Over the past month, it has been fascinating to watch commentators offer their advice on Republican Party reform when they have been openly hostile to the principles of the Republican Party. They believe that increased efforts in outreach and social issue amendment will appeal to Latino, GLBT, women and urban voters. These are all great voting blocs with which one can win an election, but these analysts are neglecting one key principle: Republicans must demonstrate that they care about people.
In the last few years, many have flirted with the idea of joining the Libertarian Party because of its emphasis on individual freedom. However, the party is not viable, and in the end, our society demands a role for government that is far more expansive than Libertarianism allows.
The Republican Party is, and must remain, the alternative for those with Libertarian leanings, which means defending liberty and individual freedom. However, the Republican Party must find a balance between the protection of individual rights and the proven capabilities of programs that serve to prevent the spread of disease, provide building codes that save lives during natural disasters such as earthquakes, and limited regulation of some industries such as utilities in order to prevent inequitable monopolies.
Now that the Democratic Party is in complete control of both houses in the Legislature, it is imperative that California has a strong Republican Party that can offer a dissenting view. This view must be fact-based, underlined by experience, and have the best intentions of all Californians at the forefront of the message. It also needs to be made by those who are capable of actual governance. Holding elected office is more than simply pressing a red button, and these qualified representatives would be ready if the tide were ever to swing the other way.
When Jack Kemp was on the national stage he addressed the real issues of poverty in our country, and once again, it is time for this debate. The real issues of poverty are the focus of resources on the people who actually need them, communities so lacking in resources that the ladder of opportunity is not stable, and crimes or unethical business practices that happen only because the people being disadvantaged are not in a position to negotiate or draw political attention.
While many of Kemp's proposals proved to be too costly, he forced Republicans to critically think about an issue that affects millions of Americans.
Any debated policy that impacts the lives of millions of Americans is most likely good politics. A serious discussion and policy proposals aimed at reducing poverty will give Republicans the opportunity to break the stereotype that they are only for the rich. This is a path based on principle that also allows the Republican Party and its leaders to move into demographic areas it needs to win elections.
The Republican Party actually has a vision for those people who are in poverty. It consists of more than the Band-Aids temporary solutions and government dependence provided by many of those in the Democratic Party. It is about self-sufficiency, personal responsibility and government efficiency that would benefit every taxpayer in this state. It also has nothing to do with any specific language group, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation or gender. It is just about people, and all people deserve more than they are currently getting from their government.
If every Republican candidate dedicated more policy time and political energy to focus on the principle of serving communities in their entirety, it would demonstrate a commitment to the people the party desires to serve. The message of the Republican Party must have the capacity to be delivered in any community at any time by those who are willing to go and willing to serve every resident of a community.