Bob Thomas: Independents: Please take over the GOP
My good colleague Guy Farmer’s column last Sunday, Nov. 11, covered a lot of thoughtful territory and reflects conventional wisdom. He, like so many other commentators, is convinced the Republicans lost the presidential election because they lean too far to the right. He especially blames the Tea Party.On the other hand, another colleague, Chuck Muth, in his Friday, Nov. 9, column, supports unconventional wisdom by putting forth an equally convincing position that the Republicans lost the presidency because they are too far to the left. Let’s face it, the Tea Party kept the election from being a rout. Now, there were 48,558 votes against Dean Heller and Shelley Berkley alone cast by Independent Americans and others, and 44,907 votes cast for “None of the above” in that same race. I think it’s safe to say if there were no Independent American or Libertarian Parties, those 48,558 votes would have gone to Heller and not to Berkley. Nobody can say that Berkley isn’t liberal enough, but those combined votes strongly suggest that Heller isn’t considered conservative enough. The Republican Party lost the presidential race because it was far too moderate. Truthfully, this goes back to several columns I’ve written over the past 30 years where I clearly saw that country club, socialite Republicans were on the way out. They resonated with few under 40. On the other hand, a new breed of neoconservative Republicans was what kept the party from being obliterated during the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s. But when these conservatives found their attempts to influence the party platform being blocked by the Old Guard, they began opting out in favor of becoming Libertarians, Independents and who knows what else — all more conservative than “moderate” Republicans. The Democratic Party pulled off a stunning coup when it managed to do exactly what the Republican Party failed to do with conservatives. How in the world did the Democrats manage to unite, at least for voting purposes, such an unlikely coalition as Jews, Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans, communists, socialists, union workers, Catholics and atheists? So-called moderate Republicans refused to swallow their pride and go along with the growing conservative trend, which could have won this election for them by a wide margin. The Republican Party is atrophied and ripe for takeover or extinction. For a long time now I’ve been admonishing you Libertarians and Independent Americans to cease being spoilers, running for offices you can’t possibly win just to deny Republican victories, and switch your strategy to what’s achievable. Successful politicians rarely lose sight of what’s achievable. If you can be patient and capable of making long-term game plans and sticking to them, you can take over and shape a conservative ideology for the Republican Party. But first you have to join. Then, within the party structure and while gradually educating moderate Republicans away from reaching across the aisle to compromise religious, philosophical and moral values, genuine conservatism can once again prevail. Let the liberal Republicans join the Democrats, while conservative Republicans recruit traditional Democrats who hate liberalism but have yet to vote Republican only because their daddies and granddaddies never did. Ever wonder why we never learn from history? Great governments of the past all failed when they watered down the core ideologies that made them great. Even the Roman Empire slowly died when successive leaders weren’t up to the job. Pax Romana helped neuter Rome when conquered peoples were allowed to become Roman citizens, gradually discovering that Rome would no longer control them because Rome no longer had the will.If we are to save the United States of America, live-and-let-live conservatism that provides opportunities for everyone, not by affirmative action but by rewarding the best and the brightest, must be reborn. I’m not proposing discriminating in any form. For God’s sake, as a society we’ve outgrown that stupidity. And I’m not suggesting we throw our environmental concerns to the winds. I’m talking about integrating the best of all scientific research with dynamic private enterprise, including health care, retirement and welfare reconstruction and with smaller, less oppressive government and far fewer regulations.• Bob Thomas is a retired high-tech industrialist who later served on the Carson City School Board, the state welfare board, the airport authority and as a state assemblyman. His website is worldclassentrepreneur.com.