LETTER TO THE EDITOR: GOP must change to win

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Even though I disagree with him over the consequences of American drug use, I think Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, gets it (“Rand Paul: GOP ‘will not win again in my lifetime’ the presidency, absent change,” Web, Feb. 14).

A long-existing and prominent sector of the Republican Party is only comfortable with a minority-party status. These people thrive when the Democrats are in control of the government, but not when the GOP must assertively take control of, and responsibility for, the process of government.

Amplifying the effect of this faction’s predispositions is the fact that an influential and financially active part of the GOP rank-and-file, business professionals, are pragmatists.

As such, they excel at adapting and accommodating in order to get what they want. To them, hard and fast principles are dispensable in the interest of achieving set goals, and usually they can live with the other party being in control.

A good deal must be at stake before principled conservatives can control the direction of the party. In 1980, runaway inflation and aggressive Soviet expansionism discredited the Gerald R. Ford-Henry Kissinger GOP wing, thus opening the way for the 1980 Reagan Revolution.

Right now, the big issue is the Washington establishment-Main Street disconnect. Things are too fluid and amorphous for a sizable enough consensus to form in the GOP.

It’s an environment hostile to real leadership. So it will be interesting to see how things turn out.

CHRISTOPHER J. HOLLINS

Charlotte, N.C.

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