Memo to GOP: Moderation can go a long way
by Kevin Foley
Columnist
November 09, 2012 12:00 AM | 1240 views | 15 15 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Republicans went all in with far right extremism on Tuesday. They pushed chips like Paul Ryan, Richard Mourdock, and Todd Akin to the center of the table, then smugly sat back believing they held a winner.

This is what overplaying your hand looks like.

When you put women’s reproductive rights and anti-immigration hysteria on the ballot; when you structure your campaign on dishonesty and dissembling; when you call half the electorate parasites; when you try to enact radical ideologies, you’re bound to lose in America.

Now I find myself agreeing with George W. Bush, who famously claimed a mandate in 2004.

“I earned political capital … and now I intend to spend it,” Bush declared. “When you win, there is ... a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view. And that’s what I intend to tell Congress … now let’s work.”

Using Bush’s measuring stick, President Obama earned at least twice the political capital and twice the mandate of his predecessor, having captured 94 more Electoral College votes and nearly 3 million more popular votes than Mitt Romney (Florida voting was incomplete at this writing).

By comparison, Bush won re-election by just 15 electoral votes and 1 million fewer popular votes than Obama.

But I don’t expect Obama to be as insufferably arrogant or as condescendingly dismissive of the opposition as Bush was. I expect the president will be far more magnanimous in reaching out to Republicans.

“Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president,” Obama told them Tuesday night.

The president will take his victory back to Washington, present the results to the GOP House and Senate leaders who did everything they could to make him a one-termer, and say to them, let’s work.

A fiscal cliff is looming just ahead and it will take bipartisanship to avoid going over the edge. Cooperation is also required to get the nation back to full employment. Democrats and Republicans must sit down together to get the people’s business done.

That’s the unambiguous message a majority of Americans sent to their political leaders.

Meantime, some soul searching is in order for Republicans. They’d do well to invite moderation back to their party and find the common ground they refused to look for in Obama’s first term.

If Mitt Romney had run as what he really is, a moderate Republican, he would likely be the president-elect today. Instead, he was forced into the role of “severe conservative” and, frankly, he never looked comfortable pandering to the wild-eyed tea party fringe.

So the GOP needs to tell the likes of Rick Santorum, Allen West, Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry to get lost. It was their brand of intolerant extremism that cost Republicans the White House along with two seats in the Senate and two seats in the House.

Failure to compromise will undoubtedly result in further negative consequences for Republicans in the 2014 midterms. Conservatives best accept Barack Obama as their duly elected, American-born president and Obamacare as the law of the land.

It would also be smart for Republicans to stop trying to buy elections for billionaires, disavow the big money self-interests of the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelstein, and work with Democrats to overturn the un-democratic Citizens United decision.

Finally, the GOP should avoid future attempts at social engineering, racial profiling, and voter suppression if they hope to ever govern America again.

As the old song goes, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em … know when to fold ‘em.”

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.
Comments
(15)
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Gary Burley
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November 12, 2012
Good for you Kevin. And to think - some Teabaggers think the reason they lost is because they weren't 'Conservative' enough!
New kid
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November 11, 2012
Folks, it looks like Obama is “taking the lead” before the shock of his re-election abates.

Obama has already notified the UN that he wants the UN Arms Ban Treaty on his desk ASAP so he can sign it. He is now has more flexibility to humble and endanger the USA.

A couple of days ago Harry Reid saidat a press conf that he will “change the rules in the Senate for the next session”. (Meaning, I think, that all the Senate will need to conduct business is a majority (51) vote).

If Reid is successful, ( and there is no reason to be assured that he won’t be), all the Senate will need to ratify the Arms Treaty is 51 votes.

Also, word has it that the administration is planning to increase the cost of gasoline, electricity and ammo.

Dem.Sen. Feinstein is composing a “Assault Weapons” Ban for immediate introduction in the Senate.

It appears more and more that slightly more than 50% of the voters in the USA are truly mindless sheep.

And about 99% of the media are hell-bent on helping Obama no matter what. This Foley character would be funny if her weren't so irrelevent.
Kevin Foley
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November 13, 2012
@ New kid (whoever you are) - Unlike you "this Foley character" puts his name on his words and takes responsibility for them. You, on the other hand, are just an irrelevant graffitist who obviously has his mind made up for him by the far right noise machine. "Raise prices on gasoline and ammo"? Let's see the substantiation for that statement. Oh, Ted Nugent told you that? Then it MUST be true. Jeez.
my name is Joshua
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November 09, 2012
I am tired of seeing political analysts say how Republicans need to moderate in order to win elections. Conservatives know that giving up on social issues is not in the game plan. We are trying to align our lives, our representatives and our law with God's will, not trying to pander to voters to win elections. The Republicans have actually gone too far to the left to really represent a conservative voter. I don't care if the Republicans ever win the White House again, as long as they most closely represent the values I consider worth standing for, I'll keep voting for them. When they make moves to take religion, standards and morality out of the equation, then the salt has indeed lost its savor, and is ready to be cast under foot.
Steve Rhineharrt
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November 09, 2012
Mr. Foley, would tou care to state your qualifications to make any of the statemenrs you have made, other than the fact that Romney lost the election. It all appears to be baised conjecture and supposition.

