Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GOP in a Brave New World

Barack Obama is the president of the United States. The Democrats have sizeable majorities in both houses of Congress. The new chair of the Republican National Committee is a black former lieutenant governor of Maryland. It’s official – the Republican Party is having an existential crisis.

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stated that the GOP is in danger of becoming a “regional party.” He may be right: In the November general election, Democratic tickets made unprecedented inroads into traditionally Republican states like Colorado and Ohio.

The last couple of years have been a time of reckoning for the GOP. The party lacks consensus on issues ranging from abortion to the economy, and while the Democrats revel in their electoral mandate and broad new power, their conservative counterparts are – to put it kindly – sorting out a few issues.

After eight years spent perverting its own conservative political tradition, the GOP must throw out the old playbook to remain relevant in the future.

Republicans on Capitol Hill must change the way they do business. Sen. McConnell said that the GOP must move in a “post-partisan” direction to reject the party’s extremist elements and “govern from the middle.” This means that Karl Rove’s divide-and-conquer strategy must end. Republicans must stop using social issues as political wedges. They must renew their devotion to principles like sensible foreign policy and small government – concepts that the Bush administration seemed unable to grasp.

As the electorate becomes more socially progressive and our sand-castle economy continues to wash away, Republicans need to make their voices relevant again. As millions of Americans on Main Street lose their homes and jobs, the GOP must not continue to wage wars on same-sex marriage and abortion. Republicans must turn their attention to building a lasting, honest identity, instead of practicing guerilla politics.

A revived GOP means a more balanced America. Whatever wannabe GOP chair Chip Saltsman might think, Obama is not a “magic Negro” and he is bound to have a bad idea or two eventually. When the time comes, Republicans must be able to offer fresh perspectives and healthy resistance.

The election of Michael Steele (LAW ’91) as chair of the GOP gives us hope – maybe the GOP is capable of reforming itself, after all. At a time when the nation is struggling to find its footing, an insecure and unstable Republican Party does us all a disservice.

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