Big tent Republicans

By James Meier of Lawrence.

For all the talk of “Big Tent,” it seems Republican Party officials have disregarded the idea that someday the tent would have to lean to the right rather than the left for the party to once again be successful.

On January 29th, the Republican National Committee will meet for a Hawaii convention, where members will potentially consider three resolutions that seek to put conservative principles back in place as a foundation for both the candidate and the voter.

Based on President Reagan’s belief that someone who agrees with him 80% of the time is his friend, the first resolution, called the “Reagan Resolution,” would require a candidate to agree with eight of ten issues that reflect the Republican Party platform before gaining RNC financial support. Quickly blasted as a litmus test by the opposition, the subsequent firestorm brought forth two more proposals that seek the same end but by different means.

The second resolution, called the “Voter Accountability Resolution,” was introduced that would give the RNC Chairman the power to consider a candidate’s “faithfulness” to conservative principles before doling out RNC cash.

And finally, the third resolution calls for conservative principles to be reinstituted, but fails to mention what will happen if that doesn’t come to pass.

After the failure of the RNC in New York’s 23rd district, the resolution that’s ultimately approved at the convention will send a clear message to Republican voters just how serious the RNC is about confronting the Obama agenda and embracing the Tea Party movement.

If the party learns but one thing from the spontaneous opposition to the Obama agenda, it should be that the nudge and wink, “Hey, we’re with you!” and the do-nothing days of the Bush era are over.

The prevailing political wisdom has always been that the party had to move to the “center” to win an election. But that notion has always depended on conservative voters staying with the party during that move. Those days are over, even if the RNC has yet to recognize it.

Quite frankly, if America is to continue down the path to mediocre socialism, I along with millions of other Americans have decided it would be better to take the Democrat express, all the while kicking and screaming in protest, than take the Republican Greyhound delusional that I’m somehow stopping the erosion of my everyday freedoms.

If Republicans desire to be in power again, they must understand that a candidate adhering to conservative principles is the only way to get there. The Reagan and Voter Accountability Resolutions seek just that.

But in an all too familiar wrinkle, some or all of the above resolutions may not be debated at all. RNC rules require a resolution to have sponsors from ten different states to be brought to the floor. The Reagan and Voter Accountability Resolutions both currently have the minimum ten, meaning one defector could scuttle both before they’re even brought to the floor.

Scared of being viewed as a litmus test, sponsors have been few and far between. It’s an accusation that Kansas Republicans have dealt with before. Faced with elected precinct leaders endorsing Democrats in general elections, the party passed rules that removed those people from office.

That episode has come and gone and the new rules have been used quite sparingly. And contrary to popular wisdom of the press and those opposed to the new rules, Kansas Republicans picked up a US House seat and gained 31 of 40 state Senate seats while the national party reeled from massive losses.

And Kansas isn’t alone.

Even the land of Al Franken and Tim Pawlenty recently recognized that a party standing for nothing doesn’t stand for long. The Minnesota Republican Party recently passed a resolution that aims to do just what the ten RNC sponsors seek as well. Kansas Republicans will consider a similar proposal a day after the RNC takes its vote.

For years party leaders have urged the support of all candidates, no matter how out of line their voting record was with party principles. Confident the center was where elections were won and fearful of being relegated to permanent minority status, it was power over principles at its worst. But as the 2010 elections near, it’s imperative that party leaders realize that supporting candidates that adhere to party principles is the only way to ensure that Republicans are successful in the future.

For Kansas’ part, Republican National Committeewoman Helen Van Etten is one of the ten sponsors. Kansas Republican Chairwoman Amanda Adkins and National Committeeman Mike Pompeo have not publicly stated a position on any of the three resolutions.

I’m confident that Kansas’ Committeewoman will stand strong against the tide. I hope that her nine counterparts will as well, for the good of the party and the nation.

2 Comments

  • Man we saw the “BIG TENT” last Friday at the 4th District Forum. If I were new to the area I would have sworn that
    Jean Schoedorf was at the wrong forum. She practically endorsed Obamacare, said she was eager to get to Washington
    so she could work on creating jobs (sounds like another WPA on the way), and had every conservative in the place rolling their eyes. Not only was it a big tent but I think she stretched it.

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