By Maj. Gen. Jerry. R. Curry, US Army, Ret., D. Min.
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
First, a little definition: just because a candidate is a conservative or a Tea Partier does not make him far-right, nor does it mean that he is too flawed to be a serious candidate. On the other hand having a penchant to say stupid things may disqualify a candidate. Being wrong is only skin deep but stupid cuts clear to the bone.
It is not for the party to tell fellow Republicans to run or not to run for political office; the party should not be in the incumbent protection business, nor encouraging the voters to back candidates who will obviously lose in the general election just because they are the establishment’s candidate.
The basic guideline should be taken from President Reagan’s, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” This should be followed by the Buckley rule, “Support the most conservative candidate who can win.”
What little excitement there is in the Republican Party these days seems to be generated by the youngsters of the Conservative and Tea Party wings. The common belief held by mainstream Republicans is that the Conservatives and Tea Partiers are too right wing radical to draw votes away from the center and the Democrat Party, especially from Black and Hispanic voters.
But Republican principles have always been conservative not moderate, not moderately conservative nor center. It is a catch-22 situation. If a Republican seems politically far enough to the right to engender political excitement, he is considered too right wing radical to appeal to the center and, thus, be elected. Supposedly, if he is middle of the road enough to attract votes from moderate democrats, his hard core Republican base will flee from him, which is not true.
There is also an ethnic and racial component. It is assumed that if a voter is Hispanic, he or she will vote Democrat because the Democrats are willing to exchange votes and political power for the right of Hispanics to illegally immigrate to and reside in the United States. Generally speaking, there is no way Republicans can compete with the Democrats who are surrendering our nation’s heritage and political rights just in order to win over the illegal immigrant voting bloc.
Yet, it is possible to chip away at the edges. Hispanic immigrants know that their blackmailing of the Democrat Party is both wrong and illegal. Fortunately some of them already vote their consciences. Voters who think like them are the ones the Republican Party has to persuade that doing the right, legal and honest thing is more important than personal gain. This is a hard sell, but not impossible. Can those who criminally entered the United States be trusted to obey our laws as if they entered the country legally? Adhering to the rule of law is always difficult.
Part of putting together a successful program to attract Hispanic voters is having passionate and dynamic Hispanic leaders as part of both the top circle of the Republican National Committee (RNC), and the state parties, more than just being Hispanic figureheads. In a perfect world Senator Marco Rubio would be the ideal person to head up the RNC. But he is too important where he is now, helping provide Republican Hispanic leadership in the US Senate. Perhaps Rubio has a suggestion as to which Hispanics would make good members of the state parties and RNC inner circle.
But even if he came up with someone more perfect than himself to run the RNC, it would be a mistake to put that person in the job, because there is also a racial component to the Republican problem that must be satisfied. Just as there has never been an Hispanic Chairman of the RNC, there has only been one Black Chairman.
If the Republican Party’s aim is to cater to an RNC made up of and controlled by white males, then all is well. If the purpose is to have the RNC represent all Americans of every racial and ethnic shade, hue, color, and political persuasion, then the Party is going about it the wrong way. Today the average Republican voter could not tell you the name of the RNC Chairman under the pain of death, even if he was standing right in front of him.
To be successful the RNC needs to take on President Obama head on, go for his jugular every time he plays the race card. Only a Black American can side step racist Democrat allegations, and counter Obama’s racist charges with the deadly force required to defeat Obama and his minions, and win elections. Whether or not the RNC is run by someone Hispanic or Black, will be meaningless if the inner circle calling the shots is made up only of white males. Those controlling the RNC, in addition to being white males, also need to be Black, Hispanic, Asian and comfortable living in mixed racial and ethnic families.
The next component with which the Republican Partly has to deal is the so-called “war on women,” which is a bald faced lie. The record shows that Republicans have supported the advancement of women at every opportunity. In order to refute such falsehoods and be successful in representing American women and minorities, the inner circle of the RNC should not be race or gender exclusive, but should represent the demography of the population at large.
Republicans don’t need a moderate or a conservative to be the RNC Chairman. What they desperately need is a leader who can inspire the party to action. General Patton was often criticized for his politically incorrect views but whenever Eisenhower needed a victory, such as at the Battle of the Bulge, he sent for Patton and Patton delivered. Right now the Republicans need a Patton.
The personal beliefs of the RNC Chairman and the party spokesmen are not the issue. They are supposed to represent and speak for the party, not for their personal beliefs. What is most relevant is whether they have a fire raging deep within them. Can the current RNC leaders guide the party to future victories? Have they won any victories lately? The Republican Party doesn’t need leaders who can please and satisfy all colors of political persuasion, but can’t win. There is a difference.
Contrary to what the current RNC leadership thinks, the Republican rank and file believe that it is possible to reach out to new groups without alienating the old ones. What is missing in the Republican Party today is an injection of a good strong dose of dynamic, charismatic leadership. At Republican meetings when the speaker finishes speaking, are the listeners galvanized into action or are they bored? Republicans long for a return to the days when there were Patrick Henrys shouting from the rear of the hall, “Give me Liberty or Give me Death?”
These days whenever there is excitement at Republican meetings, it is usually provided by Tea Partiers or by what many consider to be radical conservatives. Perhaps if the Republican Party had more fired up radical conservatives, women, Blacks, Hispanics, or Tea Partiers in high level leadership positions, the Party would be revitalized and have more life and energy. A stiff dose of digital steroids will help, but it cannot replace leadership. The Republican Party needs more of both.
Perhaps then, Republicans could continue championing their conservative principles, avoid alienating moderates, have their cake, and eat it too.
Image: Lt. General George Patton; source: US Army; author: US Army; public domain
Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Ralph Curry is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper, Ranger and retired Army Major General. For nearly forty years he has served his country both in the military and as a Presidential political appointee, including for the Carter, Reagan & Bush 41 administrations.