Part B Elections: The Fight
Pope Francis has been pope for seven months. He has changed the perception of the papacy for many. He says the same sort of things that his immediate predecessors said, but he says them in a way that gains attention and gets people, who probably have paid little attention to the Church or the pope before, to listen and then talk about what he has said. There is less talk about the problems of the Church and much more about the Pope’s message contained in his words and in his actions. Certainly, there are those who will deliberately distort what he says to fit their own agenda or dupe others, some who will innocently misinterpret, but by-and-large the results of Pope Francis’ words and actions can only be said to be stunning. Rio was stunning.
The Republican Party needs a similar makeover. There are those in the Party who will say that the right-wingers are radicals and destroying the Party. There are those who will say that the only way to win is to go middle-of-road. There are those who say that the Party needs a whole new direction. Those are the ones who are advocating a revolt from principles and morals, they are not reformers. The Party needs reform, not a revolution.
Let’s go to 2015. How should a presidential campaign be conducted? To answer that, we must identify what strategies need changing and then decide how to change them. The following are the typical perceptions that are perpetrated by the media and successfully exploited in negative ad campaigns by the democratic opponents
Problem # 1: Republicans are old fashioned, out-of-touch with the modern world, wanting to return to the days of “Leave It to Beaver”.
Problem #2: Republicans do not care about women. They are anti-women. They are at war against women.
Problem #3: Republican establishment consists of rich, white males, who care nothing about the poor.
Problem #4: Republicans are seen as warmongers.
Problem #5: There is no diversity in the Republican Party. It is a good-old-boy society.
Problem #6: Anyone with basic moral principals will be labeled as a Tea-Partier, i.e. a radical. to whom any sane person will pay absolutely no heed.
Problem #8: Calling for fiscal responsibility always leads to the conclusion that it will be the poor who will suffer from such a call.
Problem #9: The question of who can marry whom.
I am sure there are other problems, but these are enough for us to see that change of perception, not of substance, is what is necessary. We know there are these misconceptions, but they are the perceived reality by enough which are successfully exploited by the Democrats. Therefore, we cannot conduct a campaign in a style that would have been successful in saner times.
Here’s what I think should be done.
In the primaries, Republican nominee hopefuls should unite in an agreement not to attack each other. Each should be encouraged to put forth their strong points and show differences without trying to destroy the other’s good name. This would be the beginning of a campaign of civility.
The nominee should not waste time trying to destroy the Democratic nominee. The Dems are much better at destruction because they don’t care about truth or integrity. What needs to be shown in the campaign, is the difference in the GOP and the Dems. This will be an effort, not in attacking, but in bringing forth clarity.
The GOP seems afraid to talk about the social issues, as if they are sure to be beaten in this arena. This is a huge mistake. It is the area where the GOP has the best arguments and the most ground to gain, especially in the pro-life debate. Paul Ryan did a good job of this in the vice-p debate last election. He argued both faith and science. The Dem nominee will probably be pro-abortion through the ninth month and maybe pro-infanticide. How easy it would be to show in short commercial time that the position of the left is the radical position, while the position of the right is reasonable, based on good science and compassionate. Pictures of babies in the womb; the very nomenclature used to talk about a pregnant woman: with child, expectant mother, a mother and her unborn child; scenes from neonatal units in hospitals; basic information such as when the baby’s heartbeat starts; evidence that the baby learns while in the womb and recognizes voices and other sounds after birth that he experienced while in the womb. There are so many great things to show that the position of pro-lifers is not extreme, it is not insensitive to women – it is holistic, showing care for both mother and child. There could be ads with the candidate visiting a pro-life clinic that show the care and concern for both mother and child of pro-lifers. There could be a family which has children who have obviously been adopted. This could be contrasted with testimony from ones who regret their abortions. There would be no direct attack on the Dem candidate – but the message would be clear. It would also take away the thunder that the negative attacks by the Democrats would hope to gain. There could be a direct attack on Planned Parenthood exposing its reality and its support of pro-abortion candidates who continue to vote for funding their activities with taxpayer money. Every ad would conclude with “I am Candidate X, and I approve this message because I am pro-woman, pro-child, pro-family. I am proudly pro-life.
Care for the aged and disabled would follow upon this. Again, it must be shown that every human life is valuable and not disposable. There are so many of my generation now taking care of aged parents, that I think this is an issue where much needs to be done and there is much to gain in making it an issue of the campaign. What exists now with Home Health Care and Hospice should be looked at to see what needs improving or changing. I think if Candidate X would meet with a variety of people who are caregivers to find out what is working and what is lacking, and come up with policies based on what was revealed, that would be a smart move. With the elderly Medicare and Medicaid come into play – this is sort of dealt with below.
Continuing with the social issues, marriage would be next. This is more difficult, not because it is any less obvious what the truth is, but because the opposite view is very hard to deal with because of its very nature. The emphasis would again be on what is natural. Scenes of young husbands and wives with a newborn, of old couples walking hand-in-hand, could be used as a backdrop to the message of: As nature intends. Beyond this just some of the problems that arise when marriage is redefined: adoption problems, sex education in public schools where every deviant behavior has to be discussed as if it is normal, confusion in young people who need moral clarity to mature, further breakdown in the family. Strong, intact families have to be shown to be vital to a healthy society. More thought beyond what I could contribute here would need to go into this. But there would have to be some way to show the goodness of true marriage, the unnaturalness of what’s being touted as marriage and then compassion for those who have unnatural attractions, while in no way condoning their actions. The argument that it is a civil rights issue could be shown to be untrue. There could be scenes of Mother Teresa’s nuns ministering to aids patients; someone talking about Courage; some sort of scenes which show the nobility of sacrificing pleasure for a higher good.
