In his new book, Rebuilding the Republican Party Despite the Brain Dead Luddites Who Run It: A Blueprint for Success in 2010 and 2012, conservative author and Republican strategist Michael Patrick Leahy gives a clear eyed assessment of what went wrong in 2008, and what has to change for Republicans to succeed in 2010 and 2012.
Leahy begins by showing how George Bush lost his way when he abandoned policies of limited government and fiscal conservatism in a number of areas, ranging from the unprecedented pharmaceuticals entitlement program to No Child Left Behind. He then shows how John McCain lost the 2008 election by mismanaging Sarah Palin’s post-convention introduction to the American voter, supporting the ill advised, pork filled $700 billion financial services industry bail out, and most importantly, failing to convey a clear conservative message to under 30 voters using state of the art 21st century communications tools and the language of imagery and symbolism they understand.
Leahy demonstrates through a detailed analysis of the election results that it is the 8 million vote majority among under 30 voters, who chose Obama over McCain by more than a 2 to 1 margin, that gave Obama his overall 8 million vote majority and a 52% to 46% win. Projecting the demographic trends forward to 2012, Leahy shows that unless Republicans can win with these under 30 voters, Obama’s margin in 2012 will grow to 54% to 44%.
Leahy recommends a six step program that will lead to Republican success in 2010 and 2012.
(1) Return to conservative principles of limited government, lower taxes, and fiscal conservatism
(2) Frame this conservative message in the symbolism and imagery that will be persuasive to voters who are now between 15 and 29 years of age.
(3) Communicate this conservative message to all voters, but especially voters now between the ages of 15 and 29 using state of the art 21st Century technologies.
(4) Contest all 435 House of Representative elections and all local elections in 2010 and 2012.
(5) Kick the Rinos (Republicans in Name Only) out of the party, and rein in the Rinkos (Republicans in Name Kind Of).
(6) Engage every Republican of every age in growing the party through action, not talk. This will require the establishment of a technologically integrated web based communication network that connects every Republican County organization in real time with the State and National organizations. Young, forward looking, visionary leadership at the very top of the Republican National Committee is required for this. Technology and communication innovators like Patrick Ruffini and Erick Erickson should lead the way, not tired old Rinkos or Brain Dead Luddites.
Leahy goes on to describe the obstacles that must be overcome to succeed with this program. He begins by showing that we are still a Center-Right country, but that Republicans must acknowledge certain truths. The failure to do so will limit the effectiveness of his six part plan.
These truths are:
(1) The mainstream media is officially and permanently an arm of the Democratic Party.
(2) The nation is now comprised of a productive minority made up of small business owners and middle class and upper-middle class workers, who must constantly protect against the encroachment on their rights from the tyrannical majority, which consists of the half of all Americans who pay no income taxes, unions, bureaucrats, and Fortune 500 executives who benefit from public aid.
(3) There is no such thing as bi-partisan cooperation. Every political action taken by the left and the Democrat party is designed to defeat and humiliate the right and the Republican Party. Only vigilance, strength, and devotion to principle will yield any benefits for the productive minority.
The Republican Party needs to be a Big Tent, but the right kind of Big Tent. The "Big Tent Fallacy" which claims that shifting away from true conservatism will attract members of the tyrannical majority is a dangerous falsehood that should be rejected. The "Big Tent Maxim" should be that we welcome those from any group into the Republican Party who embrace the core principles of true conservativism.
(4) Only Republican leaders who are charismatic, adept at communicating symbolically using state of the art technologies, and unwaveringly committed to conservative principles will succeed.
Finally, Leahy lays out a detailed plan of action within these six steps that will give every Republican voter, elected leader, and aspiring leader a step by step blueprint that will lead to electoral success in their own sphere of influence.
In writing this book, Leahy interviewed numerous national leaders of the Republican Party (brain dead and non brain dead alike), the new generation of web 3.0 Republican internet activists, conservative leaders, and Republican County Chairmen around the country.
Rebuilding the Republican Party Despite the Brain Dead Luddites Who Run It: A Blueprint for Success in 2010 and 2012 will be published by Harpeth River Press in January, 2009.