Message to the GOP: How You Can Broaden Your Tent

January 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

ClintEastwoodGOP_empty chair

Lately, it seems that the GOP has been doing some soul searching. Gov. Jindal of Louisiana, a few days ago, said the party needs to stop being the “stupid” party. John Boehner, the speaker of the house, said the president wanted to annihilate the GOP.

Mr. Boehner, with all due respect the GOP has been annihilating itself; you would think the party did not care about winning. I think the party is destroying itself so badly that it’s no longer a fair fight. Although I’m a registered Democrat because I believe in good competition, I felt that I might help by giving you a grand strategy that will appeal to both Republicans and Democrats.
Well, the strategy is simple. The GOP has the edge when it comes to economic policy. Consistently, when the American public is asked who they trust to create jobs, they choose the GOP. The GOP is also more trusted in general when it comes to protecting the nation, but I don’t think it’s a strong card now (I’ll come back to that later).

The one and only message, a unifying cry, for the GOP should be: “We are the party of opportunity.” Senator Cruz suggested that “Every Republican should have tattooed on their arm to read in every speech: growth and opportunity.” I would go further and Keep It Simple Stupid. I am talking to you, “stupid” party: Reduce the message to one word “opportunity.”

Imagine this, the Republican message could be summed up as “Democrats are good guys, but they have the wrong policies. They believe in sending some crumbs from the rich to those who are less fortunate, while we want to give everyone in America the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Whether it is to become a small business owner, buy a house, give your kids an education to become a doctor, lawyer or the next Barack Obama, we want to create an environment where you can create that opportunity for yourself.”

Here is how this would translate in policies in four areas:

1) Economic Opportunity
You shouldn’t be afraid to back away from workfare instead of welfare policies. By the way, many in the black community and other minority groups don’t believe in welfare policies either. Do go to the inner cities to talk about policies such as tax credit or public-private partnerships to encourage entrepreneurship and investment that will lead to job creations. If we can provide assistance to other countries to help in economic development, shouldn’t we do the same for our own troubled areas that in some cases resemble third world countries?

2) Safety
Have you heard a credible proposal from the democrats on how they will improve safety in the inner cities? I haven’t. Don’t you think that Black and Latino parents in areas with high crimes care as much about the safety of their kids as parents in the suburbs? This is not just talking about how many young Black kids are being killed by guns in Chicago to score political points, but about providing solutions. After all, every American deserves to live in a safe environment where they have the opportunity to pursue the right endowed by their Creator to pursue happiness. (If you don’t believe me that you can win on the safety issue, talk to Brett Schundler who was the Republican mayor of Jersey City from 1992 to 2001).

3) Education
Education is the most common path to climbing the social ladder and achieving the American dream. There is no talking about opportunity without addressing giving every K-12 student a decent enough education to go to college and the ability to afford college if their parents can’t afford it. This means voting against Pell grants to deserving college students is a bad idea. Yes, I do agree that colleges will increase tuition artificially if they know Uncle Sam will foot the bill. But, there are creative ways to address this, such as by making schools where tuitions rise much faster than the cost of inflation ineligible for any federal funds (including research grants).

4) Immigration
Finally, you have to open the door of opportunity to those young illegal immigrants who love America and, through no faults of their own, find themselves in legal limbo. No rhetoric on amnesty will do. It will only continue to make the GOP seen as mean and insensitive.

On the defense or protecting America issue, don’t bother. The killing of Osama Bin Laden guarantees that Democrats own this issue so long as President Barack Obama is in power. There is no point in attacking the president on the left as Mitt did in the last election. Not only is it shameless, but it will not work. Most Americans don’t have any problems in using drones to go after terrorists wherever they may be and don’t want to destroy a country through war and then get in the business of nation building.

What about abortions, guns or gay marriage? Stay on message. If you want to be the party of opportunity, you are the party for all Americans. Everyone will understand that you don’t have time to focus on these divisive issues. (You could blame the Democrats for using them).

Well, my GOP friends, I’ve tried my best to even the playing field, but I’m not holding my breath that you will follow my advice. If you do become the party of opportunity, count me in. I arrived in the US as a young Haitian immigrant whose mother was earning $3.35 per hour (minimum wage) in 1989. America has given me the opportunity to create a better life for myself by getting a world class education and then founding a business that made it twice to the Inc 500 of fastest growing companies in the US. I want to leave to the next generation that same America where opportunity still exists for those who are part of the 47%.

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