Inclusion A Must for GOP Revitalization
Sen. John Cornyn’s comments calling for a Big Tent GOP this weekend was a breath of fresh air. Finally, Republican leaders who are in charge of electing more Republicans understand that to be a national majority Party, not a regional minority, we have to open up the party to include diverse views on important social issues. Most Republicans do not accept the current GOP litmus test of abortion as a reason to nominate a candidate, nor do they want it in our Platform. This was shown by our August 2008 polling, conducted with National Research Inc, which showed that 81% of Republicans felt that the Platform should include a message of inclusion and the Big Tent, just as Senator Cornyn is now preaching. The Democrats have wisely opened up their ranks to Blue Dogs and socially conservative Democrats with a great amount of success; turning some areas in the South not just purple, but blue. For the GOP to take back recent converts like Northern Virginia and Colorado and bring back strong leaders in areas like the Northeast and West Coast, a more inclusive Party must be ready to launch moderate candidates that can reach voters in these areas.
I hope that Senator Cornyn means what he says and does not bow to pressure from the extreme right-wing that has dominated the GOP with their single issue agenda. This strategy has driven away more voters than it has attracted. We have seen many Republicans cave in to threats that the extreme-right will leave, but rank and file social conservatives just like rank and file social moderates want to find common sense solutions to vital social issues facing our nation. Common ground can be found if our leaders are strong enough to start the dialogue. Catering to extreme talking heads and shifting our focus from bread and butter issues of job creation and the economy to a social extreme agenda did not work in 2006 or 2008, but we know that an open GOP that welcomes conservatives of all stripes can win in 2010.
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