BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
January 30, 2013
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, gave a rousing speech at the Republican National Committee Retreat in Charlotte NC, where he offered ways to fixing shortcomings of the Republican Party. The November Election that returned Obama to the White House was a wakeup for his party’s establishment. Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans voted overwhelmingly for the President. To save his party from devastating outcomes in future elections, the Indian American Republican, offered some tough love to revive and stop the GOP from being a “stupid party.”
“The Republican Party does not need to change our principles,” he said in his keynote speech, “but we might need to change just about everything else we do.” It seems the Conservative learnt a big deal from voters’ reaction to the GOP. Remember in 2012 Mr. Jindal said “It pays to be stubborn and stick to your gun.” it was a call to the GOP to stay adamant and not budge on negotiations with the other side.
In response I noted that being stubborn might be right depending on circumstances. However, the electorates never chose politicians and members of Congress to stay stubborn to reach compromise on the nation’s pressing and dire needs. The leadership is in place to solve problems and run the government. The stubborn attitude came from the Tea Party Movement and its agenda to bring disruptive change to Washington by all means.
Since winning the House in the mid-term elections, the right has no other agenda but to deliver on its promise to voters and far right Tea Party supporters, who aided the campaign that turned over House of Representatives to GOP. The goal has been budget cut and reduction in size of government at all cost nonetheless, the effect on the nation. The party has since realized being “stubborn and sticking to your gun” has no benefit in government, that unity and compromise does.
Jindal’s keynote speech meant to reconstruct the damaged GOP leadership and its approach to policies. Instead, it refuted Obama’s inaugural speech and called on his party to leave things as they are on its core principles. “I am not one of those who believe we should moderate, equivocate or otherwise abandon our principles,” Jindal said. “This badly disappoints many of the liberals in the national media, of course. For them, real change means: supporting abortion on demand without apology, abandoning traditional marriage between one man and one woman, embracing government growth as the key to American success, agreeing to higher taxes every year to pay for government expansion, and endorsing the enlightened policies of European socialism.”
The point, the GOP is sick and in need of a prescription. What Jindal is prescribing won’t get his party what it needs to heal and retake the White House. The GOP is in disarray because of its ideology and refusal to adopt political pragmatism, in its approach to today’s reality and political atmosphere. As long as it is unwilling to succumb on the controversial issue of abortion, it is unlikely to gain support of women, a voting bloc it desperately needs.
In 2012, the party’s credibility got ruined by some of its members. Todd Akin was against abortion even in the extreme case of rape, Richard Mourdock, alienated women with his rhetoric on abortion and GOP’s Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was unclear on the issue and once said he would be “delighted” to sign a Federal ban on abortion. Another is same-sex marriage an issue the Republican Party is unwilling to support. Though, some in the party are beginning to moderate the belief in traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
The anti-immigrant movement within the GOP is another bloc responsible for its gradual breakdown and failure to garner minority vote. George Bush got more than 40 percent of Hispanic votes, part of which was reason he won reelection. Since he left office, other GOP candidates from John McCain to Mitt Romney, have failed to do well with Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians. The party is indifferent to comprehensive immigration reform that others like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have backed. Until the GOP begins to change its policy on immigration, it will continue to have a hard time getting the votes it needs to win.
Recent move by John McCain and other Republicans to join hands with Senator Chuck Schumer, on a comprehensive immigration deal, seems a right approach to ending polarization of minority vote and the Party’s descent to irrelevancy. Perhaps, not too late to redeem the GOP but only without the unpopular policies that led to its disintegration and embarrassing defeat in the last election.
Jindal’s critique of the Left as a party in favor of higher taxes and big government is unlikely to get his party the support it needs. Obama campaigned on helping the Middle Class and making the rich pay more tax. Voters bought his campaign agenda and gave the support that got him reelected. Part of what damaged Romney’s chance of winning was his 47 percent tape which voters thought was pro-wealthy and against the poor and Middle Class. A return to being the party of the rich or one in favor of deep cuts, irrespective of economic and social ramifications on the poor, will make the Conservative Party irrelevant.
Jindal’s call for his party to stop being a “stupid party,” could be a walk in the right direction to saving it. But being “stubborn and sticking to your gun” will relegate the Conservative establishment to nothingness. Attacking every liberal agenda would do more harm than good. To rise again, the GOP must moderate its core ideology and principle. Current conservative policy is broadly unpopular and unless it begins to consider a pragmatic approach to dealing with issues that matter, Jindal’s prescriptions may not help the GOP heal.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.