'Tis Only My Opinion!

November 1998 - Volume 18, Number 11

Can the Republican Party be Saved from Itself?

Newt Gingrich’s resignation in answer to the failure to send a clear message to the American voting public and the Republican’s ineptness in dealing with themes that resonant with the voting public has left the right in disarray.

The Republicans swept to power in 1994 with a clear and concise message - the Contract with America. And in the first few weeks of the 104th Congress, major portions of the contract were enacted. But then, something funny happened. They forgot to continue to lead and began to backslide and eventually, the furor over Gingrich’s ethics and his $6,000,000 book contract with Rupert Murdoch stole much of his moral authority won in the convincing 1994 elections.

The various factions within the party have seen the "religious right" dominate the body politic until decisions on almost any issue have an abortion rider amendment attached. This small body has turned off a significant portion of the Republican critical mass in their zeal to impose their moral beliefs on all of society. They also have energized significant opposition elements, the pro-choice crowd, feminists and others who don’t quite believe that abortion is absolutely wrong.

The Party must clearly state its goals!

What does the Republican Party clearly stand for? During the past three years, the message sent to the voters has lost its meaning as time and again, the party leadership led by Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott have caved in repeatedly on their positions. Until the Party stands up for its goals and refuses to compromise, its message will not resonant with the voters and its leadership will be perceived to be weak.

Fighting the Wrong Battles.

Many Republicans are after Clinton's scalp for the Monica Lewinsky affair. While sex might titillate the masses, in the end focusing on this tawdry affair may backfire if impeachment fails. For his more substantial abuses of power and obstruction of justice, the issuance of executive orders to defy the will of Congress and the possibility of major transfers of military information to the Chinese in exchange for campaign funds might well go unpunished.

The truth is that the Republicans still control the Senate and House of Representatives.

The only question is whether they will act like leaders or continue to placate the Democrats in an effort to seem bi-partisan, an effort doomed to failure! If they attempt to placate the Democrats, the end result will be a party with no agenda, a leadership seen to be ineffectual, and a group of politicians who can barely be distinguished from the opposition.

Much ado is made about the Republican Party being a tool of the religious right by the media. While they were elected to their current positions within the Republican Party, those who believe in the principles of the Republican Party must become involved in local, state and national politics to take back the party apparatus.

So what are the principles the Republicans should champion to the masses!

This is my K.I.S.S. list.


The Republican leaders must focus daily on their message to the populace. It needs to be stated over and over. The issues must be seen to be their issues and not co-opted by Clinton and his supporters.

The Contract with America resonated with the Populace in 1954. It carried the Party to Victory despite the Polls. The Republicans must clearly state what they are for, highlight their differences with the Democratic Party, show tolerance for all people and have the will to win!

They can not rest upon their laurels or the possibility of an impeachment of this President to win in the year 2000. They have to take the campaign to the people and win their hearts and minds, organize to get their supporters to the polls in record numbers and find a candidate that appeals to the voters. A tired "Bob Dole" was the Party's candidate in 1996 because he "deserved the nomination" but he failed to energize not only his campaign. For the year 2000, the Party needs fresh blood, and probably a name not associated with any of the old party leaders.

The Party will only win if its nominee has no baggage based upon family ties, and its message is clearly stated and repeated over and over and over!

But then . . 'Tis Only My Opinion!

Fred Richards
November 1998

This issue of 'Tis Only My Opinion was copyrighted by Adrich Corporation in November 1998.

All rights reserved. Quotation with attribution is encouraged.

Tis Only My Opinion is intended to provoke thinking, then dialogue among our readers.


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