In spite of a public announcement of sorts about changes and “diversity” in its editorial pages, OC’s largest daily newspaper’s opinion pages have a Brokeback Mountain relationship with the GOP; they just can’t quit you Republicans which is why Sunday’s editorials featured not one but two editorials offering advice for the GOP on how the Republicans can matter in California again.
Republican voter registration continues to decline and people — those who vote — continue to embrace policies and legislation offered by the Democratic Party, leaving Republicans with small pockets of influence in places like Orange County. While one can admire Republicans ability to be effective in campaigning, when it comes to actual governing, it’s more like the basketball “excellence” displayed by USC.
But both editorials share a common desire by the Register to help Republicans come back with a message that they think will reasonate with voters provided the right buzzwords are used. Republicans need to be the pro-freedom party (as if Democrats are somehow the anti-freedom party). Somehow I think the Register’s definition of freedom is very different from that of most Californians.
See for yourself with this editorial about how Republican need a more human touch (which tells me Democrats own this message already) and this one about how the GOP should embrace Libertarianism, a view that only attracts less than one in 10 voters in California. What this approach doesn’t do is change the Republican position of “me” over “we.”
From the first editorial:
We have made little secret of the fact that we find the general trend of liberalism lacking on domestic issues – substituting wealth transfers for economic growth and measuring compassion by the expansion of government. Yet we’re equally frustrated by the seeming inability of Republicans to apply the principles of freedom to the concerns of everyday Americans.
Average voters care most about those areas where government frequently intersects with their daily lives – the safety of their neighborhoods, the cost of health care, the quality of their children’s schools or their ability to find a job. Yet what was the GOP discussing during the most memorable moments of last year’s campaign? The “self-deportation” of immigrants, the relationship between rape and pregnancy, and the parasitical nature of citizens too poor to pay income taxes. Failing to meet voters’ concerns is bad enough. Displaying active contempt for them is even worse.
Our recommendation for Republicans: Go back to basics. Focus on how school choice can empower the poor and minorities. Make the case that consumer-driven health care outperforms state-directed medicine. Fight against regulations that drive up housing costs and unemployment. Champion increased energy production to drive down prices at the pump. In short, focus on tangible methods of improving the lives of the voters you hope to cultivate.
There already is school choice. If your public schools aren’t where you want your kid to go, there are private schools and there is even home schooling. The problem with voucher programs is private schools can expel students and are not required to return taxpayer-based vouchers to public schools which have to accept eligible students. I want my tax dollars going towards making our public schools the best they can be. The Register is saying “we want students to use taxpayer funds to pay for private schools.” Consumer-driven healthcare outperforms state-directed medicine seems to forget health is not a commodity; do you really want to trust life and death decisions about your health to companies who will ascertain that decision based on a profit motive? Give me that disinterested government official who approves decisions made between me and my doctor over procedures covered by my health insurance. Regulations that “drive up housing costs” also protect against unethical lending practices and redlining or place environmental protections ahead of practices that pollute the environment or result in products that include unsafe materials or quality assurance issues. Champion increased energy production to drive down prices at the pump disregards clean and renewable energy resources that can break our dependency on foreign oil and result in a cleaner environment along with high paying jobs that stay here. The Register is choosing “Enron” and “Drill, baby drill” for energy policy to pay less in gasoline without regard to alternative energy sources or even better public transit.
And this from the second editorial:
“…the Republicans must hold the line on economic issues by rejecting bailouts, subsidies, crony capitalism and corporate welfare, but must also change their tone on immigration reform and personal-freedom issues like gay marriage and marijuana legalization.
Even so, there is ample justification for Republicans to embrace principled stances on these issues within party doctrine. In fact, modifications on such positions only strengthen the GOP narrative that it is the party of liberty. A party that prides itself on promoting individual freedom and personal responsibility doesn’t need to employ government to define marriage or deny personal consumption.
On principle, Republicans ought to focus on being advocates for liberty – both economic and social – and common-sense policy reform, over policing against moral turpitude.”
Again, the Register’s position emphasizes the “me” over the “we” in society. I’d really like the Register to define what liberty and freedom is exactly. Are we less free today? Do we have less liberty today? The last time I checked, the Bill of Rights hasn’t been changed or undermined. Republicans and conseratives still lead the charge in denying equal rights and protections for all citizens.
This narrative that Democrats are wrong and liberalism is flawed took a nosedive in the last election as Democrats took more power statewide and more Democrats were elected to school boards and city councils in OC. Perhaps its because voters realize its the community that’s important to individual liberty and freedom than just being in it for yourself. Sure, you can carry a heavy box all by yourself. But isn’t it easier and faster if someone helps you and then you help them carry their box?