Lauren Barlow’s recent opinion piece, “Reforming the GOP’s message” (Friday), critiquing Sen. Marco Rubio’s State of the Union response, comes close to defining a cause for the Republican presidential debacle in 2012 that has not been corrected in 2013. Repetition of conservative truisms to the uninitiated has proven futile. Confidence in our ideas is natural to conservatives, but to apolitical voters who tune in late to campaigns, it sounds simplistic and like a hard sell.
Ms. Barlow is correct in stating that communicating the historic and reasoned basis of our ideas is key. I would add that maligning the emotional appeal of liberal policymaking and icons is problematic. Polls show that Democrats’ blame-Republicans strategies have succeeded in convincing the less informed among us that President George W. Bush is the root of our nation’s economic woes. During the last presidential campaign, I also witnessed how strident language about Mr. Obama, the first black president, closed a number of otherwise reasonable minds. Imagine how a lightly informed black voter would construe Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s statement about wanting to remove “this president.” Many did not need to hear anything else, even though few of the 95 percent of minority voters who support Mr. Obama believe uncontrolled spending, 14 percent black unemployment and increased regulation of their lives and businesses is acceptable.
We must pitch liberal voters a reasoned, freedom-oriented solution without attacking Mr. Obama or other popular, liberal candidates. Just tie common sense to the conservative candidate. Insulting a candidate with an identity advantage fails. I believe that many Obama supporters have the common sense to know that this massive debt can ruin us all and at some point, they will understand that continuously raising taxes is not the answer.
Feelings of racial solidarity helped Mr. Obama and liberal Democrats profit politically from Republican attacks. What we believe is not the problem. How we present it may still be.
St. Michaels, Md.
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