Friday, November 9, 2012

Let Him Up Easy

Many commentaries are being written, attempting to understand what Mitt Romney’s feelings are these days after the election, and predict what his future may hold. Advisors and close friends are being “pumped” by reporters for any bit of information they can build into their scenario.

I say, “Let him alone for a while.” It hurts too much for him to even know what he will do next. His first response will likely be to feel he was dealt a rotten hand, or his opponent didn’t play fair, or even that Sandy robbed him of his prize. It will take time for the truth – as he is able to see it – to sink in.

The truth is – as I see it – that he forsook himself very early in the electoral process and tried a tactic that political strategists have decided is the required route to the White House, i.e. move to the far extreme of your party to gain the nomination and then work your way back to a more centrist position to win favor with the wider electorate. Consequently no one, in the end, knew for sure who he was. Columnists, both liberal and conservative wasted barrels of “ink” describing the kind of President he would be and none of them had anything firm to base their opinions on. One thing is certain; he could not have followed the course all of them laid out for him unless he were granted unending consecutive terms in office.

Now the pundits are telling us that the Republican Party must “Re-Brand” itself if it hopes to regain its position as a leading party given the changed demographic which includes blacks, Asians, and Hispanics.

“Re-Brand!” What a terrible idea. It is like suggesting to a pharmacy, just ruined by marketing contaminated medications, that it should change its name and location and go on marketing the same tainted stuff. It is the cynical solution of a capitalist market driven ideology. We don’t need a re-branded Republican Party. We need a chastised Republican Party rededicated to the principle that all Americans have equal value and deserve equal representation and opportunity. We need a Republican Party that espouses the honesty, humanity, wisdom and decency of Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Packwood, Colin Powell, to name only three.

Something in me tells me that Mitt Romney will come to that same conclusion. Something in me tells me that the Republican Party will not.

The reason for my faith in Mr. Romney is that I think I see, in his past, attitudes far more liberal (meaning, more able to see issues in other than black and white) than those he adopted in order to win the Republican nomination.

The reason for my doubts about the Republican Party is that I see it controlled by the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, The Fox News crew, and a large contingent of dour Evangelical leaders who have equated the Republican Party with their version of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Those Evangelical leaders should, long ago, have sensed that their marriage to the Republican Party had corrupted their souls. But they have not come to that conclusion and apparently feel that given just one more election they can accomplish, by politics, what Christ has already accomplished through his death and resurrection; what He commissioned the Church to preach before he left this earth.

So, the evangelical wing of the Republican Party will not voluntarily detach itself. Therefore the Republican Party needs to clearly and openly walk away from it; declare that the Party is just that, a political party – a political entity – and not a religious organization. It must cease to portray itself and its members as more righteous than the opposition; recognize that there are multiple paths to the good ends that government is established to accomplish, and devote itself to working to convince the American people that their way is the best way but, when no clear consensus can be reached, to work together with the opposition to achieve a compromise that allows government to continue to function as the society sorts out its difference and works toward a consensus.

As I say, Mr. Romney strikes me as a man who probably already holds those views and, as the pain of his defeat lessens, may very well return to those pragmatic conclusions. How he will chose to live that out is unclear. It certainly isn’t the place of the Party, or of pundits, or the American people to tell him what he should believe or do in the future.

It will surprise me, though, if he continues to play any significant part in the future re-branding of the Republican Party. It is up to the Party to do that work for itself. For the sake of our nation I hope it will take the task seriously, forsake the idea of fooling some segments of the population into thinking it is something that in reality it is not, and begin to build itself into an honest expression of those Americans who stand to the right of center but who wish to work amicably with their brothers and sisters who stand to the left. How it can ever shake itself free of the Becks, and Limbaughs, and Fox News ranters is beyond me. But it will need to do so before it can make any claim to being a Party dedicated to governing for all the people.

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