Roughly half the time I read articles on the task ahead for the GOP, the authors contend that Republicans can’t return to the ideas Ronald Reagan used so effectively to rally the faithful in the late 1970s and rebuild the party in the next decade as those ideas are out of date.Â What worked nearly three decades ago won’t work today.
I and others contend that those ideas are timeless and particularly relevant today.Â In the 1960s and 1970s, we saw an ever-increasing federal behemoth, the same thing we’re seeing in Barack Obama’s Washington.
Still, I agree with one thing the authors of the articles mentioned above get at with their criticisms:Â we can’t mindless ape the Gipper’s platform.Â We need to adapt his ideas to the world as it is today.Â To that end, I highly, **highly**, recommend Jay Cost’s piece in the latest Weekly Standard where he urges Republicans to “be creative,”
I’d suggest Republicans discuss their future with greater confidence in the party’s core principles. There is no need to redefine them, or indulge in an existential “crisis of conservatism.” Instead, now is the time for Republicans to use their principles creatively–to generate new and compelling solutions to public problems.
But that’s not all. The GOP needs creative strategies to market those ideas. The biggest political problem the party faces is that the Democrats are fully in control of the national agenda. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid decide what is and is not considered in Congress, and Barack Obama can use the bully pulpit to guide public discussion. If Republicans are not inventive in how they promote themselves, they are bound to end up on the backpage.
And that, in a nutshell, is what Republicans must do, adapt our party’s core principles to the current world situation and develop creative strategies to market them.
We do ourselves a disservice when we ignore or dismiss those voices successful at reaching out to mass audience.Â We now need to find means to reach out to audiences not yet familiar with the Republican message, but who, if it is conveyed in a manner they can readily understand, would eagerly join our ranks.