Let me begin by thanking Patrick, Soren, Jon, and the guys at the Next Right for understanding the importance that the internet can play in shaping the future of our party. As Republicans, we should be using forums such as blogs to shape and mold policy.
I have had a front-row seat to the Republican Party over the past several years. I've been a volunteer, a grass-roots candidate for governor, a lieutenant-governor nominee, chaired Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign in Iowa and was an elected delegate to this year's National Convention.
This has provided me a unique perspective of the status of the Republican Party. Paraphrasing Jerry McGuire, "I've been to the puppet show, and I've seen the strings.
There are many fingers being pointed and many excuses being offered in the Republican locker room after the staggering 2008 losses. As a result, we are searching for leaders in the Iowa Senate, the Iowa House and for Iowa's Republican Party. In addition, nonelected leaders are giving explanations for the party's demise and offering prescriptions for the future. So, please permit me to offer mine.
Jesus Christ, whom many Republicans claim to follow, summoned his followers to be either hot or cold toward Him, because a "lukewarm" commitment makes Him want to vomit. I believe this accurately reflects the mood of voters in the past several elections where Republicans have witnessed consecutive defeats.
We have followed the misguided advice of "experts" to abandon our principles and move to the middle so we can supposedly win. In essence, we have become "lukewarm" on life, on marriage, on the Second Amendment, on limited government, on balanced budgets, on lower taxes, on parental rights in educating and raising children, on faith, on family and on freedom. The net result is that voters have spit us out of their mouths.
Republicans are losing because the voters don't trust them. The first key to any leadership position is trust. No one cares how competent someone is if they can't be trusted. The last thing any state or entity needs is a competent liar.
The party's platform is clearly pro-life, but we fill out surveys and use focus-tested words to validate our overriding interest in winning versus a sincere commitment to core principles. Republicans rev up their base by declaring marriage to be between one man and one woman only to walk away from the issue when it poses a threat to personal ambition. The result is no trust ... no vote.
Republicans promise to balance budgets, but citizens are strapped with the largest deficit in history. Republicans passionately discuss limited government but deliver Medicare D, No Child Left Behind, stimulus plans and state value funds. The result is no trust ... no vote.
Some in the GOP are bold enough to refer to their party as "God's Own Party," indicating unswerving commitment to faith, family and freedom. Even so, voters witness disgusting text messages to young pages, solicitation of prostitutes, adulterous affairs, improper advances in airport restrooms and acceptance of money in exchange for power. The result is no trust ... no vote.
The "elite" politicos and Iowa's dwindling Republican establishment are now convening committees and strategy sessions to advise their "flock" to abandon the party's principles and move even further to the middle if they hope to win again. The voter sees and tastes the "lukewarm" and compromising attempts to gain positions and power. The result is no trust, and the voter, like Christ, wants to throw up.
If Republicans are to win again, they must authentically embrace their core principles and effectively communicate a compelling message of bold-color conservatism that inspires faith, family and freedom.
Each year, we hear more and more praise for President Ronald Reagan. So, let's embrace the unyielding words of our party's icon when he said, "Let us raise our bold colors high." And, for those who are willing to exchange their values for shallow victories, as Reagan said, "let them go their way!"