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Change is Coming to the GOP

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At a post-election event for members of the Republican Liberty Caucus, National Chairman Dave Nalle made the following remarks on the state of the Republican Party in the aftermath of the Romney defeat.

“If you nominate a candidate who has a position to please every constituency you run the risk that voters will decide that this is the same thing as having a position to alienate every constituency and respond by not turning out to vote. The party has lost its way because of lazy leaders who have ignored the sensible voters who make up the base of the party and have instead given too much influence to outside interest groups who bought their loyalty with the promise of easy votes.

“It is time for fundamental change at the top of the party. Leaders who basically rigged the nomination process to force Mitt Romney on the party gambled their legitimacy on his success. They put the entire party at risk with a candidate whose failure dragged down other candidates including promising newcomers and incumbents whose seats should have been secure. They lost us seats in the Senate where we could have won a majority and even weakened our position in the House. They must pay the full price for their poor decisions and be stripped of any position of leadership in the party.

“It is time for the Republican Party to return to the control of the grassroots and to a simple, ethical agenda of limiting the size and power of government and protecting the rights of individual citizens. The practice of giving special influence to outside groups whose first loyalty is to their own interests and issues must stop. Our allies should be drawn to us by our principles, not by our willingness to sell influence and trade favors.

“The party is aging and becoming isolated from the people. Republicans have forgotten how to be activists and stir up popular enthusiasm for our cause. We have lost touch with the younger generation and we have abandonned minority groups which ought to share our principles. In too many counties and too many states the Republican Party has become an exclusive private club rather than the inclusive political movement it was meant to be. This is the course of extinction for a political party. If we do not grow and embrace new members and new strategies we will continue to stagnate and age into irrelevance.

“The voters we need to attract to revitalize the party want less government on their backs and more liberty in their lives. They do not want to live in fear of external threats or internal security. They do not want to see the fruits of their labor seized by government or devalued by irresponsible policies. They do not want government in their businesses, their schools, their churches or their bedrooms. The Republican Party of the future should be young, entrepreneurial and inclusive. There is no hope for a party which is not strong enough to preserve its core principles while still embracing change.

“This is the vision of the Republican Liberty Caucus. It is a challenge to the Republican Party to become a better party, rededicated to its founding principles. This election must be a turning point for the party and if we do not pick up the banner of leadership and embrace the changes which must come, then the GOP will fade away lnto whiggish obscurity.”

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • The Obnoxious American

    Dave, we’re saying much the same thing. I agree.

  • Igor

    The Tea Party will dry up and blow away because the Koch Bros withdrew funding when they failed to win the 2012 election. The partiers themselves won’t support TP, and Koch only pays for delivery.

  • Deano

    Maybe I don’t quite understand GOP internal politics but wasn’t the Tea Party supposed to be that “return to the grassroots,”, “real” Americans, yada, yada, yada…?

    The GOP needs to move less to the roots (because based on their unwavering support of Palin, Santorum and Bachman, the roots are *nuts*) and more into the 21st century.

    Although I would settle for less stupid.

  • I think conservatives need to either take control of the GOP, or start a third party. It’s that simple. The GOP-elite have failed. Again.

  • Igor

    Good article, Dave. And congrats on getting ink in Volokh.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    There’s been a lot of gloating by us liberals – just as there was by the conservatives after 2010 and liberals after 2008 – but this is priceless.

    And Dave – I remember warning you after the 2008 election about the demographic change, how it might marginalize the GOP. You pooh-poohed the notion and – given the 2010 results – I figure you’d do so again. But you and the other conservatives still don’t get the demographic change and the minority mindset. The minorities didn’t vote for Obama because they thought he’d “give them stuff” and play a federal Santa Claus (which is what Limbaugh and O’Reilly both claimed). The Asians – who have the highest average income of all races in the nation – voted strongly for Obama as well, so the notion that it’s just poor minorities looking for a handout simply doesn’t work. The minorities simply saw who truly gave a damn about them, and who didn’t…and they know base tokenism when they see it.

    Look at what Hannity did the day after – he ‘evolved’ his position on immigration amnesty! Do you not think that people can see right through his BS? It’s so easy to sit back and wallow in cynicism and claim that all politicians are liars, that they’ll all say whatever they think is necessary in order to win…and to an extent that’s true.

