The GOP this week released a set of eleven principles with which they can build a platform heading into the midterms and beyond. Called the “Republican Principles for American Renewal,” they bear a strong resemblance to Newt Gingrich’s successful Contract with America that helped him become Speaker of the House in 1994. It seems a bit late in the game to release these principles in terms of the election, but it is nice to see an often-fractured party deliver something coherent.
Say what you will about the Democrats, but they have been the party to beat for the last eight years. Republicans have earned themselves a reputation for obstinacy, division, and in-fighting during that time. It’s enough to make one wish for the days when conservatives could gather harmoniously behind our best national representative. Perhaps these principles can usher in a new age for the Republicans. Certainly, releasing something akin to a mission statement is a great step forward.
The document refrains from getting too specific, but it does a nice job letting young voters know what the party stands for. The principles include:
Constitution: Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.
Economy: We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.
Budget/Debt: We need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.
The release goes on to elaborate on the GOP’s position when it comes to healthcare, veterans, security, education, poverty, values, energy, and immigration. Nothing in the document will surprise a conservative active in politics, but it could be enough to sway a new generation getting into the game for the first time. Republicans need to work on erasing their mainstream reputation as the Party of No, and these tidbits of philosophy are a good first step.
If there’s one thing that separates liberals from conservatives, it’s that conservatives don’t waste a lot of time getting dreamy-eyed about politicians. Yeah, there’s Reagan, but c’mon. The guy was a Founding Father out of time. Other than that, most conservatives know that politicians are, by and large, not to be trusted. That includes…and sometimes typifies…Republicans. They talk a great game, but what do they actually do? Lately, they haven’t even been talking much of a game.
Will a release like this repair some of the bridge between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party? It’s broad enough that almost everyone who considers themselves a conservative can get behind, but the generalities also undermine their power. They make a great introduction to the GOP for people not sure how to vote in November, but they probably aren’t going to sway anyone who has followed politics for more than a year.
Overall, chances look good for Republicans to take the Senate in November. Whether a GOP victory will really mean a period of American renewal, though, remains to be seen.