Wanted: a Republican leader

Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Although it is a good start politically to have many people desiring the same result, there must be a definitive leader. Without a leader, an entity is vulnerable to attack or retreat. I am frustrated at seeing the Republican Party, which used to have clear principles and convictions, divide itself and cede strong leadership for the sake of political expediency and universalism.

Recently, there has been much debate and conflict over the head of the Republican Party. Most of this is perpetuated by left-wing attack teams and the media. Republicans should not be angry over this, however; they should expect it. Of course the opposition is going to exploit what it sees as an opening — it is beneficial to their political agenda. The media helps to perpetuate it, because conflict breeds profit.

The unfortunate arc to this storyline is that Republicans are playing right into the hands of their opponents. They have, in a sense, truckled to the Democratic Party’s recent “mandate for change” and groveled to the mainstream media in a strange sort of cultural appeasement. This has led us to further sacrifice our most fundamental principles, which not only vindicates the party’s argument, but makes us look all the more weak for dignifying it.

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Democrats have been successfully painting the Republican Party as one that is mean-spirited, vitriolic and uncaring about the common man. In response to these attacks, Republicans have sought to prove them wrong by adopting “compassionate” and tolerant platforms. By recognizing their argument and then amending our doctrine to appease the conflict, we have essentially proven their point. But to do so not only makes the party look politically weak, it is a strategic blunder.

Consider the party’s stance on the war in Iraq: If America abandons her mission, she concedes defeat; if America retreats due to popular opinion, she has surrendered. How can the Republicans be so adamant about this position, but when it comes to limited federal government, fiscal conservatism and social responsibility, they willingly abandon their principles for the sake of popular compromise?

If Republicans had the same temerity in their political, economic, and social agenda as they do in our national defense, the party would not only be unified, but it would be truly principled. Many people still would disagree with them, but antagonists could never exploit the most disastrous vulnerability of all, impotent leadership.

Republicans need a leader who can coherently articulate principles and convictions and give equally coherent reasons why the opposition is wrong. He needn’t adhere strictly to Reaganomics, he needn’t be as aggressive as Bush in foreign policy and he needn’t be as socially conservative as Sarah Palin.

He needs only to explain in a concise, articulate and intelligible manner why Republicanism works, because as it stands right now, Democrats have monopolized the articulation of “why it works” in political theory, and the media and the populace have bought into it. If Republicans can gain such a leader, strong in virtue and articulate in communication, they can recover their loss. If they continue to bicker and quibble over a leaders’ popularity versus character, they invite their own doom.