"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reborn Again

A lot is being said and written about how Republicans need to reposition themselves in light of this week's debacle at the polls. This was a particular interesting interview with incoming GOP chair for the state of Ohio.

A fixation on social issues, continuing scandals and a worn-out message are costing the Republican Party support from the young voters it needs to remain viable, the incoming chairman of the Ohio Republican Party told reporters yesterday.

In a candid appraisal two days after a second consecutive dismal election for his party, Kevin DeWine said the party is suffering "an identity crisis" and must rethink what it stands for.

"It is my belief that our party has lost a generation of young voters," said DeWine, who is expected to be elected chairman in January by the state party's central committee.

"The number of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 who look at the Republican Party as a party of choice for them is gone. Those voters 18 to 29 simply don't look at the Republican Party as a viable solution to the problems that they're facing. So we as a party have to figure out how do we connect with them and how do we connect with them with a message that resonates and shows to them that the party has something to offer them."

DeWine's comments came on the heels of another good election for Democrats: Sen. Barack Obama was elected president; Democrats padded their majorities in both houses of Congress, including picking up at least two House seats from Ohio; and they took control of the Ohio House for the first time since 1995. Two years ago, Democrats won the governor's office and three of the other four statewide executive offices.

"When all else fails, it's time to rethink, and that's the mode that we're going to be in nationally and it's the mode we need to be in here at the Ohio Republican Party," DeWine said.

During Republican Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s, DeWine said 40 percent of Ohioans considered themselves Republicans; that number has declined to 27 percent. There are 47 million Americans in the 18-29 voting age and in Ohio, according to exit polls, 64 percent of voters in that group supported Obama.

DeWine said the party is paying because it has left "our conservative roots based in fiscal responsibility and limited government and we have exchanged it for large government expansion, arguably the largest government expansion in the history of our nation."

"You add to that the growing frustration with the five-year (Iraq) war, the unpopularity of an incumbent president, a distracting fixation on social issues and never-ending ethics concerns (and) the electorate said they had enough. And I can't say that I blame them."

For too long, DeWine said, social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage have driven the GOP agenda, causing it to lose voters looking for pragmatic solutions to everyday problems.

"We have to exchange a fiscal message and economic message in for a social message that has dominated the messaging of this party for the last decade. We have to re-engage the middle class, step up with an agenda that solves problems and puts people first."

In a separate interview, House Speaker Jon A. Husted, a Kettering Republican, agreed that the party had moved away from its principle of fiscal discipline. He viewed the election as a starting-over point.

"I think the results of the national election are, in many ways, a blessing for the Republican Party in that we can stop trying to stumble to our feet," Husted said. "Instead we can wipe the slate clean and begin a renewal of our party, its leaders and its direction."

Dispatch reporter Jim Siegel contributed to this story.


Anonymous said...

Young people don't view the Republican party as an option because they have not been taught about costs. Media have presented issues in a one-sided manner, ignoring the taxation levels that are necessary to support all the programs that people "feel good" about. There is a disconnect between what things cost and the desire to have everything. Our youth have no clue, having been taught by absent parents and a special interest educational establishment. If people would ask themselves, "at what cost" we would strike a better political balance. There's not much chance of that happening right now. And I don't see it changing.

Republicans have stopped offering a conservative alternative. To compete, they need to attract black, women, and minority candidates, then learn to give money away. They have to care. Coming in second in the caring competition isn't good enough.
You are not going to teach this generation about paying for things. They don't know, and they don't care.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the title of this post, "Reborn Again", a bit redundant?

Anonymous said...

Can I give you guys some advice? Please look at what it is (was?)about the GOP that made you register and vote as one. If it was a "pro-life" mind set, then perhaps your party should be working with advocates to prevent unwanted pregnancies instead of advocating abstinence only. If it was a "small government" platform that got your motor running, then perhaps you can change your view of how we need to morally police ourselves and turn government into an engine of opportunity instead of a rack of the Inquisition.

Anonymous said...

Yup, bad title. Any more to add?

Anonymous said...

8:56 I'm not at all sure of what you are talking about. I'm willing to bet my vote was much more "mixed" than yours. You thoughts to follow the media pattern, however, so for that, I commend you for memorization.

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