Rep. Thaddeus McCotter asks and answers the question in a post-election essay that should be must reading for all Republicans this week. Jeff Flake gave us a road map for the GOP to find its way to a unifying, resonant message, but McCotter aims to recover the lost GOP soul. He argues that we have hit Republican Rock Bottom, and that the time has come to build anew:
Dead is the self-indulgent imbecility of “re-branding” — as if the Republican Party was a corporate product to be repackaged, not a transformational political movement to be led. Despite what the media will tell you, and what so-called “conservative leaders” will discuss ad nauseam during “secret” meetings, this situation is not a crisis. It is an opportunity. Today, we are as the Great Emancipator proclaimed during another time of national trial: unbound by the tired dogmas of the past; and free to think and act anew.
First, we must not mindlessly mimic the momentarily triumphant Left. Sleek, detached, media savvy non-entities posing as existentially anguished leaders are neither in our nature nor our future. We are not teeny-bopper, pop-star politicians or the ideological dinosaurs of wealth redistribution.
At heart, we Republicans are flesh and blood and backbone, the proud servants of people. If we re-orient our vision, renew our purpose, and reaffirm our principles, the times will demand us — not as we were, but as we must be!
McCotter demands a return to First Principles, as did Flak, and he calls them the “enduring principles” of the Republican Party:
1. Our liberty is from God not the government.
2. Our sovereignty rests in our souls not the soil.
3. Our security is through strength not surrender.
4. Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector.
5. Our truths are self-evident not relative.
Where Flake is more pragmatic, McCotter is more philosophical, but the two are singing in harmony today. We need to focus on these principles and apply them to all our policy positions. We cannot be taken seriously as a small-government, private-sector movement if we back ever-expanding bailouts or if we pursue pork-barrel politics.
In the wake of this loss, the Republican leadership in Congress will certainly need to change in order to demonstrate leadership on these principles. McCotter and Flake should be part of any new Republican leadership.