Is There A Future For The Gop? Yes, But Only If They Heed These Admonitions Andrecommendations Otherwise The Party's Marginalization Will Continue, I
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Steven Spielberg's important new film "Lincoln" has just been released and not a moment too soon. It's based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's best-selling book "Team of Rivals:The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln."

It's about what it takes to move mountains, manage men, get things done and lead, bending but not abandoning every moral principle or strongly held belief. It is about politics, America's blood sport, and how they are played at the very top where angels fear to tread... and rightly so. There's nothing angelic about the participants or the process. It's a very messy... and absolutely crucial... business that ensures our Democracy works.

For the music to this piece, I have selected "Dixie", written in 1859 by Daniel Decatur Emmett. Yes, the very anthem of sedition and treason. Why? Because Abe Lincoln thought it a fine tune... and because it reminds us that throwing away a good thing, the greatest reel ever written, makes no sense. Leadership, even in music, means enjoying the good; finessing the bad and remembering what Scarlet O'Hara said: "Tonight I could dance with Abe Lincoln himself".... and sailed through a sea of outrage and disapproval to prove her point and have a thoroughly good time.

Loss, bad loss, catastrophic loss.

John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is now again the highest ranking Republican in the Great Republic. That wasn't the idea, but it is the result after an unenlightening campaign that rained money but where victory eluded them... and not by a narrow margin either. Like most everyone in America Boehner has his ideas about why this happened... and to his credit he didn't hold back when he addressed his chastened, subdued House colleagues by telephone the day after the victory that didn't happen.

He made it clear they would have to work with the Democrats they viscerally detest... and in this deduction Boehner at last sounded less like the bombastic ultra-partisan, immutable control freak than he usually does but, perhaps for the first time, actually a tad Lincolnesque. For no American politician ever labored so hard or so successfully to work with (and ultimately control) the people necessary to the fruition of his administration and the nation than Lincoln.

He took his political competitors, even his avowed enemies, and plunked them down in his Cabinet... where he could see what they were up to, the better to control them to get his way. It was bold, audacious, unprecedented maybe even fool hardy. And no one knew whether it would succeed or not, not even Abe Lincoln, the most belittled, reviled, and underestimated American politician ever. He asked every candidate who had opposed his nomination at the Republican convention in Chicago to take a portfolio.

They couldn't believe their good fortune and assumed their power and control of the new government assured. After all they were men of merit, nationally known, nationally renowned. Seward of New York! Chase of Ohio! Cameron of Pennsylvania! Bates of Missouri! No wonder the weak and untried Lincoln wanted them at hand. He would reign. They would rule. Or so they thought...

But Lincoln understood men, understood how to manage them, and bring them along, always finagling, brokering, deal making to accomplish the needful and always with country humor and good sense. Speaker Boehner ought to ensure that every House Member, Democrat and Republican, gets Goodwin's book and masters it.

Don't bet the ranch on Aging White Men.

Lincoln had a goal and never lost sight of it: to preserve the federal Union. He made it clear what he would do to achieve and maintain that goal: anything, everything. If it would help, it was on the table.

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

Now have you ever heard Boehner and company say anything like this about the crucial matter of righting America's rickety financial house? You haven't because he hasn't. And until he does, until he says that everything is on the table to achieve the great goal of saving America's finances, the goal will never be achieved and all our lives and endeavors blighted accordingly. This great goal, in short, can not just be accomplished by aging white men, the foundation of the Republican party.

Here are the bleak statistics the GOP must wrestle with, statistics which cost them not just the 2012 presidential election but, if not radically improved, will cost them every future presidential election as well:

Women: 55% Obama, 44% Romney.

Hispanics: 71% Obama, 27% Romney.

Young voters under 30: 60% Obama, 36% Romney.

Black voters: 95% Obama, 4% Romney.

Asian American voters: 80% Obama, 19% Romney.

Note: For the record, I must remind you that these numbers are based on various election-date exit polls and other unofficial surveys. Still, the results of these polls are consistent, and therefore are very much to the point.

Radical outreach required, starting at once.

The staff, offices, and work of the national committees dwindle significantly as soon as the election results are in. This model won't serve the GOP or solve its glaring problem, that it has come to rely upon a group of aging white men who cannot deliver victory in and of themselves. Anyone who can count can see that and the fact that 7,000,000 fewer of these men voted in 2012 than 2008 ought to scare the bejesus out of anyone who wishes the Grand Old Party well. The natural mortality of its favored constituency promises assured cataclysm.

What, then, must be done?

1) Building the new GOP and measurably increasing its voter turn-out in each designated category (women, voters under 30, Asian Americans, etc.) must be an explicit objective. A vigorous title such as "Building the NEW GOP!" should be adopted.

2) Respected office holders should be recruited to head each category and its outreach efforts.

3) Adequate budgets should be drawn up and, with the full assistance of the national party organizations, ample funds raised. This is crucial.

4) IT professionals must be hired to advise on the best way to utilize Internet options, including social media.

5) Internet recruitment campaigns along the lines of "And I'm a Mormon" should be implemented, e.g. "And I'm a Republican".

6) Focus groups should be established to ascertain reasons why designated groups would and, importantly would not, vote Republican. Congressional leadership should be involved in this matter.

7) State legislatures and local civic, business and elected leaders should be canvassed for desirable candidates in each category for federal offices. Such information should be shared with congressional campaign committees to allocate funding, etc.

8) A list of open or vulnerable Democratic representatives and senators should be drawn up. Resources should be raised and concentrated on the most likely targets.

9) All information from national headquarters should be "translated" into a form most likely to resonate with designated populations.

10) Study the great coalition and team builders who built the modern Democratic party. Congressman Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. (later U.S. Speaker of the House) whose work in a generation changed Massachusetts from solidly Republican to solidly Democratic. Or Senator George McGovern whose signal work transformed overwhelmingly Republican South Dakota into a state "in play" for the Democrats. And, of course, the greatest Democratic coalition builder, Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose transforming brilliance ensured Democratic victories and Republican irrelevance for a generation. These far-sighted, hardworking strategists set the objective for themselves and the Democrats; then did the necessary to achieve it.

Study Lincoln, every fibre, every nuance, every move, every thought.

Remember, the Republican Party, the Grand Old Party, is the party of Lincoln. What this means is that you are charged with doing whatever it takes to keep America strong by keeping its people strong. Sadly too often, and glaringly in 2012, you have forgotten your great charge, lost amongst the negativity and nay-saying which has turned the party of Lincoln into a petty shadow of its historical grandeur and significance.

Changing this reality into a vision to thrill America is your urgent task now. Restore the primacy of great Lincoln's unsurpassed genius for governance and in the process you will not only save the Grand Old Party and make it grander still; you will save the Great Republic, our nation, our people, our mission. Your moment is here. Seize it... for the good of us all.


Street Talk

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