“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Three Step Plan For Conservatives

We conservatives and Republicans can whine and scream all we want about the election results. We brought it on ourselves.

The Republican Party claimed an agenda and standing for morality. And, yet, when the problems arose, we denied and avoided the issues. Can we really expect people to believe in our claims when we make excuses for things like Abramoff? When it comes to morality, can we really claim the high ground when there are Senators and Congressmen who violate those claims and nothing is done about them?

The Republicans claimed to care about honesty government, but again, we denied and avoided the issues when they arose. What did Republicans actually do about Earmarks? Scandals (i.e. DeLay)? Worthless programs (dare I say the “Bridge to Nowhere” which no one ever stopped)? Once again, we violated the trust of the electorate.

Ladies and gentlemen, we brought this on ourselves. We ruined our own credibility. And, when you ruin your own, you increase the opponent’s credibility. This is why the Democrats got elected. The Republican/Conservative leaders proved to enough people they could not be trusted. It’s the turn around from the Clinton years when enough voters reached the point where they no longer trusted Clinton and the Democrats.

The margin was not really that big. The real difference in the election results were the moderates. Post election polls in 1994 showed the voters going over to the Conservative side because they no longer trusted the Liberals. Polls this time showed people were voting for the Liberals because they didn’t trust the Conservatives anymore. Yes, Iraq was a big issue with voters. But, I think the real issue was trust. The Republican leaders had shown enough untrustworthiness they were voted out of office. Had Repbulicans taken the high road in all the scandals and dealt with them openly and quickly, I think the Democrats would have lost big in this election.

Well, now, we have to live with the results for a few years. It’s possible the White House could go to the Democrats again, too. That will depend entirely on how we Conservatives go forward from here.

So what are we going to do? Point fingers? Cry and scream some more? (…ooohhh!!!...look how ugly/liberal/whatever that Congressman is…) I’m not saying those declarations won’t be true. They probably will be. And, there has been some great commentary written lately. Just going back to the elections, we find, from my list of favorites:

Castle Argghhh weighing in on Michael Moore’s latest missive.
Chickenhawk Express weighs in with this and this.
Neo-Contastic had a rant.
Jarhead’s Firing Range had this missive.
Michelle posted this well written piece.
Does any one else see more than a bunch of people pointing fingers, saying “see I told you so.” That will not be enough to win voters back.

I propose a three step process that could do the job.

Step One. Develop a long range plan, and stick to it. To some degree, the Democrats were able to oust Republicans because they did not complete all the elements of the “Contract With America.” The Republicans got sidetracked by Iraq. Read through the right wing blogosphere. (…go ahead…I’ll wait…) Now, tell me that is not the primary focus of our writing. What is the long-range plan of Republicans? Simply to oust the Democrats? What do we plan to do and how are we going to accomplish it? There needs to be something like a five-year plan, as well as an even longer one. Without a plan, and constant monitoring and re-evaluation, the Party is doomed.

Step Two. Create a unified voice. Did anyone pay attention to how unified voices at the Daily Kos were? Did anyone notice how much effect Kos activists had on Democratic races? Using the internet, the Left outfundraised the Right two or three to one. They were able to unify and through that unity, draw more people into their “cause.” Repbulicans, on the other hand, had no unifying element. Even in the blogosphere, Conservatives are fragmented (…scattered, divided, leaderless--to borrow Elrond’s line from Lord of the Rings…). A unified voice must be created or developed to communicate the plan.

Step Three. Elected officials must be held accountable for their actions—legally as well as electorally. Electorally, the Left is very good at holding their officials accountable to the Agenda. Republicans are not. We must get better. The Left is horrible at holding their officials accountable legally (i.e. President Clinton, Rep. Jefferson and Frank). The Right, by claiming the moral high road, must learn to walk it. And, “We The People” must hold them to it. We made excuses for Conservatives, and wanted Liberals crucified. We must demand the same of both.

The Republicans took control of government by riding a wave of voter discontent towards Democrats for almost 12 years. How long will the Democrats get to ride the wave of discontent towards Republicans?

The question is what will voters perceive of the Republicans? It’s time to get on the High Road.

Read Challenge To The Right Wing from last week.