Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stay True, Republicans

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stay True, Republicans

Article excerpt

The future of the Republican Party is much in the news. Should the GOP (a) become more supportive of "open and avowed" homosexuals and homosexual "marriage," and/or (b) appeal more thoughtfully and articulately to racial minorities, and/or (c) place social issues in some near-invisible tier of irrelevance and focus, instead, on economic growth?

These are but three of the options under discussion by a gleeful commentariat and furrow-browed Republican "strategists" (a Republican "strategist" often is someone who had a good idea in about 1985 and has lived off it without doing anything noteworthy since).

Demographics, ideological shifts, public perceptions, how much money is raised and how much is spent, and the like are all important questions. But the most salient question should be: Why does a political party exist in the first place?

The Republican Party was founded on three principles: Free men (the abolition of slavery), free soil (the opening of the vast western regions to homesteaders who could own the property they farmed) and free labor (work as a dignified enterprise engaged upon by individuals bringing their own merit to the marketplace). Those convictions clashed with the then-Democratic Party, whose allegiance to slavery, anarchic state sovereignty and social class as a means of rigid civic differentiation could not have been more distinct.

A political party exists as a means of developing and enacting policies commensurate with the shared principles of a group of people. While it is not a denomination whose membership demands include exhaustive catechism about the obscure or debatable (how much of Bangladesh's debt should the World Bank forgive?), it should be about fixed and essential beliefs concerning human dignity, liberty, economic opportunity and mutual security.

Unanimity in politics is neither possible nor desirable; agreement on every point only means the absence of intellectual creativity and the imposition of "group think." However, a shared world view and common convictions form the core of any political entity.

The issue for the Republican Party is less about marketing (how can we appeal to second-generation Latinos in the border states? …

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