First of all, I think it proper to say congratulations to President-Elect Obama who will be the 44th President of the United States of America.
Americans may have elected not only one of the least experienced candidates in our national history, but one who may be guided by some principles different from what we’re used to and on which the nation was founded.
Since Mr. Obama had no legislative history to look at, people were able to ascribe qualities to him that they hoped he possessed. I have a feeling that many of them will be greatly disappointed over the next four years. They are hoping for a quick fix to the economy. That will not happen. They are hoping for a quick exit from Iraq. That will not happen. They are hoping for prosperity and peace, but, alas, that doesn’t look likely in the next few years. They are hoping Obama will bring peace to the middle east and protect Israel from its enemies. That is also very unlikely. They are hoping that the US will not be challenged by threats to our national security. That, unfortunately, will also not happen. They are hoping the world will love us, and that will not happen. They are hoping that he will create special entitlements to benefit special interests. With the current economy, that isn’t likely either. There will be much disappointment among the supporters of President-Elect Obama.
The American people have handed him a sweeping victory without really knowing who he is. Four years ago he was a first-term State Senator in Illinois. His associations in the Chicago political world are questionable.
He was able to achieve that political victory for a few reasons, not the least of which is that a total of approximately $800 Million was spent on his campaign, considerably more than on any previous presidential campaign in our history. The previous high mark was the approximately $275 million for the Kerry campaign in 2004. Having that kind of war chest enabled him to run a superior campaign ground game and to be able to open several offices in many cities throughout the country – 60 offices in the State of Michigan, for example – manned by paid staff, not volunteers, and managed by salaried campaign organizers.
But the principal reasons Obama won had to do with a) the collapse of the economy and b) the overwhelming desire on the part of the American people for change.
Collapse of the Economy
After the Republican convention, for the following two weeks, John McCain was surging ahead of Barack Obama in the polls. I think it likely that if the economic collapse had not happened when it did, McCain could have won the election. The seeds of this economic collapse were planted before George Bush ever took office, but the fact that it happened during a Republican administration meant that the Republicans took the blame for it, even though they were not primarily responsible for it. In fact, several times over the past eight years, Republicans tried to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and were blocked by House Democrats. All of the heads of the organizations that were responsible for the economic disaster were Democrats who contributed heavily to Democratic causes and campaigns, yet Republicans still took the blame.
Change for the sake of Change
We Republicans have been let down by our leadership in many ways. Ethical breaches and crimes committed by Republican leaders tainted the Republican brand. Those who thought of themselves, before their country, or their party, brought shame on Republicans everywhere. We have a leader in the White House who has been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in the country and who wasn’t responsible for most of it.
Right after 9-11 President Bush had a 90% approval rating. His approval rating is now 30%. In my view, George Bush’s biggest flaw has been his inability to communicate clearly and articulately to the American people.
After a badly managed battle in Iraq, a resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Katrina, the housing crash and finally the economic collapse, the American people were, rightly or wrongly, tired of Republicans and wanted a change. Apparently the question, “Change to what?” is answered by, “It doesn’t matter.”
What do we do now?
So that brings us to the question, “Where do we go from here?”
One of the reasons that we lost in 2006 and again in 2008 is because nobody knows what Republicans stand for. We say that we stand for limited government, yet over the past eight years we have had the greatest growth of government in the history of our country.
We say that we stand for reducing the costs of government. The opposite happened. The costs of government have been skyrocketing. We say that we stand for personal liberty and less government intrusion. The opposite has been the fact. We have less personal liberty and more government intrusion. We say that we believe in free trade, yet our Congress, including Republicans, has been passing legislation that inhibits free trade.
We say we stand for integrity and ethical behavior, yet more and more Republicans are indicted and convicted of criminal behavior. We say that we want to empower people and give them a stake in their future by enabling them to have private investment accounts in place of social security accounts, but we don’t fight to make that happen. We say that we want to have lower medical insurance costs for people who can’t afford current rates, but we don’t take a stand for making that happen. We say that we want to become independent of foreign oil, but we do nothing to develop alternative energy sources.
One might be able to say that Republicans “talk the talk”, but they don’t “walk the walk.” We say what we stand for, but we don’t do what we stand for. Americans basically dislike hypocrisy.
