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Where Hope Shines for the Republican Party

December 8, 2008

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By André Bauer

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

—Barry Goldwater

Today, many in the Republican Party are wondering where we should begin with efforts to reshape our party’s messages, and, more importantly, our party’s role in America’s future — and thus America’s future in the world.

During the past 8 years, the Federal government grew faster than any true conservative appreciates. This growth in government, fostered by the policies of a neo-conservative administration in the White House, has shaken America’s confidence in our party’s representatives like never before.

To our party’s strategists, I submit to you that conservatism didn’t lose 19 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate. Governing liberally did.

Moving forward, Republicans must redefine what our party represents by reshaping our party’s message. The quality of that message must become more informative and specific in nature.

It is imperative for the Republican Party to find more representatives who are competent communicators. Our party’s representatives must be able to illuminate the grim prospects for America’s future posed by leading liberals’ profligate economic plans. Our party’s representatives must begin explaining why the policies we champion will give rise to the long-term economic stability Americans pray for.

Resource stewardship has long represented a core area of interest among conservatives. It is prudent stewardship of our economic resources that must once again become a defining characteristic of the policies embraced by the Grand Old Party’s representatives, both in word and in deed.

Working from the grassroots back up — state by state — is the course our party must take if we are to renew the fast-fading confidence in the Republican Party, confidence our candidates will need if conservatives are to take back Washington. By devising and articulating the soundest economic strategies for securing the financial futures of each state Republicans will once again demonstrate our party’s commitment to serving the interests of all Americans.

The majority of Americans are conservative to middle thinking. Thus Republican leaders within every state must embrace and bolster platforms that will bring more citizens together before the Republican Party is further polarized from the majority. When we look inward and concentrate our efforts toward the right principles our party will once again be the exemplar of frugal spending and reform.

Ultimately, voters will reward our party’s candidates for such efforts.

Here in South Carolina legislators recently approved $488 million in budget cuts. My office, The Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging, took a 10 percent cut without issuing a single pink slip (and I personally have had to forgo a paycheck). This form of leadership must once again symbolize the spirit of the entire Republican Party.

While I believe our representatives in Washington should follow our state’s example of restraint, and try to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment, I honestly doubt many Democrats set to run the show for the next few years will heed such advice.

However, hope remains alive for conservatives.

Democrats are pretty consistent in their messages. And it is in the Democrats’ persistent refusals to acknowledge bureaucracies based in D.C. will never do a better job of promoting the American dream than private businesses based across our country that a light shines brightly for the future of the Republican Party.

André Bauer is the lieutenant governor of South Carolina.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chet Sansbury permalink
    December 9, 2008 6:09 AM

    Not much substance in Andre Bauer’s message. The Party has avoided seriously discussing issues which affect the majority of citizens and that has cost big time.

    All elected officials, especially Governors and Congressmen, and not just Republican Party leaders, need to focus more strenuously on the serious problems and challenges facing this country in a more broad minded way. Unfortunately, many of our elected officials from both major parties focus more on sound bites and partisan rhetoric instead of realistic solutions to problems. Grassroots and average Americans are tired of the same old narrow minded political mantras. There also is too much posturing now for political position instead of effort to solve problems.

    The Presidential election showed a trend for broad minded Republicans to become more independent in their political posture, but not necessarily more toward the Democratic Party. They have become disappointed in a narrow minded national political posture at a time when that narrow approach will not serve the Party or our country well.

    America is faced with huge problems related to the Federal debt and deficit; jobs and economic security; our credit systems; Medicare and social security; electrical power needs and alternatives to coal; our reliance on oil for transportation; climate change impacts on fresh water supplies, agriculture, disease, and coastal property; and a badly stretched military organization. Attaching political terms like conservative and liberal to the challenges we face will not improve the chances of the Republican Party in the next elections. Solutions to long term problems are what most Americans are looking for. Extremism serves no good purpose other than to divide people and degrade their interest in cooperating to solve the problems we collectively face.

    More Americans are steadily moving away from clear political party affiliations and that means the Republican Party base nationally will continue to shrink unless a broader view of problems and possible solutions is taken. The single mantra of cutting taxes in the face of rising federal debt and spending just won’t cut it anymore. This is especially true for younger, well educated, well informed, politically active voters who are more attuned to and interested in environmental protection and natural resource issues and other challenges we face as a society.

    Party leaders should get their arms firmly around the numerous challenges our Country faces or the Republican Party will not recover lost political ground any time soon.

  2. Talbert Black, Jr. permalink
    December 9, 2008 10:25 PM

    Mr Bauer says, “The majority of Americans are conservative to middle thinking. Thus Republican leaders within every state must embrace and bolster platforms that will bring more citizens together before the Republican Party is further polarized from the majority.”

    I disagree. As long as the party is more worried about the majority than principle, it will have neither. Prinicpled statesmanship must trump politics by polling. That is what made Reagan so popular. He was seen as a principled statesman. That is where we must go.

    He next states, “When we look inward and concentrate our efforts toward the right principles our party will once again be the exemplar of frugal spending and reform.” which is true.

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