Negotiables and Non-Negotiables

With each passing day, yet another political analyst weighs in on what is wrong with the Republican Party, why it lost the presidential election and failed to take over the Senate, and what it needs to do to win in the future.

The pundits seem to fall into one of two camps. There are those who think that the GOP should start over from scratch and reinvent itself. Others believe that Republicans should dig their collective heels into the ground and refuse to compromise or change a single position.

The answer, I believe, is somewhere in the middle. In other words, both sides are right and both sides are wrong.

Simply put, I think the GOP needs to prioritize its positions into two categories: negotiables and non-negotiables.

Put the party’s core beliefs on one side and everything else on the other.

Core beliefs are things like fiscal restraint, reduced spending, lower individual and corporate tax rates, and a balanced budget amendment. Add a strong military as being the best deterrent to war. Mix in traditional values like the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. Stand up for Israel.

Like Emiril Lagasse says, “BAM!” There you have it – a strong platform as well as a winning recipe.

These principles and positions are what the Republican Party stands for. Everything else is on the table and open for discussion.

Climate change legislation…negotiable. Minimum wage increases…negotiable. Green energy subsidies…negotiable.  Immigration policy…negotiable.

While they’re at it, I think the GOP should seize control of issues like education and the environment. Stop being caricaturized as the party of Big Oil. Instead, become the party of clean air and clean water while at the same time fighting for new energy exploration and development.

Wind farms and the Keystone XL pipeline can go together if properly packaged.  Become the party that is associated with protecting – not worshipping – our planet for future generations of Americans.

And yes, stop ceding the education issue to the Democrats. Most people agree that simply increasing educational spending is not the answer. Rather, intelligent and targeted investments in education can go a long way towards better preparing our children to compete in the global economy.

So come up with a concise plan to do exactly that and broadcast it far and wide. It’s called marketing, gentlemen, and it works.

I realize it may be a broad generalization, but most men vote with their heads and most women vote with their hearts. And since women comprise more than half of the electorate, the issues that are most important to them must be addressed.

Mothers care about their kids. They want them to have the best possible education and to live in a country that has a non-toxic environment. So give it to them. Not only will you win some votes in the process, but it’s the right thing to do.

I don’t think the Republicans are that far away from victory. The power-brokers within the party simply need to recognize what is important and what isn’t.

Half a loaf is better than none, and winning elections sure beats losing them.