Monday, August 31, 2009

The Gross Poll: Inisght into the decade of defeat.

Doug Gross’ recent poll demonstrates the distinction between a boxer and a puncher. The whole premise of the poll assumes that we Republicans are a one punch palooka whose only chance is the haymaker from Hell.

Given the economic collapse our nation faces, and Iowa’s role as arguably the worst business climate in the nation, there really cannot be any argument that the economy is our best punch. To require polling data to confirm the foregoing tautology bespeaks a level of either or both political or ideological insecurity that is almost in itself disqualifying from leadership. This insecurity has caused us defeat, followed by even greater defeat because it has afflicted so much of our Republican leadership.

So, like a smart boxer, let us lead with our best punch. The next question is to decide on precisely what is that punch.

Our best punch certainly is not going to be the mere juxtaposition of Republican use of government to empower and enrich large, powerful economic units, so as to allow them to better victimize the average Iowan, against Democrat use of government to enrich and empower government itself, unions and the even the more bizarre collection of micro-interest protoplasm that make up their party, so as to better victimize the average Iowan. What is good for Principal, Wells Fargo, BoA, ethanol barons, etc… is not necessarily always good for the average American or Iowan. Our leadership has myopically assumed that the average Iowa voter knows nothing. While the average Iowan might not fully understand actuarial tables or the economic theories that justify social and corporate welfare, they surely do know their own life’s circumstances and they know what helps and hurts them-AND WE WERE NOT HELPING THEM! Merely doing less damage than the Democrats is not ever going to provide us with the majority building mandate we need to reverse the last twenty to forty years of government growth.

Here’s another historical, and hence political reality, a reality so obvious that any political leader, not enmeshed in only their life and interests (the latter, of course, being a subset of the former) should require polling data to know -people are pissed at “big business” because big business, much like big government, takes even the coppers from the eyes of the dead as they cross the River Styx. Just blathering about “smaller government” and “tax cuts” isn’t going to work-at least if the Republican politician’s objective is to obtain office for the purpose of governing in a manner that is more, rather than less, like our platform, and the beliefs and interests of the average Republican, who statistically is a small business owner or employee of a small business, family farmer, etc...

Moreover, it probably won’t work electorally more than once because the problems faced by the average Iowan are very much real. People want solutions so badly that they were willing to buy into the historically disastrous anti (or perhaps “contra”) Americanism that the Democrats offered in the last two electoral cycles.

Replicating the Republican legislative agenda, both here and in D.C., of 2000-2006 is certainly not the answer; the public has already weighed, measured and found that agenda to be sadly insufficient to solve the problems of the everyday Iowan. Accepting this fact will go a long way toward rebuilding confidence in our party. “Blame storming” has not really advanced our agenda, although it has helped to keep reform out of our party and given us a somewhat deserved reputation for being unwelcoming. Bankruptcy court is filled with companies that blamed the customer for not buying its product.

So, let us come up with a real agenda of governmental and economic reform that addresses employment and immigration security; long term and sustained economic development that is dependent on government providing nothing than a generically good business climate; health care, health insurance (and insurance in general), social service and banking reform; and then explain it to the voters. Or, we could keep repeating shopworn tag lines that remind the voter of nothing more than what they don’t like about Republicans.

Then, how about having a second punch? A third? A fourth? The public is with us on virtually every social issue, why on earth would we run from popular positions? Of course, that too might require actually saying something other than “family values” or “Christian” because the party of Mark Sanford, Larry Craig and David Vitter has to come up with new and considerably better ways to explain the importance of social virtue. Homosexuality is viewed as morally failed in virtually every culture, including the one in which we live, through all of recorded history so why do we need to speak in code? Abortion, even more contrary to the law of nature itself than homosexuality, is as perennially prominent as class warfare and race baiting in liberal campaign rhetoric. The voters already agree with us so why on Earth should we not we make the voters feel good about that agreement. Most people feel oppressed by a politically correct liberal media and academia that limits the expression of the conservative majority to whispered tones in the privacy of one’s home. We should end that oppression.

While the occupant of Terrace Hill and the leadership offices under the Dome make a lot of difference to the people who trade in power and government largesse, if we don’t come up with real solutions to real problems before the Democrats perfect the one-party total state that is their objective those occupants will not make much difference to the average Iowan on the ground. The Republican that has the insight to grasp this historical moment and the courage to exploit it will crush their rivals in a primary and the Big Lug in November. Otherwise, while we might scare the hell out of the public and gain slimish legislative majorities for a while, and some among us will make a killing, it won’t impress the public with any long term affection for us and it certainly will not stop, much less reverse, the gradual decline into the moral, emotional and political bankruptcy of socialism.

2 comments:

RF said...

Ted,

Have you been listening to NPR or some other reasonable news source? Seems like you are searching in the right direction for answers to your party's troubles. Sloganeerism isn't going to do it for your side, you are right there. Now if you could retire some of your own tired old slogans (start with the liberal mainstream media lines), you would be in great shape. Also, I don't know about your thoughts on the R social agenda. But still, as a partisan D, I'm afraid you are on the right track.

Anonymous said...

it doesn't matter how that political battle finish, but there is a nice reason for buying paper to take advantage of it

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