The party switch by Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is the latest development that has various politicians and party elites calling for a new Republican brand. That, they say, involves somehow reshaping and redefining conservatism. It can't be done. Conservatism is a philosophy and a way of living. Political image-shapers can take it or leave it. They can't change it. And they shouldn't. On the financial crisis, health care, and the environment, conservative thinkers should be spending their time in the wilderness formulating solutions for the problems that face the country. These need to be fleshed out and ready when the electorate gets fed up with the current march toward socialism.
For some GOP bigwigs...recasting and rebranding means dumping the "wedge" issues: abortion and same sex marriage. The National Council for a New America was launched recently by Senator John Mc Cain, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, former Governors Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, and others. This group is out to remake their party, by focusing on the bread and butter issues of domestic policy: the economy, health care. They are pointedly not, at this time, addressing the issues a large segment of their base cares most about: marriage, illegal immigration, and abortion.
Certainly, we need thoughtful solutions to the economic problems that threaten our very way of life. But this group isn't providing any...yet. A spokesman said, "This is not a contract with America-this is a conversation with America." They're missing an opportunity to offer solutions. South Carolina Senator Jim De Mint says, "Republicans became more concerned with staying in D.C. than reforming it." The right should figure out compelling ways to define core principles that cannot be compromised. Strong defense, small government., freedom, and ...yes...life and marriage.
John Mc Cain's daughter Meghan, wants a hipper, edgier party that will attract the youth vote. She calls for Republicans to embrace gay marriage. Recently a group of conservative homeschoolers in Dallas played her interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow to analyze her arguments. They concluded she had no idea why she was a Republican except that she likes the Republicans she met on the campaign trail. Maddow asked her if, since she disagreed with the party on social issues, was she a Republican because of economic issues? No...she says she really doesn't know that much about the economic stuff.
America can do better than this. If young conservatives want compassion toward homosexuals, let's find ways to offer that without changing the institution of marriage. Explain to them that strong marriages foster strong, free, and prosperous societies.
Those who point to social conservatives as the cause of the Republican's current woes should consider a recent Pew Research poll which shows that American support for abortion is experiencing its sharpest decline in at least a decade with the drop being steepest among 18 to 29-yer-olds.
Perhaps...if we encourage it... this is a new conservative movement in the making.