    But that’s true ONLY to an extent – politicians are NOT mannequins wearing whatever clothes are the style of the day. Once you dig past the political posturing, you start to see what politicians really care about…and you start finding out that they’re people too. YOU care, too, Dave. YOU are deeply involved in politics, but YOU also care deeply about matters of people and of freedom and of right and wrong. That in and of itself should tell you that most every other politician does as well.

    And the people know this too. If the GOP doesn’t do the work to prove to the minorities that they care about them. It’s not the GOP that goes to the time and effort to do the outreach to the ghettoes and the barrios. It’s not the Democrats who scornfully deride those who want to speak in their native tongues. The GOP has to prove by their hard work, by their willingness to go the extra mile to stand up for the tired, the poor, the tempest-tossed…and they’re not doing that.

    I told you this in so many words four years ago. Are you going to listen now?

  • People wanted to know when Romney’s program would end the high unemployment. This question
    was never addressed directly by the candidate in response to Martha Raddatz’s question in the
    second debate. President Obama didn’t have to address this question because unemployment went
    down from a high of 10.5% in mid- 2009 to 7.8% right now. And so, people had a sense of his
    job performance so far on this issue. Again, I have to go back to what President Clinton said at
    the Democratic National Convention. The 2008 mess was much greater than anything he ever
    faced and the fix would take longer.

    Romney alluded to an answer to this question about unemployment when a student asked a question.
    He stated that college students would have jobs by 2014 with his program. The electorate needed
    more talk like that in order to come to a decision to elect Romney and we simply did not get enough
    assurance on the matter. There was a lot of talk about high unemployment and 50% of college students
    without jobs but the central question was never answered. And the central question is this. WHEN will the
    unemployment come within more realistic or historic levels? For this reason, President Obama prevailed

  • Dave, as I recall you put forth similar rhetoric after the election loss four years ago that the Republican Party had to and would change. It hasn’t changed. What makes you hope that it will be different this time – if indeed anything does?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    They put the entire party at risk with a candidate whose failure dragged down other candidates including promising newcomers and incumbents whose seats should have been secure. They lost us seats in the Senate where we could have won a majority and evedn weakened our position in the House. They must pay the full price for their poor decisions and be stripped of any position of leadership in the party.

    It wasn’t Romney that sank the GOP’s efforts this time, although he certainly didn’t help. None of your major candidates this time would have done any better, and most of them would have done a lot worse. And I just read something about Gary Johnson that he took in about $1M for television ads…but only spent about $13K on television ads. But I don’t know whether that’s true or not.

    What sunk the GOP this time was (1) their nationwide attempts at social engineering, esp. on abortion, (2) their refusal to even consider immigration reform, (3) their voter suppression efforts (yes, you know that’s what they were), and those got a lot of attention, (4) their intransigence on any negotiation whatsoever with the Democrats in Congress, and (5) their blind obedience to the Religious Right on matters ranging from evolution to gay marriage.

    It doesn’t matter who your standard-bearer was this time – your party shot itself in the foot.

  • The defining moment was in the second presidential debate. Martha Raddatz of ABC asked both candidates when unemployment would get under 6%. This was a golden opportunity. Both candidates avoided answering the question directly. Back in 2008 just after the crash, Warren Buffet was interviewed on TV. He indicated that the existing inventory of houses had to be cleared first before any long term improvement of the economy. He gave 2013 or 2014 as the date for any big pickup in the economy.

    Romney could have said something like this but he didn’t. It’s not enough just to decry high unemployment. The candidate must provide a program and link that program to some kind of a projection as to when things will get better. Otherwise, people will infer that the current President is doing all he can do under the circumstances. President Clinton alluded to this in his convention speech. He indicated that the economy handed to President Obama was much worse than anything he ever faced and that the reversal would take more than a single term in office for any president.

    There were other factors like Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane reminded people of their extreme vulnerability to natural disasters. Naturally, government is a secondary source to insurance companies for further relief. Since the Democratic Party is more closely associated with government programs – people identified with the Democrats as an extension.

    Mayor Bloomberg chimed in with his support for President Obama and Governor Christy was seen embracing President Obama. Clearly, these things did not help Romney in a close campaign.

    Romney might have attracted more hispanic voters with Senator Marco Rubio on the ticket. In addition, Romney’s policy on immigration might have lost votes. Soccer moms might have been more comfortable with President Obama due to the emphasis on more affordable student loans, as well as the lower interest rate loans on mortgage refinancings of late.

    The fact that President Obama won the election and the House remained Republican means that people want divided government with checks and balances.