The Republican Party was founded in 1854. Both of my grandfathers, who were alive in the 1850’s, became members of that newly founded American political party. Both were against slavery. Really, a bit remarkable for two Maryland Eastern Shoremen.
Today, it is significantly difficult to recognize the political party founded over 150 years ago.
Originally, the GOP was founded to end the oppressive institution of slavery and champion the cause of individual rights. Today, it appears the party of Lincoln has wandered away from its roots and philosophy of human rights.
The current crop of candidates in the Republican Party is, indeed, a diverse group. Some are experienced in statecraft; some are not. Some are well financed. Some are not. Some are libertarian. Some are not. Opinions and positions come from a wide range of viewpoints. Some are specific.
Some are not.
Demographics have and continue to shift rapidly in this country. The recent election of Paul Ryan, as House speaker signals a generation change in Washington. Consider that he is now second in line to the presidency. His main task, especially with the Republican Party, may be akin to herding cats. Not the stable and reliable GOP caucuses of the past.
When the highlights of the Republican debate focus on fantasy football or explaining their most significant weaknesses, it makes one wonder if you really see the Republican Party you previously knew. A great brain surgeon does not necessarily make a great president. Rookie senators, as we have learned from the current president, may not be seasoned enough to become the president of the United States.
Are the Republicans on the brink? Will the majorities in both houses of Congress be maintained in 2016? Will a Republican presidential candidate emerge who is capable of winning the White House? In politics, one runs to win and wins to govern. It is not possible to have one without the other. The central and critical question for all Republican candidates is: “Can I win the White House?”
In order to win the White House, the Republican Party must stay a center-right course, offer vastly new domestic solutions, and articulate a rational, realistic, coordinated foreign policy.
It must be a political party of realism and practicality. A political party of vision and ideals. It must be the party that believes as Lincoln did, that “the government should for the people only what they cannot do better by themselves.” A party that believes a good government is based on the individual and each person’s ability, dignity, freedom, and responsibility must be honored and recognized. A political party which believes in equal justice and equal opportunity for all. A party that understands the United States’ needs and advocates peace through strength. And, which provides for the common defense, while protecting our vital national interests throughout the world. Not the world’s policeman, but the world’s protector of freedom.
These tenets and beliefs are the Republican Party I understand. The Republican Party of Mac Mathias, Rogers Morton, Dwight Eisenhower, Jacob Javits, Bob Dole, and Jack Kemp. A Republican Party that represents my beliefs and a Party one can stand firmly behind.