This column is going to be tough medicine for some Republicans to swallow—especially those who think the best strategy for taking back the White House is to water down the party’s traditional conservative values. I write specifically of Republicans who consider themselves moderates on social issues. In the old days we called moderates Rockefeller Republicans—they were sort of conservative on economic issues but indistinguishable from Democrats on social issues. This, by the way, is just one reason Nelson Rockefeller—namesake of Rockefeller Republicans—never became president. Today we have a more accurate and enduring term for so-called moderates: RINOs.
Republicans call their party the party of Lincoln. Perhaps leaders in the national Republican Party should heed the words of old Abe who once said: “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” Republican leaders should heed Lincoln’s advice as they struggle with the divisions that are growing up between grassroots conservative movements and the Republican Party. Bridging the growing gap between the Republican Party and grassroots conservative movements such as the TEA Party will require leadership and hard work. But the work must be done or George W. Bush will be the last Republican to serve as president.
Mitt Romney was right about the 47% of Americans who look to nanny government for their sustenance. This being the case, it is easy to do the math. This percentage means that every American who might vote Republican must be convinced to follow through and do so if a Republican is to win the presidency. Republicans cannot afford to lose even one vote over internecine feuding. Fomenting disunity among conservative groups such as the TEA Party and the Republican Party will not get Republicans back in the game. Wasting time, energy, and resources lobbing bombs at Tea Party Patriots instead of taking on the destructive policies of the left will not get Republicans back in the game.
The GOP must put its energy and resources into confronting the distortions and falsehoods of so-called progressives. Anything else plays right into the hands of the Democrats and their partners, the leftwing media. Let me be clear on this point. Republicans will not retake America unless and until they stop the bickering among conservative groups and start coming together under the banner of those big-ticket issues on which all of them can all agree. If a future Republican candidate for the presidency cannot reach out to true conservatives and TEA Party patriots and bring them together under the banner of conservatism, the Republican Party should not nominate that individual. Hence, someone needs to tell Karl Rove that the opponents of the Republican Party are liberals and Democrats, not TEA Party Patriots and true conservatives.
The arc of socio-political thought in America sometimes bends slowly, but it bends inevitably and inexorably toward the truth. The conservative worldview is solidly grounded in the truth, while the Democrats’ worldview is based on distortions, manipulation, and false promises. Yes, there are more Americans than ever before who see the American dream as gaming the system to get as many government entitlements as possible. Mitt Romney was right when he identified this population cohort as the 47% who want the government to take care of them. Where he was wrong was in backing down from this statement.
Where some weak-kneed Republicans are wrong is in assuming that this 47% figure is permanent and cannot be changed. This is a defeatist assumption and I do not accept it. Conservative principles are superior to the entitlement mentality purposefully promulgated by Democrats. Republicans just need to do a better job of showing Americans of all stripes that this is the case. To do so, they will have to take their eyes off of the scoreboard and get them back on the ball. If Republicans will do this, not only will they win back the White House they might just save America.