On Monday, the RNC released its plan for rebuilding the Republican Party. The Washington Post called the party “struggling” and MSNBC called Republicans “dead men talking.” But the main media narrative is that the GOP is in soul searching mode, split between two visions of the party that are incompatible with one another: an inclusive vision that moves left to garner support from independents and Democrats on the fence, and a defensive vision that moves right to fire up the base.
In reality these visions aren’t exclusive of one another, unless you misunderstand the Constitution and how government is meant to work. An inclusive vision would have the GOP appealing more to Hispanics, homosexuals, African-Americans, young people and women. That’s necessary in that these groups make up a substantial portion of the electorate. Let’s call these the Jeb Bush Republicans. The defensive position says that in order to win elections the base must be energized. The theory is that the base didn’t show up for the establishment moderate Mitt Romney, which cost the Republican Party the election. That’s also demonstrably true. Let’s call this group the Newt Gingrich Republicans.
Both parties, as outlined by the arbitrary spokesmen we’ve chosen, have faults. The Jeb Bush crowd seems to want to win new constituencies with the same tactics used by Democrats: namely appealing to them as sub-groups of Americans, determining what they want, and giving it to them, the Constitution be damned. Meanwhile the Gingrich crowd seeks to win without building a coalition. Newt chooses to feed red-meat sound bites to the base without a consistent message.
The ultimate goals of broadening the party’s base and increasing its activity level are desirable and necessary. But are these two paths exclusive of one another and, if not, what is the unifying philosophy that can achieve both goals simultaneously? The answer lies with the libertarian philosophy outlined by the Cato Institute and championed by politicians like Sen. Rand Paul.
On issues like gay marriage, immigration, education reform, and drugs, the Cato Institute provides middle ground without compromising the principles of Madison and Jefferson. And on spending and the budget, there is no other outfit in Washington more thorough in the assessment of waste and abuse than is Cato. Join Cato’s efforts by becoming a sponsor and supporting the best effort in Washington for rational, small government with solutions that are logical and workable.