An Open Letter to the Republican National Committee
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I write to you as an independent voter from Indiana. Although I voted for President Obama, I also voted for several Republicans in last week’s elections. Since I started voting in 1990, I have prided myself on splitting my ticket, thinking carefully about the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, regardless of party. Sadly, your party is putting forth fewer and fewer candidates who represent thoughtful, moderate politics, candidates who will get things done in Washington. Every election, my ballot becomes more and more blue, even though my opinions on the issues have not changed.
This year, your party went on a witch hunt against its own. Your constituents, fueled by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other talking heads, went on a crusade for ideological purity and took down any moderate in their path. My state lost a Senatorial icon for whom I had voted in every election – Richard Lugar. He was replaced with the extremist Richard Mourdock. His comments on rape were bad enough, but the main reason I could never vote for him were two other more egregious comments: “I certainly think bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view” and “The highlight of politics is to inflict my opinion on someone else.” That took him off my ballot.
Mitt Romney, at least the Mitt Romney who was governor of Massachusetts, was an intriguing choice as your presidential candidate. Had he remained the Governor Romney of Massachusetts I had become familiar with, I might have voted for him. However, like John McCain four years ago, Romney was disfigured by your party. He had to pander to your base, which is growing ever more virulent. What some people saw as a “flip-flop,” I recognized as a Directive from the Committee: “Gov. Romney must say THIS, not THAT, if he wants to win our base.” Last year, as I watched your candidates’ debates, I hoped Jon Huntsman would win; he was brilliant, experienced and thoughtful. Now I’m glad he did not because you would have put him through the same machine through which you yanked McCain and Romney; I doubt Huntsman would’ve come out of your primaries a viable candidate, just as Romney did not.
But the real purpose of my letter is this: I am begging you to take control of your brand, your message and your base.
For too long you have allowed Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the like to represent your brand and spread your message. It is not working. You will continue to lose more and more of the middle until you take back control of your brand.
You need to step up and speak against ridiculous pronouncements of doom by firebrand, right-wing ministers who insist that Armageddon is coming because the Democrats won the Presidency! You need to say SOMETHING when your extremist constituents start petitions to secede from the United States. (Didn’t we do that once? Poor Abe Lincoln must be rolling over in his grave, watching his own party undo the very principles for which he fought so valiantly.)
You need to insist upon some intellect from your constituency. The smart, small-efficient-government guys I used to love are being drowned out by the crazies screaming about “dropping off fiscal cliffs!” and “Obamacare is socialist!” and “the end of democracy!”
You have created a Frankenstein monster of cowboy capitalists, anarchist militiamen, atheist Ayn Rand acolytes, pro-life evangelicals, and paranoid old white folks who watch Fox News (a.k.a. Tea Partiers). If you don’t figure out a way to calm this monster down, it will to continue to frighten the moderates and alienate the rest of our nation until your party becomes completely obsolete.
I’m not trying to be cute or disingenuous. I truly want your party to be a viable option for those of us in the middle. As far as I’m concerned, the more parties, the better. But right now, as one of your more intelligent strategists put it, “”Republicans are a Mad Men party in a Modern Family America,” (Matthew Dowd as cited in Tampa Bay Times, 11/11/12). Stop letting the crazies and the well-paid talking heads be the face of your party. Take control and bring some sanity back to the GOP for the good of the USA.