We all remember the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher, that muffled, mumbling sound no one could much listen to for longer.
That’s the way just about every Republican candidate sounds these days. Ronald Reagan was great. I am a conservative not a moderate. I can recite my poll tested talking points with the best of them, hopefully with more money.
As Arizona holds its State GOP Convention this Saturday in Tempe we should ask ourselves is it time for a change?
For nearly thirty years Republicans have been wedded to this model. It’s boring and increasingly ineffectual.
Interestingly, there have been detours. And they have been successful.
George W. Bush developed his own “compassionate conservative” vernacular and won an election he was not expected to in 2000.
There was John McCain in the primaries that same year riding his railings against the campaign finance system to an upset victory in New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney didn’t really develop anything new on the message front. He was boring. And lost.
We see glimpses of a new agenda from Rand Paul and Paul Ryan.
But as we look to the future a voice from the past, perhaps even more hopeful and innovative than Reagan himself can serve as a model.
He was Jack Kemp. He of Buffalo. He of the inner city message. He who took that message to the most challenged places believing there was so much more that Republicanism could deliver than the blame game and clever defeatism offered by the opposing party.
So where is our Jack Kemp, in Arizona or across the country? Who among a strong crop of 2014 GOP gubernatorial candidates will capture imagination by proposing creatively and differently?
From schools to AIDS to the underprivileged to solar to crime to drugs to tourism to so many issues a re-imagined Republican philosophy could remain faithful to the faithful yet ignite passion from new constituencies.
If only someone could see the need and value of driving the debate rather than just following it with complacent consultants and the political industrial complex of pollsters. The good news is that someone will.