Right now the Republican Party is undergoing a lot of battles, finger-pointing, and … discussion … about the direction the Party should take, and what it needs to do to be relevant in the future. One of the big problems for them I’ve seen is that they’re unwilling to take the obvious steps. Instead, most of it seems to be the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. It’s not really “changing the party,” it’s cosmetology, and it doesn’t make it any less a pig. So, with that in mind, here are my tips.
1) Admit supply side economics doesn’t work. Look, you had a 28 year run with it. Even back in 1980, one of your contenders for the nomination called it “voodoo economics,” and it turned out he was right. Sure, it sounded good on paper, but in practice, it turned out that the only people who really benefited from it were … the people who were wealthy. No one else did. If cutting taxes for the wealthy would create jobs, then we should have had the job creation boom to end all job creation booms the past 4 years. Why? Because their taxes were cut.
2) Facts only “have a liberal bias” because you deny them. They really don’t have a “bias,” they’re objective. The Earth is a planet, it’s (more-or-less) spherical. It rotates around its axis, it follows an elliptical path around the Sun, and it’s 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus 50 million years. We have direct observations, and we have a lot of physics and chemistry which tells us this. Telling me theologians disagree on the age of the Earth is not acknowledging a fact, it’s stating an opinion. They’re not the same.
3) Acknowledge that science works. That means that (see point #2) evolution happens, and global climate change is happening. While it’s cute to think of humans running around with the dinosaurs, all the evidence says they didn’t. The same thing is true of climate change. We have good measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide dating back over a century. We also have good records of sea levels, sea temperature, ice sheets, and glaciers. We can even look at cores from Antarctica, Greenland, and the seabed, and get hard figures for several thousand years back. So when virtually every scientist whose specialty is the climate comes out and says that CO2 levels are changing the climate, you just look like an idiot saying it isn’t. Particularly when your “experts” … aren’t.
4) Realize that regulations are not necessarily bad. There is a big difference between saying “this specific regulation is unnecessary” and saying “we don’t need regulations.” We’ve had some very harsh reminders of why the financial markets were regulated in the first place, and that you didn’t learn from that isn’t speaking well of your intellectual abilities. That’s just one example of many. We used to agree that it was a good thing that food was safe, medicines worked, drinking water was safe to drink, and pollution was not a good thing.
5) Since you’ve invested too much into bashing “elitism,” how about pushing for “competence?” While you were out screaming about “elites,” basic competence in core government functions took a hike. Look at Florida. 12 years after an election mess that ended up in front of the Supreme Court, and they still can’t run an election. It’s considered a “basic function,” and screwing it up doesn’t look good. Third World countries manage to do it better.
6) Finally, realize that it’s the 21′st Century. Yes, the year is 2012, soon to be 2013. Why do I mention that? Because most of your talk about “good old American traditional values,” etc., last existed in 1900, and were on their way out then. That was the year that the population started becoming a “majority urban” instead of a “majority rural” population. Sure, there were no income taxes, women didn’t have the vote, we had controls and strict laws on immigrants (many of the most “unwelcome” are probably in your family tree), few regulations, no unions, and no “welfare.” Sounds good to you? It didn’t to the people back then. Life sucked for the majority. Unless you happened to be among the very wealthy – there was a reason it was called “the Gilded Age” – you were going to be working at a low-paying job, often sick from bad food, and if anything happened, well … you died. Or you were out on the streets. If you were a farmer and your crops failed, you were finished. Put your money in a bank? If the bank went under, you lost everything. Those were considered “bad things,” and over the years the country – both Republicans and Democrats – decided to do something about them. We’re also not the same country we were in 1900. Most of the population is urban, it’s much more diverse demographically, we live in a connected world, and in case you missed it, women can vote. Continuing to demonize the majority of people in this country just ensures you’re headed towards extinction.