I do not think you are a political analyst with any credentials,. Perhaps I am wrong. If so, please enlighten me.
Kevin Foley
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November 10, 2012
Mr. Rhineharrt - The MDJ editors like my passion and the quality of my writing and there aren't very many progressives in Cobb County willing to push back on conservatives. I've lived in most every part of the country, so I have a sense of how people think and act in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Montana, New England, and Cobb County. Because of my business, I spend a lot of time monitoring the media. I'm at least as qualified to comment as someone like, say, Laura Armstrong or D.A. King.

Now I invite you to show all of us specifically how my column is "baised" conjecture and supposition. Or do you simply disagree with me?

Steve Rhinehart
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November 14, 2012
Mr. Foley, Do not think I am dodging responding to your sarcastic worded challenge.

I have been busy closing my company, trying to help my key employees get relocated and restructuring my finances. At 80 years old, I have no desire to dwindle it all away paying taxes to a government that appears hell bent on turning this country into a socailist nation.

Look for a detailed reponse next week. I will endeavior to be more civilized than you normally are in responding to your critics. Case in point you crude and vulgar response to "New Kid".
Maatf
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November 09, 2012
Well done. And I hope not hopeless. I know a few Republican women who didn't vote Republican because of how Republicans treated issues that affect women. I know a few more who are disgusted but still voted the party but as on the edge.

Republicans need to give it up on the social issues and go back to the party that offers some hope to the middle class and those who who are hurting right now. And we need something besides the failed "cut taxes to create jobs" mantra that they sing ad naseum. If cutting taxes creates job, where are they?????
CobbCoGuy
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November 09, 2012
I get what you’re saying, Mr. Foley, and I don't disagree. However, I’d like to address what I see as your two main points.

Obama’s Mandate.

You wrote, “Using Bush’s measuring stick, President Obama earned at least twice the political capital and twice the mandate of his predecessor...”, and you go on to present data to support your statement, although I’m not completely getting the comparisons you show.

How about we look at the data in terms of REELECTION? Per the U.S. Election Atlas, the popular vote for Obama went from 69.5M in 2008 to 59.6M in 2012 – a LOSS of almost 10M votes. Electoral votes dropped from 365 to 332.

By comparison, the popular vote for Bush INCREASED from 50.5M in 2000 to 62.0M in 2004, and electoral votes increased slightly from 271 to 286. The popular vote INCREASED by almost 12M. Further, this increase is amplified since the population base was smaller during Bush’s time.

Incumbents are reelected because folks think they did a good job. Yes, Obama won the election and Republicans must deal with it, regroup and reassess. However, Obama lost the support of 10M voters.

Obama does not have a mandate.

Next, moderation.

Republicans must cast a wider net to take in other interest groups – women, gays, blacks, hispanics, atheists, et al. In other words, a move toward moderation is in order. Am I understanding you correctly?

I don’t disagree, but there’s a rub, and to illustrate the rub, I’ll focus on the black population.

There are blacks on the Republican side, right? Yet, when said blacks make it known that they support Republican causes, they are mercilessly eviscerated by the Left. Consider the treatment endured by the likes of Herman Cain, Artur Davis, Condi Rice and Stacey Dash. How do Republicans get past this?

Better yet, what will it take for Democrats to become more accepting of those who disagree with them?

Am I wrong?
Kevin Foley
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November 10, 2012
@ Cobb County Guy - Your wrong about the mandate because Bush claimed one with poorer re-election numbers. But that's not my point. Obama isn't Bush (thank God). He would never thump his chest the way "Decider" did and rub the GOP's nose in his victory.

As far as casting a wider net is concerned, go back to the GOP primary clown show. With the exception of Huntsman, all far right extremists trying to out-extreme one another. Romney got sucked in and could never recover.

I don't understand people who would want to be part of the same crowd that tried to prevent African Americans from attaining their civil rights.

Barry M
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November 09, 2012
I am gonna get me a free phone, some eating and drinkin money and watch you folks fight it out. No need to look for work as long I get me some free stuff and can get by. Life is good
Devlin Adams
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November 09, 2012
To irrelevant voter, I share you hopes, but I fear that it will not be.

You see, the President no longer has to please anyone. He has found out how to circumvent the Constitutionally mandated safeguards inherent in the 3 branches of government. So he is gioing anhead with his socialistic agenda, either with Congressional approval or by Executive Order.

After all he has the ringing endorsement of the Communist Party, the open borders advocates, and that portion of the population that would rather vote themselves a living than work for it.

And, if he senses too much resistance, he can always turn Black again and scream "racism".

Come to think of it, I wonder if he has turned back "White" since the election is over.
Too funny
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November 09, 2012
Jon Huntsman just before bowing out of the race, "I will not be attending this year's convention, nor any Republican convention in the future until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States — a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits."

The GOP did the exact opposite.
Irrelevant Voter
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November 09, 2012
I hope the tone coming from Washington will be more gracious than the one found here.
Old timer
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November 10, 2012
And, I think democrats would be well to remember.... 4 tenths of one percent does not a mandate make....we all need to work together. Hopefully we can pass useful bills we have time to read...
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