“People are fed up with casting their ballot for the lesser of two evils.”
by Heather Kirkham – From the Right Side
We have all had the similar experience of someone politely telling us about a piece of lettuce that is stuck in our teeth or that the air in a car tire being too low. Sometimes another’s perspective is helpful, especially if you are about to give a speech with that lettuce stuck between two teeth. The following are some viewpoints from an average citizen and her conversations not with political insiders, but average, conservative voters.
The Oregon Republican Party needs to understand that even though there may be leaders that represent the Tea Party movement in Oregon there are even more, unrepresented, Tea Party “minded” people who do not belong to an organized Tea Party group. These groups of citizens are lead by ideals and principles, not people. An in depth study by Dr. Frank Luntz, Nov. 2010, showed that the 60-70% of Americans agree with the Tea Party’s main issues of balancing the budget, eliminating wasteful spending, preventing tax increases on all Americans, and instilling constitutionally accountable government. A similar study done in Oregon would prove interesting. Reaching these voters depends on the Oregon Republican Party’s conduct concerning those issues.
Publicly supporting the issues of the Tea Party, which are basically listed in the ORP Platform of 2010, will do wonders to rebrand the party in Oregon. They have failed to do this by recruiting and supporting candidates who do not publicly sustain those platform issues. Also they do not hold elected Republicans accountable once they stray from those platform principles.
Of course, it is not expected for candidates to support all that is in the platform, but the people are tired of voting for candidates who make promises, talk around the issues, and do not let the people know where they truly stand on those issues. People are fed up with casting their ballot for the lesser of two evils.
It is time that the party seriously takes a look at the way they recruit candidates. “Is he or she electable?” or “How much money can they pull in?” should not be the overwhelming deciding factors. Those important factors should be considered after they pass the “Do they publicly stand for most of the principles behind the party platform?” sniff test. What gain is there if a candidate wins an office if he works against his fellow legislatures’ principled bills?
The average voter sees the Republican Party as a whole and does not distinguish between the national, state and county organizations and their elected officials. Like it or not, when elected officials vote poorly, it reflects on the party that sent them to their office. That tells prospective donors and voters that the party does not share their principles and they refrain from registering for or supporting the party with their time, vote or money. It would be refreshing to see the Oregon Republican Central Committee issue a public reprimand of some sort to those in the party who vote against party principles. It would let the public know that the party stands for something more than acquiring positions of power. To do so is against the ORP Central Committee’s bylaws, but average voters do not know these bylaws. Asking the county chairs to speak out more often could help.
Of course these are thoughts that would make any political insider or politician cringe at the naiveté. But, Tea Party, or rather, liberty-minded people do not care so much for political posturing as they care about knowing whether a candidate is going to truly represent their conservative principles. This isn’t written to go after the member of the ORP Central Committee personally, only to be helpful. It will be interesting to see where the party goes under Allen Alley’s dynamic and proven leadership. Many hope that he won’t ignore the lettuce stuck in the ORP’s teeth.
Heather Kirkham lives in La Grande; the “Right Side” of Oregon