If the GOP must change, it must not be to appease liberals
The following is a work of opinion submitted by the author.
And so, we are told, we must change. "We" are the GOP or, more generally, the conservatives. We are told that in the wake of the Tuesday night massacre (which wasn't exactly Bull Run given the numbers), the party of Lincoln and T. Roosevelt and Reagan needs to change with the times and realize that it is no longer feasible to oppose both abortion and immigration and still expect to gain majorities.
Facebook is awash with the lamentations of the pro-choice Republicans who think that social conservatives have forever poisoned the, ahem, fertile female landscape for them. They point to Akin and Mourdoch and Smith, all of those male Senate candidates who lost their races after having made questionable comments about rape. They assume that anyone who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade is a religious fanatic (which might come as news to the agnostics out there who think abortion is murder, people like former Village Voice writer Nat Hentoff). They accuse pro-lifers of being anti-woman, sounding very much like the Democrats circa 1992 who refused to let Bob Casey, Sr., speak at the party's national convention that year.
And then you have the ones who scream about those horrible neo-cons, the ones who waste our blood and treasure on fools' expeditions in the Middle East. They sound very much like Neville Chamberlain, equating appeasement with peace, and calling anyone who dares support a strong and stable military a right-wing fanatic. Don't believe me? Just google the name "Romney" near "Iran" and you'll see it's not just the liberals who warn of the impending apocalypse, brought to you by your friendly neighborhood madman.
My favorites are the ones who say the GOP needs to be more receptive to immigration reform, which is of course a good thing, but which is usually code for "We need more Latinos!" It's as if the only thing Hispanics care about is whether Tia Maria is safe from deportation. That is both cynical and disrespectful, since the Latino vote cannot be distilled to one simple question: Are we going to seal the border, or not? Immigration reform is indeed a worthy goal. But take it from this immigration lawyer: It's not just an issue for Juan and Juanita.
Of course, I do understand where they're coming from, these traumatized electoral refugees. In failing to unseat a president with high unemployment numbers, an economy sinking under a millstone of debt, a strange and unsavory preoccupation with women's inner plumbing and a complete disregard for the religious freedom of a stubborn and troublesome group of rosary-clingers, the Republicans are left asking themselves: "If we can't get rid of this fellow, who in the world could we ever defeat?"
But talking about moderation and catering to those overly demanding bloc votes like women, Latinos and gays is not the way to become relevant again. If you simply copy what the Democrats have been doing, you might be able to win some elections, but you will only succeed in mimicking the people that you want to replace — people who stand for exactly those principles that are anathema to the rank and file of your party. Or to paraphrase St. Matthew, what profit a man to gain an election but lose his soul?
I suppose the GOP in particular and conservatives in general need to figure out if they want to remain true to those principles, if they even value things like traditional and cohesive families, the sanctity of unborn life and the right to defend ourselves, or if they want to be inside players. This country has changed dramatically since our parents and grandparents were growing up, and many of the changes are negative even though liberals will try and put a tolerant spin on the mess. Voters in Colorado condone the legalization of marijuana, voters in Maine allow Adam to marry Steve, people like Jay-Z think it's fine to substitute the word "Bitch" for "Mitt" at an Obama fundraiser, and the president himself thinks revenge is an electoral strategy.
This is not the America I love, but it is the America in which I live. So we need to decide whether it is more advantageous to remain true to our better selves, or do some cosmetic surgery and become more palatable to the people who pull the levers.
I know what I think we should do. But then again, I believed with all of my heart and soul that, come January, I'd be watching Ann Romney hold a Bible while her husband pledged his faith to a battered populace.
Guess I was wrong.