Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rethinking the Republican party

The Republican party has announced a new effort to rebrand its image: Boston Globe Article

Starting today, the National Council for a New America will begin work to resurrect the Republican image and recapture its viability as a national political party.The Republican party must do two things to appeal to a broader base than it currently reaches.

First, it must divorce itself from the religious right. Forcing religious dogma into public policy will not work in a pluralistic society. The religious fundamentalists have far too much influence in the Republican party as it stands now. We are becoming more diverse as a nation, and need a secular framework for our government.

Second, the party must demonstrate that it can return to its much-ballyhooed principle of financial conservatism. Record deficits and out-of-control spending have been the norm for the past few Republican administrations. Republicans must propose an approach to budgeting that will cut spending to their own sacred cows (i.e. corporate welfare), recommend a tax structure that does not alienate the poor in favor of the wealthy, and pay down the massive debt that is accruing at our children's expense. The Republicans will have to implement improved fiscal policies at the state and local levels to convince skeptics that their revitalized apprach is serious.

These two changes - a secular approach to government and a return to fiscal responsiblity - would result in an appealing platform for a large number of Independents, Libertarians, and moderate Democrats. I don't think they'd lose much of their base, though a fringe Christian party could emerge. The potential gains in the middle far outweigh the losses on the periphery.

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