Following upon this, a clear plan of how to help families would be appropriate. This could include incentives for businesses to accommodate mothers in the workforce in ways that enable them to have more time as mothers; incentives to businesses to give fathers more time at home; a platform to consider reducing commuter times in metropolitan areas for the sake of families. These would be areas where tax dollars would be well spent and the economy in many ways improved, and, therefore, at least in part, help to pay for the plan. It would also be a way of showing the “Leave It to Beaver/Ozzie and Harriet” argument is false, and be another argument against the anti-woman contention. Beyond this, a look at what can be done to strengthen family life could be considered. I’m not sure what government can do, but changes in the our education system might help, and that is what we consider next:
Innovative educational plans – grade school and high school. This might seem like a losing proposition since there is so much money invested in public schools and so many involved in them. But the proposed amendment to the Colorado constitution in the most recent election which would have poured much more money into the public schools was overwhelmingly defeated despite being supported with huge amounts of money and many television advertisements and by every newspaper and school official. It would not be hard to show with statistics that the public school system is broken. It would not be hard to show that in so many ways American values are being undermined by the educational establishment. There could be a plan of wide-ranging alternatives in education. A voucher system would be introduced. Parents could use their vouchers to send their children to the public schools they now attend, charter public schools, private and parochial schools, or to homeschool their children, all of which would lead to smaller schools and smaller class sizes. There would be more opportunities for employment in the field of education, encouraging more students to go into the field. With more smaller schools, opportunities in sports, the fine arts and other activities would increase since the competition for the spots would be reduced. It would also ensure accountability by schools to achieve since underachieving schools would have difficulty keeping students. At the same time it would be necessary to ensure that children with special needs would still have schools where their needs would be met. Children being homeschooled would be allowed to participate in the extra-curricular activities of nearby schools. Douglas County in Colorado has been a leader in education reform. The four school board positions up for election Nov 5, all went to those who favor vouchers and pay for performance. The principle of subsidiarity in education should be followed. The Dems would be quickly seen as the real “good old boy” types, trying to maintain their power by keeping control of education and the maintaining the status quo.
Probably something needs to be done about college costs. I don’t know what that would be. One would think that the free market would eventually lead to college costs being reduced, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. Why is college so much more expensive now compared to when I went to college?
The down-sizing of the federal government would follow upon this. Those matters more effectively and efficiently handled by state, county or local government should be taken out of the hands of the federal government. The government shutdown and the “healthcare” debacle have shown how enormous and inefficient big government has become. Again, this would show a progressive and proactive approach to problems. The Dems would once again be seen as the true “good old boy” types.
The question of the GOP’s care for the poor involves questions about Medicaid and Medicare and other healthcare matters. It involves welfare and social security. It involves immigration. I am not going to cover these, but reasonable, sustainable plans have to be prepared or adopted by the nominee. Part of the plan for the poor should include business friendly policies that will improve the economy and increase chances for opportunity. Many of the ideas already put forth in other sections would ultimately help the poor as well. The argument that an entitlement society keeps the poor in poverty needs to be made clearly and compassionately. I also think that a percentage of the money raised for the presidential candidate should be spent in helping the poor. I think that the convention should be shortened (it was shortened in 2012 by the hurricane) and the money saved spent on the poor. These would be good things in themselves and go a long way to showing that the GOP is concerned about the poor. I would suggest that a number of the poorest neighborhoods across America be identified and the money used to improve areas within them with volunteers doing the work side by side with the residents and the presidential and congressional candidates pitching in. Perhaps the Dems could be encouraged to do the same thing – and members of both parties could work together to help the selected neighborhoods. It would be money and time better spent than the time and energy spent on television ads that run month after month.
I don’t know what approach to take with the military, but I would think there would be more than enough retired military to say what needs to be said.
Finally, principles that the United States was founded upon and are still promoted by the GOP such as Religious Liberty, should be shown to be ageless principles that are not anti-progress, but the very foundations of stability that make progress possible because they keep America strong. Those who are called “Tea Partiers” are simply those who support these ageless principles. They need to be shown to be true patriots rather than the radicals they are made out to be by the left.
One last finally! I really do think that the question of contraception should also be brought out. Here, some would argue that this is political suicide. But I do not think it would be if it were approached right. The question to consider is this: Do we as a society really believe that promoting contraceptives to teenage girls is a sign that we are a healthy, wholesome society, or does it show that there is a great problem that needs addressing with something other than pills and patches and devices? Furthermore, do we really think that promoting various methods of birth control which encourages premarital sex, cohabitation, the exploitation of women, and increases disease is beneficial to our society? Carefully chosen scientific evidence that can’t be disputed should be offered to show the harm that contraceptive use has brought upon our society. The goal would not be to prohibit contraception – that is too much to hope for now – but the goal would be to show that the indiscriminant promotion and use of contraceptives is harmful. NFP should be shown to be an effective alternative for married couples. The risks and dangers of contraceptive use should be clearly taught.
OK, that’s how I would conduct the fight.
Jezu, ufam Tobie.