A suggested mea maxima culpa for Republican leadersby Stephen Gordon
While hanging out on Twitter earlier today, I made this observation: “American voters will not take the GOP seriously until they make some sincere and MAJOR mea culpas.”
This got me to thinking about what it would take for me to start taking the Republican Party more seriously. My initial observation is that I’m suddenly taken much more seriously by conservatives at the grassroots level. A lot of these folks are equally upset with the senior leadership in the GOP. The problems seems to be at the top. Here’s the example du jour:
For the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s recruitment list for 2010 reads like a roster of some of the party’s best-known RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and squishes — the derisive terms applied to centrists by movement conservatives.
The party’s top choice for Florida’s open Senate seat is popular Gov. Charlie Crist, who raised eyebrows earlier this year with his vigorous advocacy of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package — he even went so far as to appear with Obama at a Florida rally in February. In Connecticut, the national GOP has lobbied former Rep. Rob Simmons — who holds a higher lifetime rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action group than Specter does — to challenge Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.
Then there’s last week’s example:
Republican House Whip Eric Cantor has just announced the formation of the National Council for a New America, which is described as “a forward-looking, grassroots caucus intended to bring together Congressional leaders with a national panel of experts.”
In reality, the National Council for a New America looks like another top-down organization which will be conducting forums and town hall meetings to push an agenda which looks just like the same-old agenda we’ve been seeing from Republicans.
The Republican leadership has had plenty of chances. 2006 election results should have been a clear kick upside the head. After the 2008 results came in, it was time to start CPR. And now they are going back to the same old practices which put them in this boat in the first place.
For the Republican Party to survive, the grassroots are going to have to take over the GOP or Republican leaders will need to learn a new vocabulary very quickly. This vocabulary will require a lot more than simply saying “I’m sorry.” It will have to be a serious and heartfelt apology to the American people. If I was tasked to write an apology speech for some senior elected Republican, it might go something like this:
I come before you today to ask — no, to beg — for your forgiveness.
For years, I’ve disregarded my priorities and placed being in power ahead of my duty to you and to the Constitution of the United States.
For years, I’ve been voting for bloated budgets and increased deficit spending because I placed party loyalty above fiscal stewardship.
For years, I’ve been listening to lobbyists, as opposed to my you, my constituents.
For years, I’ve disregarded the Tenth Amendment and placed undo burdens on the states.
For years, I’ve voted for law after law which invades personal privacy and stifles individual liberty.
For years, I’ve placed my personal social agenda above the basic concepts of federalism and the Republic. Especially with my vote on the Internet Gambling Ban and the Terri Schiavo case, I was truly wrong.
When President Bush wanted a bailout package, I succumbed to pressure and voted for it. There is no excuse for this deplorable action of mine.
When Senator McCain won the presidential nomination, I stood with him on the campaign trail. There is no excuse for this deplorable action of mine.
There is no apology I can make which will begin to make up for the financial and freedom losses you have suffered due to my irresponsibility. I can only humbly ask your forgiveness and for your help to bring this country back on track again.
There is no excuse for many of my votes and actions since the Republican Revolution. However, I’ve been reading a lot and talking with some very bright people over the last few months. I’ve read about laissez-faire economic policy, the true free market. I’ve read our founding fathers and learned why they wrote the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation the way they did. I’ve read about natural law and libertarian theory. I now carry a copy of the Constitution with me — and consult it before voting on any questionable bill. I no longer vote on any bill which I haven’t first read.
I’ve sold your rights down the river, but I’m willing to do everything I can to buy back your freedom. I promise that I’ll work much harder than I ever have in the past to restore as much of your money and as many of your rights as possible. It’s the very least I should do.
I know you will be watching each and every one of my votes between now and Election Day, as well you should. I’d like to announce that the door to my office is once again open to the public. I hope you will take the time to call, e-mail or stop by to tell me how I’m doing.
While I may not deserve it, I’m now on the road to recovery. With your help, America can be, too.
The only problem is that the speech would be coming from my keyboard — not from the heart of the RINO who would be delivering it.