Favorite

Party of Yes? 

The Republican Party is in a precarious situation both locally and nationally. It faces chief executives in President Barack Obama and Gov. Mike Beebe who both have “favorable” impressions among the general public and unmatched bully pulpits. In addition, the 2008 election showed that the general public craves solutions to the problems families discuss daily at their kitchen tables.

The Republican Party must be the loyal opposition, but it cannot be branded as the party of “no.” It should not sacrifice certain bedrock conservative principles or imitate the Democratic Party. It should articulate conservatism in a manner that appeals beyond rigid ideological spectrums.

For example, labor unions are working feverishly to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, an undemocratic power grab that eliminates the secret ballot vote in union organizations and brings government bureaucrats into the workplace to set labor contracts. Special-interest legislation that threatens democracy and expands government intrusion warrants Republican opposition and should even garner “no” votes from Democrats.

The recent debate in the Arkansas legislature highlights the precarious situation of the local Republican Party. Beebe supported a much needed statewide trauma system. However, the funding source came, primarily, from an increase in the cigarette tax. Based on “anti-tax” principle, most Republicans did not support this legislation.

Governor Beebe and Democrats responded by saying something like: “Republicans are opposed to improving access to healthcare for all Arkansans.” We all know this argument is not true. However, perception is reality, and Beebe controls the bully pulpit.

The people want solutions. Ideas that will affect average Arkansans' pocketbook and daily life will rule the day in the next two election cycles. The issue matrix of a decade ago is no longer realistic. Republicans must continue to adapt.

Republicans must show they have common-sense ideas. Whether it is being for lowering income tax rates or reducing capital gains tax rates, these are proposals that resonate at the kitchen table. What taxpayer would not like to keep more of their hard-earned money.

There are also ideas to save Arkansas millions of dollars on health care costs and improve lives. Universal newborn screening should be expanded to test for rare and undetected diseases. This may require initial spending, or investing, by the state to upgrade laboratories. Some may see this as increased “spending” but it would save millions over time.

These practical ideas must be communicated to the people. Bold, practical ideas are futile if people do not know about them. Republicans must quickly embrace new social media (Facebook, Twitter). These virtual communities are where like-minded people communicate. More people are getting their news from Internet sources than ever before. Facebook grew by more than 5 million new users per week in January alone. Republicans must embrace tools such as these and speak directly to the people about the positive, practical things they are doing.

Republicans must again show the general electorate that they are a compassionate, non-rigid party that possesses refreshing ideas to move our state and country forward. Those ideas must be relevant, bold, and new. Count me in.

 

In the spirit of bipartisanship, Max Brantley gives the floor this week to Clint Reed, former Southeast Regional Political Director for the Republican National Committee and now a partner at Impact Management Group, a public affairs firm in Little Rock.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Guest

  • Climate action good for Arkansas

    Thirty-five Senate Republicans and three Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, support Senate Resolution 26 to block the federal Environmental Protection Agency from reducing greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters like coal power plants.
    • Feb 11, 2010
  • No country for old country

    Jeff Bridges plays it broke-down in ‘Crazy Heart.’
    • Feb 4, 2010
  • Needed: Strong Estate Tax

    On New Year’s Day the estate tax, an essential part of the U.S. tax system for nearly 100 years, disappeared because Congress failed to act in December. Congressional leaders now are pledging to act in early 2010 to reinstate the federal estate tax retroactive to Jan. 1. In the meantime, rhetoric over the estate tax will heat up.
    • Feb 4, 2010
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Schlafly's influence

    Phyllis Schlafly, mother, attorney and longtime antifeminist, died recently. What Schlafly promoted was not novel or new. Men had been saying that men and women were not equal for years. However, anti-feminism, anti-women language had much more power coming from a woman who professed to be looking out for the good of all women and families.
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Why a change of leadership at the LRSD now?

    Johnny Key's abrupt, unilateral decision to not renew Baker Kurrus' contract as superintendent strikes us as shortsighted, misguided and detrimental to the education of our children and the health of our community.
    • Apr 21, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Can't afford to gut ACA

    The Affordable Care Act was passed into law with the promise that it would make insurance affordable. Because of bipartisan leadership in Arkansas, we continue to strive to achieve that goal. While rhetoric abounds, it is important to understand the Arkansas experience.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Tipping point

    I was extremely cautious before engaging in the educational debate about the State Board of Education's decision to take over the Little Rock School District.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • Left behind

    Arkansas is getting a lot of attention for our very low unemployment rate. If you look only at that number (3.4 percent), you would think workers here were doing quite well — better than surrounding states and even the nation as a whole. But that seemingly simple rate can hide some huge gaps in prosperity.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

October

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Cotton to CIA?

    Political junkies without a real election to overanalyze fill the void with "what if?" scenarios. With the State Fair underway, consider this column a helping of cotton candy for such readers.
  • The casting couch

    Long ago and far away, I had an academic superior who enjoyed sexually humiliating younger men. There was unwanted touching — always in social situations — but mainly it was about making suggestive remarks, hinting that being a "hunk" was how I'd got hired.
  • Caution: government at work

    I have several government targets this week.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The casting couch

    • sigh............ I would argue that the idea of 'freedom from fear' is part of the…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: Caution: government at work

    • As to the AR Chamber of Commerce-DO NOT FORGET it supports passage of SJR8, which…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: The casting couch

    • Freedom from fear is a human right.

    • on October 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation