Now, how does this thing work?

Flaws in GOP compounded by broad disregard for basic civics

The Republican Party has a lot of problems, as its own amazingly candid post-election assessment concluded this past week.

Its nearly 100-page self-vivisection paints the Grand Old Party as too white, too stuffy, too out-of-touch.

The party, it admits, also needs to shorten its debate process, be more selective with debate moderators and move its nominating convention up from August.

We do hope the party fixes itself; the country depends on a healthy two-party electoral system, and right now the GOP is in a bad way. In particular, being perceived as too white – when the majority of Americans will be nonwhite by 2050 – is a roadmap to irrelevance.

One thing the report didn’t say, but we will: We appreciate them as individuals, but the Republicans have chosen a couple of the least charismatic leaders they possibly could have, in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner. They don’t stand a chance in a charm contest with Barack Obama – and, like it or not, that matters today.

In the party’s defense, we have to say that when a promising conservative woman or minority emerges on the national stage, the “mainstream” media form a firing squad. They’d be rock stars in the Democratic Party, but the media just can’t tolerate a rising star in the Republican Party that is female or minority.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer even suggested that presumptive 2016 GOP presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio – a telegenic conservative Hispanic – committed a career-ending error by taking a drink of water during his official response to the president’s State of the Union address this year.

Wow.

The party also is fighting an endemic belief in some circles that if you’re a person of color and conservative, you’re an Uncle Tom sellout. As if all members of a race or ethnic group must think the same. What a crime, to put ideological shackles on someone like that.

Nor can Republicans rest on the laurels of their traditional American values of small government, individual liberty, the rule of law, self-reliance and morality.

In some cases, they’ve simply lost the war. More and more Republicans are realizing that their loyalty to the nation’s immigration law has been drowned out by the numbers of illegal immigrants and a Democratic Party and news media that celebrate illegal immigration. It’s over. The law lost.

Even the crowd favorite of the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, Sen. Rand Paul, announced this week that he’s in favor of a path to citizenship for illegals.

In addition, many Americans increasingly don’t connect with the principles that founded this nation and made it great.

We used to be able to take Americans’ understanding of liberty for granted. It used to be fairly assumed that Americans prefer independence and self-reliance to servitude, and calculated risk to strings-attached promises of government security. Not so today.

We suspect the problem lies chiefly in a lack of civics education – and a culture that unashamedly asks what our country can do for us.

Kids today also have lived their entire lives out of the shadows of communist threats, having been born since the end of the Cold War. Communism or socialism? Those are just lifestyle choices today, which many look to admiringly when the capitalistic system proves imperfect.

This is not a Republican Party problem; it’s a crisis of American self-governance.

Nor is it a largely cosmetic problem, as many of the above concerns are. Rather, it’s a fundamental failure of this country to properly pass along its proud heritage. Since the 1960s, especially, the media and, to a large extent, academia, have focused on America’s many verifiable warts and given our virtues and founding principles short shrift.

The result is an appreciation for freedom, but without a
corresponding awareness of the conditions necessary for it.

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Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon