters, transcripts and interviews with congressmen. He took down the Nixon administration.

      By the way, you write very well. I look forward to reading your hub about writing better essays.

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      The biggest problem they have is that they still do not Represent people. Even now their goal is to commit financial suicide in the belief that they will get their way. The only goal is to return entitlements to the rich and maintain those they only Represent. Extending the Corporate mind set to every home and ignoring the slaves they have created who do their dirty work, is their economic plan for America.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      savvydating,

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I would like to say straight out that I don't think all Republicans are unreasonable. I think the fact that most Republicans are located on planet earth gets lost in all of the media coverage of the true extremists, who don't actually speak for the majority of their party. That makes me sad as well.

      And, yes, we can certainly disagree agreeably. As a point of fact, I already have "The Price of Politics" booked at my local library. I think it should make for some interesting reading. But I tend to take any journalist's presentation of facts with a grain of salt; I just don't fully trust their conclusions until they have been fully examined from many different angles. I like to get all sides of the story before I make my mind up.

      By the way, thank you for the compliment about my writing. I find that very gratifying.

    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 4 years ago

      Hi Nathan Orf,

      Thank you for the kind reply. I was wrong to have been so presumptuous. Perhaps I'm a bit battle weary... At any rate, it is always wise to take journalists presentation of facts with a grain of salt. The more research we do, the better. One of my favorite programs is PBS's, The Jim Lehrer Report. They try (mostly) to present at least two sides of an argument, but even then, I remain alert for discrepancies.

      Also, there was a Front Line special on the sequestration deal based upon the book. I was unable to find it for you on YouTube - that would have saved you some (reading) time.

      Have a great weekend!

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