We must be a welcoming party. I'll continue to preach this until the stubborn ones understand Politics 101. There is no purity test in joining a political party. If you think you are a Republican, you are a Republican. No one should be allowed to discourage a newly interested voter by trying to place hoops in front of the voter to jump through in the name of ideological purity. A party wins by growing the number of voters for their candidates, not shrinking the number of voters. A political party is not a private club.
We must stop the hate. That sounds harsh but there is no other way to describe the way the GOP's attitude towards immigration issues comes off to voters. Here is how one successful Republican woman of Hispanic heritage explains it:
So let me try to explain. First, even for someone like me whose family has been here for centuries, the tone of the debate on illegal immigration has been unsettling. Illegal immigration is down to historically low levels, the lowest in 40 years. Border security is higher than it has ever been in the nation's history, and deportations are at a modern high. Still, the GOP platform and Romney himself insisted that those illegal immigrants who are living here -- some of them for decades -- must self-deport.Do we really expect families who have been here for years, decades even, to pick up and leave only to have to stand in the back of the line to re-enter a life in America? Do we really want to sound as though we expect mothers and fathers to leave the country though they have children who are American citizens by the mere location of their births? Does anyone really think it is a worthy plan to round up millions of people and transport them out of our country? How exactly would that even be done? Do you understand how silly a solution like self-deportation sounds, not to mention insulting?
We must rally around a common sense approach to immigration reform. For example, Senator Marco Rubio has a responsible plan that would not destroy families or place unattainable demands on those already here. Yes, strict guidelines must be set. Yes, demand payment of reasonable fines and abiding by our laws. Those are matters of basic human respect. We must demand secure borders - to the south and to the north of us - and that alone would go a long way to head off much of the illegal crossings.
We must nurture and present intelligent, solidly conservative intellectuals as candidates. The days of ignorant misogynist white men candidates has to be at its end. Especially on the social issues, such as women's health issues and the subject of rape, Republican candidates have been inexcusably advanced on single issue agendas. This has to stop. Conservative women do not want to be represented by such out-of-touch men and neither do Independent or Democratic women. It is insulting and degrading to everyone.
This quote from Karen Hughes, advisor to former President George W. Bush sums it up:
"If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue. The college-age daughters of many of my friends voted for Obama because they were completely turned off by Neanderthal comments like the suggestion of 'legitimate rape."And, finally, the Republican party has to stop the tradition of running the candidate believed to be the next in line to run. It's killing us. This mentality discourages fresh faces and much needed creative energy among the ranks of those willing to run for the big offices. Especially for our presidential candidates, the next in line process doomed us in 2008 and 2012, just as it did in 1996 with Bob Dole, for example.
Fortunately for the Republican party, we have a deep bench emerging of strong, intelligent, common sense driven leaders who will be our candidates in the next cycle. Their faces are diverse and many more women will run. Our country is no longer dominated by the leadership of older white men and our party must not be, either.