If you know most of the old saws about American politics, then you can probably see there’s more than a little truth in the one about the two major U.S. political parties: One is evil; The other is stupid.
You probably know which is which but let’s focus on the latter. For a movement that is capable of coming up with so many good public policy ideas like funding students instead of school systems, lowering marginal income tax rates to generate jobs and growth, and “Peace Through Strength,” it is positively bizarre how Republican candidates and elected officials consistently confirm what the liberals want the voters to think about them.
It happens all the time — and you can’t blame it all on media bias. Sometimes it really does look like conservatives are people who forget to put their brains in gear before engaging their mouths. This week in Minnesota, for example, a Republican state senator speaking in opposition to a school lunch bill said he’d yet to meet a person in his state “that is hungry.”
Seriously? How dumb does one have to be before recognizing the ways that statement can be twisted out of context to damage not just the person making it but the movement as a whole?
This often happens when the so-called “family values types” who rely on morality messaging to win office get caught with their pants down. Like the Republican lieutenant governor of Tennessee who announced he’d be taking a break from social media after it was revealed he’d been posting favorable comments to pictures put up on Instagram by male members of the LGBTQ community.
Egregious? Fodder for the left, assuredly, as was made clear when SNL’s Weekend Update devoted several minutes to the issue.
It’s easy for the left to make fun of the right without people saying stupid things that explain the difference between “real rape” and any other kind. Some of the problems are cultural — the liberals talk and think differently than the heartland of America from whence conservatives draw much of their strength.
Famed American journalist H.L. Mencken was poking fun at “the booboisie” long before most of the current Congress was born. But that’s an explanation, not an excuse.
If the GOP wants to regain its place as the national majority party, it needs to get serious about recruiting candidates for office who aren’t busy hopping around on one foot because the other is lodged permanently in their mouth. Some level of sophistication should be required before party organizations allow someone to enter what Teddy Roosevelt famously called “The Arena”— not because we should prefer educated elites but as a matter of self-preservation.
It’s alarming to see several of the candidates who were crushed in what should have been winnable races in purple states in 2022 are thinking about running for something else in 2024. They’re not running on ideas to make America better like what might be the staple of any effective stump speech but because they’ve acquired a coterie of followers that provides a constant ego boost.
That’s not who conservatives need on their team. State leaders, go forth and recruit from among your ranks the candidates who will win the seats and provides the votes necessary to turn back the Biden Agenda, revive the economy, strengthen our defenses, restore our energy independence and heal this tired and divided land.
A former UPI senior political writer and U.S. News and World Report columnist, Peter Roff is a senior fellow at several public policy organizations including the Trans-Atlantic Leadership Network. Contact him at RoffColumns AT gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter and TruthSocial @TheRoffDraft.
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