Third, the public education system appears to work against Republicans, often teaching ideas antithetical to Republican values (hard work, self-sufficiency, accountability) and keeping poor children locked in failed schools that ensure most will live their lives dependent on entitlement programs instead of educating them so that they can become contributing members of society.
Fourth, Republicans seem always to be responding to the Democrat agenda, rather than forcing Democrats to respond to theirs. Democrats are compassionate to the plight of those less fortunate; Republicans care only for the wealthy, or so the stereotype goes. Republicans are hurt by the "compassion" argument every time. George W. Bush fell into the Democrats' trap when he claimed to be a "compassionate conservative." What could be more compassionate than teaching people how to live independent of government? Compassion isn't about giving people other people's money. Compassion is about teaching people how to earn their own money.
Bob Dole experienced combat. He didn't negotiate with the enemy to see if a compromise could be reached. That's what Neville Chamberlain did with Adolf Hitler with disastrous results. Dole and his fellow soldiers fought to win.
While Democrats are not the "enemy," many of their ideas are the enemy of prosperity, individual initiative, self-control, personal responsibility and entrepreneurial capitalism.
Instead of just talking about their ideas Republicans need to start showing people their ideas work. It will be a tough sell, especially when major media will likely oppose them at every turn.
I've said it before, but we need to start seeing more people who have overcome difficult circumstances by embracing Republican and conservative ideas and values. Inspiration has always been at the heart of American leadership. Bob Dole has inspired many veterans. It's long past time for his party to escape its ideological rut and try to inspire again.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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