A new poll by USA Today/Gallup finds that the majority of respondents, when asked to name a person who speaks for the Republican party, could not. They could not pick a person who leads roughly half the countries population in their political views. So, that begs the question, of the 48% who were able to name names, who came in first place? Maybe Sarah Palin, Michael Steele or Bobby Jindal? Nope, number one, with 13% of respondents votes was Rush Limbaugh. Second place on the list goes to our esteemed ex Vice-President Dick Cheney. The top 5 are all old white guys with McCain, Gingrich and Bush rounding out the top 5. As one conservative activist from the article mentioned "We cannot be the party of balding white guys and hope to win anything."
I look at the political scene right now for the Republicans, and I see a whole lot of old, and a whole lot of the next big thing, but not anyone right here right now. They truly are lost in the wilderness. Now many of my friends are conservative (much to my chagrin), and they should not lose heart. I know in the past I have talked about the "Death Knell of the Conservative Movement," but I know that American politics works like a finely tuned pendulum, and conservatives will one day again have their moment in the sun. Hopefully, it will be a new kind of conservativism, one not so focused on gays and abortion, and one more focused on the historical roots of the movement. Here are three things conservatives can focus on to help swing the pendulum back in their favor.
1. Coming off the drunken sailor spending of the Bush/Obama days, fiscal restraint can be a rallying point for the conservative movement. Push a indefinite law for balanced budgets, with exclusions for time of war or economic crisis. Tell people it is going to be hard, but BE SERIOUS about doing this. Realize that you will HAVE to cut some military spending to do this. You cannot just cut medicaid and call it good. Along with this comes serious reforms of social security and medicare. I swear that whoever grasps this issue and wrestles it to the ground will earn serious votes from Americans for years.
2. Tax cuts do not equate an economic policy (don't worry, I would turn around and tell Democrats that unmitigated spending does not equal an economic policy). We need someone to tackle the long term economic conundrum. Propose long standing reforms to both the tax code (simpler,lower,fairer) and to spending (no earmarks, see remarks above). Also, and this is critical, advocate for ENFORCEABLE free trade. Right now it does no good to allow every country access to our markets when we are not allowed the same in kind. I am NOT advocating trade restrictions be used, just that barriers to free trade and currency manipulations be ended under the threat of returning the favor.
3. Steal the energy independence issue back from the left. Honestly, the Drill Baby Drill thing made you guys look pretty shortsighted. Push an effective agenda including price floor for gasoline, efficiency, development of alternative energy sources and most importantly, nuclear energy. By looking long term, and not pushing an agenda that seems to line right up with oil companies wishes, you can take this issue back from the left. The focus is not cuddly environmentalism, but rather serious national security concerns. The fight over energy/water resources IS the most important area of concern for the future.
Good Luck.....your going to need it.