YOUR VIEW: Where Do We Grow from Here?
By Matt O'Hern // November 13, 2012
OPINION – COLUMNIST SPOTLIGHT
After any major loss, soul-searching is a painful yet necessary part of the road to recovery.
In the wake of Obama’s re-election, the GOP faces a series of tough questions and critical decisions it must address if it hopes to broaden its appeal among an electorate that is dramatically different from the Reagan/Bush 41 era.
Fiscal and social conservatives must take these five steps to regain the trust and votes of independents and moderates.
1. Articulate the difference between genuine fiscal conservatism and the big government Republican era.
The final two years of the Bush era’s big government spending bailouts and failed stimulus plans were crafted and passed by a Democrat House & Senate which ultimately killed our currency and became the M.O. for Obama’s economic policy. When Obama cites: “Economic policies that got us into this mess”, he is citing the very policies that he has expanded since 2009.
Unfortunately, Romney failed to clearly define the difference between Bush’s final two years of fiscal policies and a free market economy.
2. Begin a new dialogue with Hispanic voters.
Outreach to Hispanic voters is necessary for any chance of relevance in future elections. This demographic is growing at a rate that can’t be ignored. Republicans will never attract Hispanic voters if they’re labeled with the inaccurate but politically effective label of “Angry white men” who want to “round up illegal immigrants.” What better platform to raise Marco Rubio’s national profile than a top role in immigration reform? Rubio favors a streamlined path for legal immigrants to earn citizenship – a stance most Americans agree with.
3. Offer a new perspective on environmental protection.
On environmental issues, our first goal should be to reduce the role of the EPA and refocus on conservation.
National Parks can play a key role in tourism, which brings in extra businesses to surrounding communities, including swing states such as Florida and Virginia. Government should provide incentives for local businesses and tourism groups to sponsor local events which utilize these natural venues. It’s a win-win for Republicans and rational pro-environment voters who are fiscally conservative.
4. Educate young voters about the benefits entitlement spending reform.
With college costs rising, many young professionals are looking for any extra sources of revenue or savings. Throughout the Presidential campaign, Democrats turned “voucher” into a dirty word. Unfortunately, the GOP failed to explain the benefits of a private option for medicare and social security, which would simultaneously reduce our debt and cut the extra social security tax self-employed workers pay toward a system which may be insolvent by the time generation Y retires in 30-40 years.
5. Leave social issues to the states.
Axelrod managed to distract voters from an anemic economic recovery by distracting female voters on social issues. Romney and Ryan mentioned abortion as a central issue of their campaign, yet exit polls confirm that Obama’s camp successfully portrayed the GOP as a party eager to overturn Roe vs. Wade. With the female voters focused on abortion, Obama dodged the negative press he deserved for a miserable economy, record-high debt and the foreign policy disaster in Libya.
If GOP leadership begins on the path to restoring trust and confidence with minority voters and moderates, we can win back the voters which were lost during the Obama era.
Matt O’Hern has written more than 2,000 articles published in various newspapers, websites and blogs. O’Hern’s political background includes digital media consulting on projects for national, state and county candidates and conservative organizations.