- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Republican Party has a problem. I should know — I am a proud Republican.

We Republicans traditionally are fact-based thinkers. We love our country more than our party. We are fiercely independent in that respect. If we felt the Republican Party were no longer good for the country we would abandon it as soon as we reached that conclusion, but we would not reach that conclusion lightly. Our ideology and principles would have to be compromised first.

The problem with Republicans is that we seem to be poor communicators. Popular perception is that empathy escapes us. This is an unfortunate perception because it causes us to lose listeners. As a result, our message only reaches our base, losing us the opportunity to expand our ideas and ideology.

While I enjoy the comments from conservative and Republican pundits, most often these pundits are only preaching to the choir. Of course, we Republicans have empathy, emotion and passion, but our inability to connect allows our political foes to demonize our ideas. We end up on the defensive and are made out as racists. I am dumbfounded that the party that ended slavery is now considered racist.

When the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff, Americans’ hearts were broken. The message President Ronald Reagan provided to the American people that evening confirmed his heart was broken as much as ours. We felt his pain and he ours. His words reflected the empathy and raw emotion our Republican leaders no longer show.

I weep for our party. It cries for leadership that is capable of spreading our positive message. Republican leaders, do your jobs, be our voice. Give our community organizers a message that we can rally around. Confront the press when they are wrong, use our fact-based thinking in a positive manner by taking our message to the people. Do not concern yourselves so much about confronting our individual political foes with petty concerns.

RICHARD CLARK

Carriere, Miss.