Monday, January 09, 2012

Pinnell: isn't it our job to grow the GOP?

Moving in Mass
by Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell

"If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check." --Thomas Jefferson, 1811

It's safe to say we are in the midst of a very heated GOP Presidential Primary season. We have quality candidates all vying to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama. For the most part it's a healthy process, but we must heed the wise words of Jefferson and avoid becoming an easy conquest after the dust settles on this season.

Let's take Iowa, for example. The Iowa Caucus is now a wrap with a Romney, Santorum, Paul photo finish. There were quotes from "Party insiders" in Iowa and nationally that were concerned about Ron Paul's support among independents and Democrats in the Hawkeye state. Excuse me for asking the question that some within our Party won't like, but is it not our job to move Independents and Democrats in the Republican column?

When discussing Dr. Paul’s base or Tea Party voters for that matter, many scream "but they aren't Republicans!" Folks, if there's one thing I've learned from being the Chairman of a partisan political party it's that we are not always going to see eye to eye. Same goes for the Democrats. Nearly 60% of Independents voting in Iowa this year were first time caucus goers. Why again is that a bad thing? If we don't welcome these disenfranchised Independents and Democrats (many of whom are young) into the Republican Party then I'm terribly concerned for the future of it.

Republicans love using Reagan quotes to defend everything. Ok then, here's one for you: “Our task now is not to sell a philosophy, but to make the majority of Americans, who already share that philosophy, see that modern conservatism offers them a political home.” Let them in. Let them in in droves, then make them see that our Party offers them a home.

Some will choose to leave after awhile – that’s fine – but many won't. Many will choose to stay, and help, and grow our Party. Remember those Reagan Democrats? George Will rightly noted recently, "Those who were once called Reagan Democrats are now the GOP base." We let them in, and they stayed. On the other hand, if we choose to close ourselves off to anyone that doesn't look like us or sound like us or agree with us on every issue then it will be become extremely difficult for a Republican to ever move back into the White House.

We saw what conservatives were capable of when we moved in mass in 2010. It was precisely what was deemed necessary back in the mid 50's, when Frank Meyer, a founding editor of William F. Buckley’s National Review, laid out the possibility--and necessity--of what he called “fusionism,” a union of social conservatives and those of a more libertarian, free-market mindset.

Once the dust settles and we have a nominee, that moving in mass, that fusionism, is critical. And if we don't? America will, as Ann Coulter put it, "begin its ineluctable descent into becoming a worthless Western European country, with rotten health care, no money for defense and ever-increasing federal taxes to support the nanny state."

You want that? Stay home. Everybody else, however, that believes Obama must go, let's move in mass with the GOP nominee--be it ever so circuitously--and save this country.


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