GOP’s ‘old guard,’ new generation need each other

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Following a highly contested, yet successful, re-election bid as Cobb County Republican Party Chairman, Joe Dendy lashed out in Tuesday’s MDJ at yours truly, and the 100-plus members that did not vote for his slate.

Like many others, I am disappointed that he would generalize and disparage two fifths of the Republican membership — those he collectively refers to as “Libertarians” and “not real Republicans” — even though the near entirety of those he speaks of have never been affiliated with the Libertarian party. Most have been longtime Republicans or simply disaffected.

It saddens me that some members of the establishment feel so territorial, in relation to the growing number of fiscally and constitutionally conservative party members.

In spite of this drama, I have not given up on the belief that Republicans can and should operate with mutual respect.

The notion that all members of a political party will agree on every minute policy detail is unrealistic.

We are not the Borg (I admit it; I am a bit of a Trekkie;)

However, reading Joe’s comments, you would think that we are talking about factions with paradoxical political philosophies.

This is simply not the case.

What does it mean to be a Republican, or a conservative, if not a belief in conserving the principles of limited, small, decentralized government that the American revolutionaries fought for?

I’ve read some ill-informed, or intentionally misrepresented, accusations that attempt to equate libertarian philosophy with liberalism.

In reality, these terms couldn’t be more diametrically opposed.

Libertarian philosophy is a belief in Natural Law: all men are created equal — we have the unalienable right to life, liberty, and property — there is an absolute right and wrong — and our rights are God-given or inherent in our being.

Natural Law takes higher precedence than any man-made or government law; and governments are subject to the same Natural Laws as individuals.

In other words, it’s what Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, James Madison and the rest of our founding fathers believed.

These principles are plastered all over our most cherished establishing documents — and reflected in creeds and the stated principles of the Republican Party across the country.

Ronald Regan referred to libertarianism as “the heart and soul of conservatism.”

What we are seeing today is a revitalization of the small government, fiscally conservative wing of the Republican Party that has been somewhat dormant, perhaps since the Barry Goldwater days.

Ultimately, the role of a chairman should be, not to dictate, but to facilitate the interactions and will of the members of the party from the bottom up, not the top down.

It pains me to witness some establishment party members willing to forego the opportunity to revitalize the GOP when they reject the next generation of Republicans.

Since Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid, I have heard many logically stretched analyses of what went wrong.

We should have won that election with votes to spare.

The lessons I believe the Republican Party should take away from the experience are these:

— First, we can’t bank on winning an election based solely on how bad the other guy is; we must have something to offer. It is my opinion that instead of “free stuff” and government dependency, the Republican Party can win with a message of freedom and responsibility.

— And second, we will never win a national election using bully tactics to stamp out the grassroots and keep out new and potential members.

Republicans can ride the wave of rejuvenation simply by embracing the resurgence in popularity of the wisdom of our founding fathers.

Instead, I frequently hear talk of chasing demographics in order to stave off dwindling interest and membership.

On a positive note, there are many longtime party members around the state who get it. These individuals have reached out in friendship; coalitions have formed and these groups are working to achieve common goals.

The ultimate truth is that we need each other.

Without the experience of the “old guard,” the upcoming generation of Republicans would have a difficult time navigating on their own; and without the next generation of Republicans, the Party has no future.

As far as my role, I’ve simply had the privilege of working with many fantastic individuals, passionate about and dedicated to the message of liberty.

by Charles Gregory
The Marietta Daily Journal »