Saturday, May 02, 2009

National Council for a New America Embarks On Listening Tour - Cantor, Bush, Romney, No Sarah Palin

Earlier today I linked to an article about a new GOP organization intended to revive the parties 2010 election prospects.

Formed by Eric Cantor this group wants to "give people something to say yes to" as well as developing a policy agenda that is suited for the 21st century.

All well and good but in the process they are leaving the social conservatives out of the picture:

The party leaders notably avoided any discussion of issues that have motivated the GOP base – gay marriage, immigration, and abortion.

Social conservative issues aren't really my thing but avoiding them seems to be a recipe for even more party division. The anti-arbotion, anti-illegal immigration, anti-gay marriage groups are going to want their say and as a party we need to hammer out an acceptable compromise soon. 2010 will be too late. Case in point:

Indeed, several protesters from an anti-illegal immigration group stood outside the pizzeria holding signs complaining that the party was sidestepping crucial social issues.

“The reason that immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion were left off the agenda is because they feel it will turn people off to the Republican party,” said Michael McLaughlin, a member the American Council for Immigration Reform. “To me, you can’t discuss energy independence and health care without talking about immigration. It’s all related.”

BarbinMD at the Daily Kos is elated that there is no mention of social hot-button issues:

So, what's the first change?

The National Council for a New America launched with an open letter that’s notable for what it leaves out: The issues that a large segment of the party’s base are most passionate about. The letter, signed by 14 congressional Republican leaders, makes no mention of same-sex marriage, immigration — legal or otherwise — or abortion.

Yes, they're throwing the "values voters" under the bus, which one assumes is the reason they were:

... unable to reach Palin to ask her if she would like to join the group.

It seems that the marginally less insane faction of the Republican Party is attempting a coup. This should be fun.

Dan Riehl of Riehl World View also agrees this strategy is a loser:

Frankly, what's so wrong with being "the Party of No!" when the Federal government is looking at re-shaping American corporations and entire industries, ultimately nationalizing Health Care and spending our children's money like a drunken sailor? It seems to me these guys are more afraid of bad headlines, than they are the mostly Republican base that has been taking to the streets in recent months. If so, that isn't a good thing for their political futures.


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to advocate local control on Education, or to figure out Free Markets with prudent regulation. Nor does it require one to address the border before considering some form of path to citizenship for hard working, law abiding illegals. The answer for the GOP is not making a bunch of new promises from the Federal Government after having not fulfilled earlier promises.

When both your friends and your enemies are telling you your plan is horrible it may be time to rexamine.

The platform posted on Cantor's webpage doesn't have a lot of details either:

Economy: Real Solutions for Economic Recovery

As the country battles through the worst economic crisis in a generation, we must remain focused on the foundations and institutions that have made us the most prosperous people in the world and the ideas that create jobs and grow our economy. At the same time, we must learn from the mistakes that led to the current crisis and to prevent similar situations from ever occurring again.

Healthcare: Building a 21st Century, Patient-Centered System

No one doubts that our nation’s health care system is in need of reform, but we must strike the right balance that builds on what works and fixes what is broken. All Americans deserve access to high-quality, affordable care. But such coverage cannot come at the expense of their ability to choose their own doctor and have access to the right care, at the right time, in the right setting without waiting in line while sick. In addition, we must continue to focus on the innovation and science that have resulted in thousands of treatments and cures for life-threatening or debilitating diseases while allowing America to remain the leader in research and development worldwide.

Education: Preparing Our Children to Succeed

A high-quality education should not be dependent upon a parent’s income or address. All of America’s children deserve an education that will prepare them for the opportunities and the challenges that await them in the global economy. Yet today, thousands of American children, especially in our inner cities, receive a substandard education or find post-secondary education unaffordable. We must return power from Washington to parents and well-paid teachers who know what’s best for our children.

Energy: Solutions for Energy Independence

American families and businesses cannot afford an energy policy where we are held hostage by foreign oil cartels and dictators. As a nation, we can no longer send billions of dollars overseas each year, often to countries that help fund our enemies. We must implement a comprehensive energy policy that includes traditional fuels, alternative energy, and conservation resulting in affordable, reliable domestic energy. Such a policy will stabilize costs for families and businesses while at the same time creating much-needed jobs here at home.

National Security: Defending American Liberty and Freedom

The threats posed to our nation are more varied and evolving more than perhaps at any other time in our history. Modern communications, technology and the proliferation of weapons of all types have empowered our enemies and those who support them. Our national security policy must reflect these realities while allowing us to maintain technological superiority, support the most well-trained and well-equipped military in the world and have the intelligence capabilities to uncover and prevent attacks before they occur.

It appears that they just took the major concern of each participant and threw it on the page with a bunch of platitudes. It might just be me but it seems that having a framework to guide the conversation would be a good idea. An even better one might be some concrete suggestions. That was one of the great things about the Contract with America. It had concrete mileposts and goals not all of them were achieved but they were there.

So where would I start? Back in January 2006, during the Alito confirmation hearings, I wrote the following:

Anyway that got me to thinking about what the Republican party is or wants to be. The GOP claims to be a big tent party with room for all different viewpoints, and to a large extent I think that is right. There are many Republican politicians who are anti-death penalty, pro-choice, etc. Again all that is almost immaterial too me too me this is what defines being a Republican:

1. Emphasis on the individual and his accomplishments, rather than on the group and their perceive injustices.
2. A belief that government should be as small as possible and as local as possible.
3. A belief in fiscal conservatism

That's my starting point and I am willing to hammer out details on those points with anyone else who wants to get in on the action, at the same time I am willing to discuss the Social Con issues. I am not going to demand that the GOP be perfect on every issue because I am not perfect on every issue.

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