Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am not moving to France...

Election Day has come and gone and my Political Party’s nominee for President has lost. I am disappointed but not disheartened. I am looking forward to the debate within the Republican Party to find our true core again.

A couple of things first, congratulations to President-elect Obama and his supporters. In 2000 and 2004 I was dismayed by the lack of respect and abundance of contempt that President Bush (and those of us that supported him) received from those that lost. Regardless of the deep and substantive differences I have with President-elect Obama it would be a mistake to not recognize how historic his election is. He is the first African-American President and represents the completion of another chapter in America’s troubled history on racial equality. His campaign shattered traditional models of volunteer mobilization, fundraising and technology use. All of which are good things for American democracy. I am sure that in the coming months I will have strong words for him in difference of policy but there will be plenty of time for that.

Next, leave Senator McCain alone. Enough of the arm chair quarterbacks and back seat drivers. In most polling I saw, we could not even get 30% of Americans to admit they were Republicans so it is no surprise that we could not get a majority of them to vote that way.

Time and time again I hear voters tell campaigns to “not tell them why the other guy is wrong, tell us what your guy will do!” Maybe we as Republicans should consider that question a bit before we start getting a worked up and wild-eyed. In 1996 we screamed and yelled about how unethical and corrupt President Clinton was. You can ask President Dole how well that worked.

Who are we and why should voters give us a chance again?

Are we fiscal conservatives or fans of big government solutions? Are we social conservatives, moderates or something in-between? Do we believe in free market solutions or tariff managed trade? Do we believe in being “safe” all the time or are we ok with balance of less security for more liberty? Do we believe in “exporting” the gift of democracy or letting others figure it out for themselves? Do we think that there is still some room in our country for people who were not born here but believe in the idea of America as much as we do? Are we helping the “poor” by not making them pay taxes?

I used to think I could articulate the “Republican” position on these pretty well but lately I am not so sure.

Even before McCain conceded I had emails and text messages from friends and journalists asking if Governor Palin would be our standard bearer for 2012. Whoa, let’s hold our horses a bit. We need to know where we are going before we pick a leader. The good news is we have some time on our hands to figure that out now that Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House.

I have been proud to be a Republican in the past and am sure I will be in the future. Our party has a great history of shaping our nation’s policy and providing the great leaders to do it.

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