It is time for us to show that we are who we say we are.
Do we try to appeal to the center?
People say to me that we need to appeal more to the center. In other words, we need to be more like Democrats.
No! If the American people wanted someone who was like Democrats, they would pick the real thing – Democrats, as you saw last night.
There is nothing more persuasive than being passionately genuine. Republican conservative values mean something. They are what distinguish us. They are what make us different. They are what most of the country believes in. Tony Blankley, says it well: “Conservatism always has been and always will be a force to reckon with because it most closely approximates the reality of the human condition, based as it is, on the cumulative judgment and experience of a people. It is the heir, not the apostate, to the accumulated wisdom, morality and faith of the people.”
The fact is, we have had no conservative leader – no champion of the conservative cause, this election season.
We were not prepared to lead. We will only be ready to lead when we have leaders who will take a principled stand for conservative values – individual liberty and responsibility; smaller government; lower taxes; federalism; free trade; the fact that everyone, whatever his station in life, has an equal opportunity to achieve greatness; a strong national defense; protecting our national sovereignty; the American free enterprise economy; the rule of law and order; and most importantly, the understanding that the rights we enjoy are natural rights that do not come from government, but from our Creator. When we have someone who can lead the Party and who is capable of articulating what we stand for clearly to the American people, we will be ready to lead again.
Rebuilding the Party.
Whatever you say about Obama’s campaign, it was masterful. The use of new media, social networking, graphics, communication and the internet were outstanding. It was truly a 21st Century political campaign. McCain’s campaign, on the other hand was a 20th Century political campaign, and, in my view, poorly managed, as well. We need to look closely at the Obama campaign and use it as a model going forward.
We need to spend the next two years rebuilding the Republican Party. We need to find young dynamic spokesmen for the conservative cause. We need, on a national basis, to have leaders like Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, John Sununu, Haley Barbour, Jim Inhofe and other conservative lights step forward and assume leadership of a damaged Party.
The San Fernando Valley Republican Club
Change in the Republican Party will come, not from the top down, but from the grass-roots up. Since we are a Republican grass-roots organization we will be moving forward in the coming months with a program of renewal for the Republican Party in the San Fernando Valley. We will determine how best to communicate our message, and to recruit candidates who are a stand for conservative principles.
To that end, the speakers for our membership meetings for the next few months will be people who have concrete ideas on how to revitalize the Republican Party over the next couple of years. We need to be prepared to recapture seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2010. We need to be unified as a party as to what we stand for. We need another Contract for America, just as we had in 1994 after two years of a Democrat administration. I think Newt Gingrich will be helpful in articulating a strategy.
We also need to be prepared to get more Republican candidates elected to statewide offices, especially Governor, which, so far, Steve Poizner has announced he will be a candidate for.
Our speaker for the November meeting will be Ben Shapiro who will give us his thoughts on revitalizing the Republican Party. Ben is a native of the San Fernando Valley and is the author of Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth, Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting our Future, and Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House. He also wrote “The Jewish Case Against Barack Obama” for Townhall.com
Join the San Fernando Valley Republican Club in its mission to re-energize the Republican Party in the valley.
Congratulations to 2008 Candidates for a great job.
I also want to congratulate the candidates for State Assembly, State Senate and Congress who went out and fought the brave fight all over the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles County. They ran strong campaigns and, unfortunately, because of the heavily Democrat districts, most of them were not elected. They deserve our profound congratulations for a great effort, and for standing up for Republican principles despite the odds.
Congratulations to Victory 2008 Volunteers
We can’t forget all of those grass-roots volunteers who came out to the headquarters, walked precincts, made phone calls and were there at all hours and for months on end. Without our grass-roots volunteers we would have no ground campaign. They deserve more than we can give them. It is those who gave of themselves that will be a part of building the future of the Party.
The next meeting of the San Fernando Valley Republican Club is on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at Galpin Ford at 7:00pm. More details to follow.
We are at a new beginning for the Republican Party. Let’s re-emerge as a strong clear party that articulates and lives our conservative heritage.
San Fernando Valley Republican Club
The foregoing was a letter sent to the members of the San Fernando Valley Republican Club on November 5, 2008.