How the G.O.P. Can Get its Mojo Back
By: Carey Roberts
Looking back, itâ€™s hard to imagine a more inept political strategy.
First, ignore and insult your base. Next, dream up a campaign theme of gender â€œempowermentâ€ that falls flat with the three-quarters of American women who abhor the feminist agenda. Then top it off with a fem-fest at the White House in honor of International Womenâ€™s Day. [source]
To borrow one of my motherâ€™s favorite lines, â€œWhat were you thinking?â€
Iâ€™ve spoken with lots of Republican women over the years â€“ young and young-at-heart, married and single, Black and White. Whether they are driving their kids to a soccer game or running their own businesses, these ladies are definitely a down-to-earth bunch who care deeply about their families and their nation.
Not a single one has mentioned to me a secret yearning to become â€œempowered.â€ Not one had a clenched-fist looking-mirror logo pinned to her lapel. Letâ€™s be honest, folks â€“ the last thing these women want is a condescending campaign slogan that panders to â€œstrong women.â€
What about the guys?
White men represent 45 million of the U.S. electorate. In 2000, 60% of them pulled the handle for George W. Bush. In 2004 Bush fared even better, winning 62% of the white male vote. In both elections, it was this group that allowed Mr. Bush to grab the brass ring.
But then Mr. Bush looked the other way as feminist operatives throughout his administration stiff-armed this key electoral block. [source]
Some 20 million disenfranchised parents â€“ mostly dads — have lost their children to divorce. If you donâ€™t fathom these parentsâ€™ grief, then go see Blood Diamond. This movie is not just about pilfered gems, itâ€™s also the saga of a father in search of his lost children. â€œWhere is my son?â€ bellows a heart-broken Solomon Vandy in one memorable scene.
This is my prediction for 2008 and beyond: Whichever party taps into the concerns of this long-ignored voting block will own the political agenda for the next generation.
And just two months after the November meltdown, new warning signs are appearing on the horizon.
The Democrats are positioning themselves to take the lead on the pro-family agenda. No, Iâ€™m not kidding. In the November elections, Dems touted slogans like â€œsupport traditional marriageâ€ and â€œfaith and family come first.â€ And Democratic Iowa governor Tom Vilsak has already signed a law that promotes shared parenting in the event of divorce.
Then thereâ€™s the Mark Klein factor. Dr. Klein has decided to shake things up by declaring his candidacy for the 2008 presidential race. His dark-horse appeal is to restore a stable middle class and to bring disenfranchised parents back into their childrenâ€™s lives.
True, Klein is a long shot candidate, but thatâ€™s what the Democrats said about Ralph Nader in 2000. The liberal-leaning Nader siphoned off 2.7% of the popular vote and sent Al Gore home to work the rubber-chicken speaking circuit.
Kleinâ€™s message resonates deeply with many disaffected Americans. Recently Klein ran a full-page advertisement in the Washington Times, complaining that the Republican party is â€œtotally in the back pocket of radical feminists.â€
Reality check to the Republican National Committee: If Dr. Klein keeps running these ads, donâ€™t expect any Republican to occupy the White House for a good long time.
So how is the party of Lincoln going to turn things around?
First, stop taking the male electorate for granted. Establish an outreach team to bring disgruntled men back into the fold. You already have teams to target seniors and youth. Why not teams for both men and women?
Second, develop the moral clarity to distinguish between the legitimate interests of women versus the radical feminist agenda. Women care deeply about families, children, and men, feminists donâ€™t. Women believe in life, feminists sanction death. So stop pandering to â€œfemale empowermentâ€ and start talking about the issues that people care about.
And while youâ€™re at it, Mr. Bush, youâ€™ve got some house-cleaning to do. A lot of feminist holdovers from the Clinton era still occupy key positions in your administration.
Start by abolishing the Office of International Womenâ€™s Issues in the State Department. Then reform the Office for Child Support Enforcement. The Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice is another haven for radical feminism.
And why does rabble-rouser Peggy Kerry, sister of senator John Kerry, still hold a sensitive position at the United States mission at the UN?
Itâ€™s not just the future of the Republican party thatâ€™s at stake here. Weâ€™re also talking about the future of the republic.
Carey Roberts is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.