Before the Republican Party even begins to think about curing what ails it, members have to recognize the fact that the party is Balkanized.
We are never going to win elections if we remain broken up into separate factions, sometimes barely speaking to one another. Bizarre as it seems, each group within this Balkanization of the GOP is united in the belief that Ronald Reagan is its standard bearer.
This, they tell us, is the man they want to follow. Ronald Reagan was not someone who found ways to disagree with you, but spent most of his life trying to find ways to agree with you.
He always sought to find a common ground -- to move the party and the country forward. A lot of Republicans quote his statement that we must not let the bad be the enemy of the good. But today's Republican Party is wedded to allowing the bad to be the enemy of the good.
As a result, we don't win elections. I may agree with you on taxation, for example. Or I may agree with you on immigration. If I disagree with you on abortion, however, I may just stay home on Election Day, or not vote for you; I might even vote for your opponent.
As a result, we end up electing the candidate who disagrees with us on taxation, a person who disagrees with us on immigration, and also disagrees with us on abortion and everything else. We excuse this exercise in irrationality by claiming we want to make a statement.
It's the same thing with immigration. I agree with you on abortion, I agree with you on taxation, I agree with you on the war in Iraq, but I disagree with you on immigration. So I'm going to stay home on Election Day and help our opponents -- who disagree with us on everything else -- win.
That sound you hear in the background is my dad rolling over in his grave.
This is Balkanization at its worst. The Republican Party is broken up into a lot of large pockets nursing our own prejudices and our own grudges, and unwilling to accept the other guy's opinion if he doesn't agree with us on every issue 100 percent of the time. So we break up into factions, allowing a single issue to divide us when we agree on everything else.
In your own family, among your spouse and your children, there is never perfect agreement on everything all the time, yet you all get along and present a united front when facing outsiders.
In the Republican Party, however, it seems we find reasons not to get along, and not to present a united front in the face of our opponents. Instead, we need to find reasons to get along and move this party forward regardless of our differences.
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