The National Republican Congressional Campaign played a sorry game of defense in the 2008 elections. The net result in Florida was the lost of one House seat (Republicans lost two and gained one). Nationally, our net losses totaled 21.
If one side is playing only (or primarily) defense and the other side has their offensive strategy down pat, the offensive team will almost always win spectacularly. That’s true in just about any field; business, national defense, exercise, politics, chess, you name it.
The inefficiency of the GOP to communicate its ideas to the public is now as legendary as it is shameful. In previous articles I’ve painstakingly pointed out how GOP policies have largely been correct, very often essentially so. As such, they are also quite easy to defend. Yet for some reason, sanity seems to have lost its voice with regard to the public perception of all major issues. For prime examples of how needed GOP policies are left to ridicule when the reasons for them should be comprehensible to a five year old, feel free to go over “What Republicans Must Do in 2008,” “Truth in Reporting – If Only We’d Insist On It” and “An Effective Conservative Response: Bush Haters Are Fools, Don’t Emulate Them .”
Enter a candidate who has yet to hold back a punch, a candidate who has routinely gone toe to toe with liberals on policy issues and has won the debate every time, winning the admiration of many of the most liberal residents of Broward County, Fla in the process. Conservatives and libertarian-minded people who attended his rallies or speeches saw in him the makings of the next Ronald Reagan. And, of course, what was the NRCC’s response to such a candidate? They ignored him. Now that he won 45% of the vote without one penny of their support or one minute of their help, past history dictates that the NRCC will finally give its attention to his 2010 race. If they don’t, then we as a party will have institutionalized idiocy, inefficiency and callousness from almost the top down.
Thankfully, Lt. Col. Allen West doesn’t care what these people do on a national level (though we who care about electing him and other like minded conservatives should). And because he doesn’t define his strategy by their support, he was able to mount a serious challenge to a Democratic incumbent in what was otherwise a Democrat blowout year. So watch out Congressman Ron Klein, 2010 is not your year and Allen West, a man who has rightly earned the title of General of Conservatism, is honing in on the conquest.
I’ve written a number of articles on Allen West since he first announced his long shot candidacy for Congress in 2007. He was unique among candidates in his ability to communicate conservative values and philosophy to mass groups. I attributed this ability to his sincerity and truthful dedication that is backed up by his record as a military hero with 20 years of service. Some of his ability to communicate also stems from his decision to dedicate his first year out of the military to teaching high school, foregoing far more lucrative lines of work to make a difference in his community. In 2007 he was a long shot. But what a long shot worth covering.
Well, now the rest is history. Allen West is a long shot no more. On election night, the only surprise on the Republican side (and the local media actually used the word “surprise” to describe the Klein-West results) was that a first time GOP candidate who had been in the race for less than a year had earned 45% of the vote. This was in spite of receiving no help from the national party and not regarding the fact that so many other Democratic incumbents had just received far more votes than they’d ever received before (in the district neighboring West’s, the Democratic incumbent actually received between four and five times his average number of votes) due to huge turnouts for Obamania (a phenomenon that West appropriately terms “the election of a prom king”). And now, after his spectacular performance, West is clearly the odds on favorite to win in 2010.
Our party needs national spokespeople who can defend the simple and rational truths of conservatism. It is far too long that 90% of those who are given the task of representing our side in media interviews are unable to articulate even the most basic reasons for our viewpoints. This should never have been the case and for whatever reason it is, our monumental PR calamity needs to stop now.
We can turn things around. Michael Steele’s convention speech this summer ended in a rallying cry. Hopefully he will be the next RNC Chair. Mike Huckabee is reaching out to voters every week, in an effective way that will enlarge our base and further our goals and Carly Fiorina is fast becoming a national voice of reason on economic concerns.
But what this party needs more than anything are people who the public can relate to, candidates who provide common sense and a clear message at a time that many of the leading voices in our nation seem to have lost all reason. For this, the Republican Party has no better voice than a military hero, a consistent voice on national security and a high school teacher who inspired students to national service and toward their own self betterment. In short, what this party, indeed what this nation needs is Allen West.
I would urge fellow conservatives to get involved in this most crucial campaign by going to www.allenwestforcongress.com or his Facebook page here.