Ed Rollins, former political director for Reagan and strategist for Huckabee, cuts through the BS and delivers some strong words for his party:
The battle to be the “de facto leader” of this party is akin to the question of who wants to steer the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. Who represents the party or its values is not relevant when only 26 percent of voters have a positive impression of the party at all and only 7 percent very positive, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey.
The Democratic Party is the reverse, with 49 percent positive. When 60 percent of the country approves of the job President Obama is doing, every Republican leader is going backward.
Republicans are not relevant. We just lost two back-to-back elections (2006 and 2008), and obviously, what we are selling, the voters aren’t buying. In the midst of the most severe economic crisis in my lifetime, we have a president who is taking the country on a dramatic sea change. This is what he said he would do and he is doing it. And where are Republicans? Right now we don’t have the alternative ideas, a message or, more important, the messenger.
I really like the Titanic reference there.
Interesting enough, this brings me to something I saw last night on Rachel Maddow. She had Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on. Pawlenty is considered one of the rising stars of the GOP, and he said something that goes right to the heart of the failing Republican argument.
I think the party is going to remain a conservative party, Rachel. Any suggestion that this is going to be something different than that I think defies history and it defies the principles and foundations of the party.
So it is not about having Republicans go out and act more like Democrats or liberals. It is trying to get more Democrats and independents to be supportive of Republican candidates and ideas.
We have to do a better job of informing, educating, mobilizing and winning elections. And that‘s going to take everybody. It is going to take Rush Limbaugh. It‘s going to take, you know, Sean Hannity. It‘s going to take party leaders, candidates, everyday citizens. We‘ve got to build a whole, big coalition. And all of those pieces are important.
The big problem is that the Republicans keep lying to themselves by trying to say this is a still a “center-right” nation. Well this country was that for awhile, but those policies have helped lead us into the mess we are in today. The public has now realized that and quickly turned their backs on the Republican brand as a whole. To further complicate matters for the GOP, they try to exile members who don’t adhere to “strict conservative principals”. Could you imagine if the Democrats pushed out every member that didn’t resemble Dennis Kucinich in views?
So instead of adapting to this changing America, Pawlenty thinks we need to change America back to the Republican philosophies that fueled us over the edge. It’s kind of like saying “I know you don’t like me, but I will force you to like me!” – it’s not going to work. Until the Republicans can accept that then they will remain in the minority until the ship finally hits the bottom of the ocean.