In Sunday’s Wapo Virginia GOP state Senator Ryan McDougle says the GOP has “not articulated a concise message about why people should vote for us as a party.”
I can only assume that Senator McDougle has been reading back posts of Renaissance Ruminations. Consider these Bwana penned gems:
From RR, June 12, 2007:
As many of you know, I have suggested for several months that the GOP needs to be able to create and articulate a unified vision of what the party stands for and where it wants to lead us, especially in Virginia. My cry has been typically answered with a deafen silence.
On March 6, 2007, commenting on the General Assembly:
The question I will offer is simply this…will the GOP learn from the example of the vanished Democratic Majority? Will they find a message and a vision that resonates with the citizens of Virginia, and eschew the quick fix…and in doing so guide the state for years to come?
On December 4, 2006, posting on The Cooch’s adamant statement of “No New Taxes”
…I think that a party without a vision of where it wants to go will not be able to articulate what it believes. Without that vision, without that constant star, there is a risk of losing voters over single issues. Consider Ronald Reagan, or Franklin Roosevelt, or Margaret Thatcher, or Churchill, or King, or any great leader. They had a vision of where they were going and how they intended getting there. When people differed with them on an issue the vision served as a safety net that reminded them”we disagree on this matter, but we agree on where we are going”. The vision defines the effort, the vision defines the cause, and the vision keeps support even when there is disagreement on single issues.
Later in that same piece:
Being ideologically pure and politically smart do not have to be mutually independent. But by offering issues without vision, by using fancy campaign tactics without offering substance, by offering a banquet of spicy themes without any meat and potatoes that stick to the ribs, the GOP will do something unique…They will stand for something AND fall for anything…and that is no way to win elections.
…and so on and so forth on back for a couple of years…going back as far as November 15, 2005:
The real key to winning elections is parties that stand for something. The key lies with candidates who promise not just to lead but offer real and achievable ideas that will better the lives of all the citizens that candidate wants to represent and workable plans to make those ideas reality. The key lies with candidates who excite and motivate the party base to work and persuade the undecided voters to believe.
It is gratifying to see the party leadership is finally picking up on my not-so-subtle hints…the question is-what does the party intend to do about it?
The same WaPo article says:
…Conceding they have been outmaneuvered by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and the Democrats, GOP elected officials and activists say the party must recast its message and find strong leaders to deliver it, especially in fast-growing and diverse Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
So now that the leadership is getting on board, let me offer some very general suggestions:
1. Get out the sharp pencils and pads and write down what the Virginia GOP thinks government should be doing and why. Don’t make any assumptions about things just because it already exists. Start from zero, make no assumptions, and list and define what the party thinks Virginia needs and how to deliver it. This is a time to reinvent government.
2. Get out the calculators and spreadsheets and calculate how much it will take to make this happen
3. Estimate revenues for each of the next ten budget cycles.
4. Come back with a legislative plan saying this is where we want to go, and how much it will cost and how long it will take to get there.
5. Having come to the state with a plan and the cost, explain why this plan is best for the state, that it meets the needs of Virginia’s families and safeguards its economic future.
This is what families across the commonwealth have to do to plan, budget survive and-hopefully-prosper. If it works for our citizenry as individuals, it should be really good starting point for the state as a whole.
All the great legislative triumphs in history have been based in a willingness to look beyond business as usual and had the courage plant a flag in the ground and say “Here we stand, and this is what we stand for.”
It can work in Virginia-shoot, it can even work for the Democrats, who have been willing to sit for years waiting for power to fall into their laps. Virginia wants leadership, we need leadership, and neither party has offered it.
The choice and the chance are there, just waiting to be seized. Who’s going to cowboy up and make it happen?