Last Friday, I discussed my thoughts on the “soul-searching” process within the Republican Party. Apparently, some within the party read my post. Within the last week, the following has taken place:
Buzz has been circulating about who the next RNC chair will be (the list includes former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Congressman and Iowa Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Nussle).
The Iowa Family Policy Center announced that it will be hosting an event with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal as the keynote speaker.
Mike Huckabeee, a former Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate, will be returning to Iowa on a book tour.
Buzz is circulating about the next Iowa Republican Party Chairman.
Iowa House Republicans elected Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha as their leader.
Former Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Gross appeared on Iowa Press with National Committeeman Steve Scheffler to discuss the changes that must be made within the party. Later in the week, he hosted a select group of activists to discuss the future of the party and what needs to be done to put us back in the Governor’s Office.
Additionally, Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet on Monday to elect their leadership. Senator Paul McKinley of Chariton is vying for the spot, and Senate GOP members would be wise to elect him as leader. As one who knows Senator McKinley personally, I can vouch for his intelligence, his knowledge in the areas of education (he is currently the ranking member on the Senate Education Committee) and business (he was a small business owner) and commitment to conservative principles. He will make a great leader.
Looking ahead and putting new people in charge is a start, but we still have a long hard road ahead. An additional challenge we face is the need to build bridges between those in our own part. For example: a recent Des Moines Register editorial, written by a former candidate for the party’s gubernatorial nomination, indicates that social conservatives are feeling threatened by efforts to rebuild the party. Additionally, another blogger has been heavily critical of Mr. Gross for his efforts to help rebuild the party. That blogger accused Mr. Gross (wrongfully) of taking pot shots at Mr. Sheffler on Iowa Press. With this sort of internal dissention so openly manifested, the wrong message is sent to the people of Iowa, and road blocks to progress are created.
Coming up in the near future are two days that have the potential to unite the Iowa Republican Party. The first will take place in early January when the Legislative session begins, and the Democrats begin an ill-advised effort to impose an agenda Iowa clearly does not need. This is a golden opportunity for the State GOP to step forward and assert a sense of revitalized leadership in governing Iowa. The second day will come on January 20, when the Obama Administration takes over, and begins its efforts to raise our taxes and weaken our defense. This is again an opportunity to begin re-branding the GOP as a party that is back in action, bigger, and better than ever. We know the Obama administration is going to stumble. The GOP just needs to be ready to respond when it does to maximize the opportunity.
The bottom line is though that none of this will happen if the Republican Party can’t unite around the need to stop the further degradation of our state and our nation by the left and the fact that without a united coherent message victory is nearly impossible. Who ever is the next leader of our party at any level will have to embrace these realities and have a clear plan to address them.
BY W. Sherman