While on the ground in Mississippi for the special election this past May 13th I was able to hear the voices of the people who were up in arms over the behavior of the Republican Party. They were furious. They kept saying that the Grand Old Party had lost its way. Mind you, these were Republican voters. The independents and moderates were even more furious with the GOP.
It appears the Republican brand has become tarnished and stained by the policies and actions of the last several years. Certainly, scandals like the ones involving Mark Foley, Larry Craig and Jack Abramoff come to mind. However, something much deeper than scandals, which have plagued both parties to be honest, has cost the GOP its good name.
Like a wandering nomad searching for a home, the GOP has apparently lost touch with its very soul. How did this all come about?
Let’s think back to the first two years of Bill Clinton’s presidential term. During the 1993-1994 legislative calendar years, Clinton attempted to advance some of the most hideous policy initiatives. From a tax hike on every unit of energy we use, known as British Thermal Units (BTU’s), to the socialized medicine plan that came to be known as Hillary-Care, Bill Clinton kept striking out even with a Democrat majority in Congress.
In 1994, the American public was so outraged by Clinton’s liberal activism -- this after pledging to be a new Democrat --they voted to oust the Democrat majority in Congress and replace it with a Republican majority.
Enter Dick Morris. After taking a beating in the 1994 Congressional elections, Bill Clinton reached out to his former advisor and asked him to save his presidency. Morris employed a strategy known as Triangulation to save Bill and it worked.
Triangulation is a strategy where a political candidate adopts positions his or her opponent normally takes, in order to steal the positions and the subsequent voters along with the positions.
Employing Morris’ triangulation tactics, Bill Clinton soon began talking about getting tough on crime, a traditionally Republican issue, as well as family values by advancing such ideas as the v-chip TV technology so parents could have greater control in stopping their children from watching offensive material.
By taking Republican policies away from the GOP, the Republicans had less of a platform to run on and Bill Clinton was easily reelected in 1996. In fact, the GOP lost some seats in Congress that year.
Triangulation worked well for the Democrats but what about the Republicans?