Big Tent vs Little Tent

First off I am not a Nassour backer, nor have I come on board with McCarthy. I do believe that a healthy discussion about the best way forward for the state Republican Party needs to happen before the election of the next chairman. I did not agree with the “rising tide lifts all boats” philosophy employed by Jenn in 2010. The faucet hose of party resources was aimed at the Baker/Tisei campaign, while the Congressional and lower ticket statewide candidates for office were given a dribble. The State House and Senate candidates were given an empty canteen and marched out into the Syrian Desert. Thus, a poorly run campaign received all of the help, and better ran campaigns received little, if any.

Jenn shouldn’t be able to have it both ways. She can’t claim credit for Brown, Ross, and the pickup in the House, while claiming the state party chair had nothing to do with the Congressional, Auditor, Treasurer, and State Senate losses. Should she be tossed out? I’m not sure about that either. Walsh wasn’t tossed back in January by the Dems. He learned what went wrong and rebuilt the parties ground machine. We need someone to counter the Walsh plan, and outflank him in 2012.

Those of you that want to go on the Great Massachusetts RINO hunt of 2011 are ignorant of WHO wins in this state. Weld, Cellucci, Blute, Torkildsen, Romey, and Brown were not social conservatives. the last social conservative to garner the majority of votes in this state was Reagan.  

Reagan is a great example of a big tent coalition. He was an unabashed social conservative and won over the Goldwater crowd. However, Reagan also knew that in order to win, he couldn’t scare moderates away. This practicality allowed him to appeal to boll weevil Democrats and stay at home moms. The statewide candidates in 2010 could not make this same bridge, and we lost as a result. Reagan won Massachusetts TWICE. Carter and Mondale were left to only progressive and liberal backers as independents flocked to Reagan. How can we then expect to win if only Conservatives in Massachusetts vote for Republicans while every one else votes for the Democratic ticket?

Ronald Reagan ain’t walking through that door, and there is no “next” Regan on the horizon. We need to be the ones to build that coalition. We cannot do it by having a litmus test for candidates or shrinking the party.

The small tent crowd that wants to take a sharp turn to the right points to the Republican wave across America in 2010 that could not crest the Great Wall of Cambridge. The small tent crowd points out that more conservative candidates won in other states in 2010. They are either foolhardy or ignorant if they believe that can happen in 2012 in Massachusetts. The conservative and Tea Party candidates won in states in which there was a previous heavy Republican presence. Voters had been accustomed to voting Republican. The discussion in 2010 was over WHICH Republican. This is an ENTIRELY different argument than exists in Massachusetts. Once we have reached a point in which the majority of statewide, congressional and state legislative offices are held by Republicans, THEN we can have that discussion.

Playoffs? You’re talking about Playoffs? Playoffs? I just want to win a game!

The finger pointing (and flipping) both here on RMG and in the media is outrageous. Liberals/and Progressives hold their nose for the Susan Bumps of the world while voting for Deval/Frank etc. That is why they win. We need a great plan, and we ALL need to be on-board. We need RTCs that are made up of active volunteers that are willing to go to the mat for ALL of the candidates on the ticket. We can’t have people voting one way for Senator, and then voting Dem for Congress, State Senate, and House. We can’t look like a bunch of monkeys screwing a football if we want to gain more seats in 2012.

I’m willing to consider who can can come up with this game plan, and (more importantly) who can follow through on it. The Baker/Tisei ticket was the most left leaning Republican ticket in history and it lost. The Bay Windows crowd will NEVER vote Republican. Instead of chasing after liberals and progressives, let’s concentrate on shoring up Conservatives of all ilk and winning over independents and moderates. We need to recruit great candidates staring NOW, give them resources and fundraiser help. This is how we can win, and what needs to be done. And whomever is the party chair going forward I hope realizes this.

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing”

About Jefferson Nix

  • Republican Ram Rod Radio

    Boll Weevil – Boll weevils was an American political term used in the mid- and late-20th century to describe conservative Southern Democrats …

    Thanks Jefferson Nix!

  •    That is what I’ve been trying to say for the past year.  

  • noted between voting Republican and BEING Republican.  The national Party has shown me very little over my voting years.  Wedge issues don’t matter much to me.  I care about the Constitution, and national Republicans have fogotten their oaths of office and have acted outside their Constitutional bounds….if not blatantly violated it at times.

    Saying “We’ve seen the error in our ways…..won’t you join and vote for us” is pathetic.

    MA GOP……should worry more about getting Republicsns elected and less on increasing Party membership.  There are plenty of us conservative-minded non-Party voters out here.

    ….and if you let tiny-tent jackasses take hold and get power in the State Party, you will shun the non-affiliated majority.

  • … it is inspiration.

    People can change leadership, rearrange parts, reform committees, work with the ‘Xs and Os’, all important, but uts still just operational stuff.

    Dems dont win because they have a better operation than us. They win because they insipre more voters and have larger ranks.

    Look at history and Rockefeller Republicans are extinct. They have been wiped off the map. They have failed and given liberals nearly free reign in the Northeast.

    An administrative party will never beat and ideological party because it will never match its intensity, passion and purpose.

    The ‘half stepping, wishy washy, we are not the other guys, convictionless, we’re better managers, we’ll save you a few bucks’ mealy type of campaigns are the problem

  • edfactor

    Mr Nix –

    I agree with what you have said. I believe that the MassGOP leadership did not do well in the elections, based on the races they supported, which is a subset of all who ran. That being said, there is not much support they can throw to any race, as they are few in number and have little money. However, not everything they do is around campaigns.

    You are also correct that the “narrow tent” people have no persuasive arguments about how to win, only how to lose with the most number of fundamental positions.

    I would add that the country, and Massachusetts, has changed since Reagan was president. I do not believe he would win here now.

    As far as who has the game plan, I would offer this: politics is driven by people and events more than parties. Yes, parties can improve their infrastructure and operations, and Chairwoman Nassour says this is a priority for her. (She should be judged on things like that.) It will be people, and not party members, who will show how to win as Republicans. However, I agree with you that these future leaders will be “big tent” people.

    I would add/disagree on one more thing. I think the MassGOP should handle the big/little tent problem in a different way: declare that only a few issues are important, and the rest will not be relevant to being Republican. So, for example, the MassGOP might say that government reform (size, pensions, purpose), reduction of regulations, and education reform are the issues we are about, and everything else isn’t that important. That would be “big tent” insomuch as it would let a lot of people to join with different beliefs about everything else.

    However, Mr. Yankee is correct that organizations draw followers because of their commitment to beliefs and how much they ask of members. We would have to be passionate and inspirational about that limited number of beliefs, in order to make up for the fact that we do not “believe” in a large number of things, designed to appeal to many constituencies.

    I think Reagan is instructive in this case. His broad appeal, in my opinion, was based on a lot of people liking a few things about him. We need to do something similar. We need to find a few things that many Republicans, and most independents, would agree with, and let everything else go. That will create a big enough tent to win.

  • Put short, I believe that the MassGOP – an RNC – ultimately need to be a very big tent but one that is not shy to have solidly defined, even richly diverse tent poles that are solidly anchored by the tent pegs of a common conservatism.

    Where you decide to stand under the tent & how much you intend to socialize but you should be covered by the tent & realize what’s keeping it from caving in.