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Monday, March 2

Open Letter to Michael Steele

TO: Mr. Michael Steele
Chairman, Republican National Committee


I am a Republican, registered as a voter with that party affiliation since 1979. I recall that you have solicited suggestions on how to repair our Party's reputation and regain our previous standing among the American electorate as a pathway to regaining majorities in the Congress.

I have such a suggestion, but first allow me some prefatory comments.

I have watched with mounting dismay and even outright horror as the Party has been taken hostage by fringe elements, to the extent that the GOP no longer resembles the Party I registered with. Civil discourse and reasoned arguments have been drowned in a tsunami of dogmatic and hateful speech as people labeling themselves conservatives hounded all liberal and moderate elements from the Party's ranks. The Constitution itself has been watered down and even discarded entirely by the last two Republican administrations, aided and abetted by a complaisant Republican majority in both houses of the Congress.

What we have now is a Party whose platform, public positions and candidates appeal to the worst impulses in the American electorate. One need only recall the shouted word "Ni**er!" at a rally where Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spoke in 2008 to realize that the people who are now attracted to the GOP platform are as far from the mainstream of America as it is possible to get.

The Party of Lincoln now attracts white supremacists and racist demagogues; the Party of Teddy Roosevelt is now the home of global warming deniers and mining interests who tear down entire mountains in an effort to wrest coal from the earth; the Party of Eisenhower, who warned against the growing strength of the military-industrial complex, is now owned in fee simple by lobbyists and special-interest groups and has an entirely unnecessary war laid at its feet.

Here, therefore, is my suggestion to solve the Party's problems.

First, expel the ultra-conservative wing of the Party. This will be painful, but it is necessary. The small minority that now rules the GOP must be cut out of the Party or it will continue to be an albatross. Let them name themselves the Conservative Party, or some other name, but let them go.

Second, revise the Party platform to make it more tolerant socially. Abortion is the law of the land and it is an acknowledged fact that women do, indeed, have the inherent right to choose. Homosexuals are a minority, and as an African-American you should know how damaging it is to deny any minority the same rights as all other Americans - and that includes the right to marry. I own firearms, but I also advocate stricter gun controls. Socially extreme positions will not attract a diverse voter base, Mr. Steele.

Third, the Party must be more pragmatic fiscally. We have seen that one cannot grant tax cuts to the richest percentage of Americans without crippling the economy. Even President Nixon realized the need for taxes at times as the price of government. Government intervention in the economy may be considered "socialist" by the current generation of GOP apologists, but we must recall that Nixon instituted wage and price controls.

I readily concede that this shift will be a very painful one, but in my view it is necessary for the Grand Old Party to regain its former reputation. To use an often-quoted phrase, we must destroy the village in order to save it.

We cannot hope to achieve future electoral success by alienating the voters we need to attract.

Thank you for your attention.


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