Monday, May 4, 2009

Getting the Party started

A Wisconsin Political Fix
not just another blog
May 4, 2009

By Bill Kraus
The Republican Party has to deal with two barriers to revival. One is shared by the Democratic Party.

The parties both need to get a major role in the election process. Due to a series of miscalculations compounded by the immutable law of unintended consequences, the power to slate, fund, and run elections has become the province of legislative leaders at that level and of entrepreneurs at the executive level.

The activists who might be attracted to politics are not going to put out the time and money to win a game that isn’t worth the candle. So the parties play a diminished role.

There are ways to restore them to their previous eminence. No one who has the power to do this seems to be interested.

The other barrier, the one that gets most of the rhetoric and attention, is the image that has been part and parcel of the tactics the wedge-addicted mercenaries have brought to the recent campaigns, particularly Republican campaigns.

Like it or not, true or not, the Republican image is that the party is a creature of or led by the anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-gun factions that are said to be its base.

If this is so, if this is what being a Republican is all about, it is a major departure from the traditional core values of the party--frugality, competence, free markets, personal responsibility, opportunity.

A young woman at the recent Wisconsin Republican convention was quoted as saying it would be a mistake for the party to move away from the anti-abortion anti-gay marriage voters who are the party’s biggest voting group.

What she overlooks is that this voting group has not and cannot win elections, and cultivating those causes and that image repels the moderates and independents who could otherwise be attracted to the traditional core values of the party. They might even come in large enough numbers to win elections.

Too risky?

Never been done?

Except in 1948, when Harry Truman won an election against three opponents, two of whom--Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond--led major factions within his own party.

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