Three resolutions for conservatives in 2011
2010 was a banner year for conservatives. Beginning with the election of Scott Brown in January, we then saw major Republican primary victories in the summer, dozens more conservatives elected to the US House and several more to the Senate. Add to that a record number of victories in state houses all across the country.
It’s a hard record to top. The danger of moments like these is that it is easy to rest and lose sight of what to do next. In short, conservatives need to stay focused.
With that in mind, here are three resolutions for conservatives in 2011.
First, conservatives must work to hold elected officials accountable.
Truth be known, many in the GOP’s leadership are worried about the newfound energy in the conservative movement because they have no control over it, and they instinctively know that many of the people generating that energy have no love lost for those who are currently running the show. Self preservation is an instinct that runs deep.
They’re worried that we seem “too angry”. But those who spend most of their lives in the Beltway don’t have a palpable sense of the frustration out in flyover country. And in many ways, they don’t even understand it. No matter.
What’s important is that the frustration is real and that the people it represents now have a better understanding of how to take political matters into their own hands. They have better access to the tools that can connect them with one another, to organize and become more effective – which is exactly why the elites are so concerned.
The natives are restless.
Conservatives are looking for elected officials to either lead, follow or get out of the way. In situations like this, most people in their situation would see the writing on the wall and get out front and lead. Some have, and some will. Others will be (or have been) run over.
Second, conservatives must continue to work together.
2010 was a lesson in what can happen when conservatives work together and support good candidates. It generates an excitement that becomes contagious and encourages others to come off of the sidelines and join in.
The level of cooperation among conservatives all across the country, and their ability to use technology to leverage their activity was truly amazing. But cooperation is the key. It’s a big country out there, with a big government and a multitude of issues that we could be sidetracked by. We need to focus on issues that unite us all – whether social, fiscal or security related.
Just as liberals won generations of votes by winning battles over Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, conservatives must focus on big picture battles that result in still more victories because they tilt the future playing field more in our favor.
We have a long way to go and many more elections to win before conservatives can enjoy the kind of majority liberals just squandered. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize.
Third, conservatives must truly take over the Republican Party.
Ronald Reagan used to say that “personnel is policy”, and it’s no different when it comes to the people who comprise the GOP’s party structure, or those who run and get elected to public office under the Republican banner.
Conservatives must organize and run for party offices and delegate spots from the precinct level on up, and support other conservatives who do the same. If you don’t know how, contact someone who does. Find out when and where your local party meets and make a commitment to show up and get involved. Knowledge is easy, it’s motivation that’s important.
We must help true conservatives win the party’s nomination for offices anywhere we can. And don’t forget about the school boards, city and county councils and state legislative seats. These are the races where organized effort can have the greatest impact on the results, especially in primaries. And local officials are usually tomorrow’s state senators, governors and members of congress. Remember, Obama was just a state senator in Illinois as recently as 2004.
The experience that conservatives have gained in the past year can pay big dividends. The connections that have been made and the techniques learned have helped overcome the fear and uncertainty most people have for speaking out and getting involved in the political process.
2010 was great practice. But there is much more to be done.
Let’s get busy.
(cross posted at DrewMcKissick.com)