It is an unfortunate misperception, fueled primarily by sensationalistic media, that Republicans today are slavish devotees of politicians who are either vapid or despicable. The truth, if anyone …
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It is an unfortunate misperception, fueled primarily by sensationalistic media, that Republicans today are slavish devotees of politicians who are either vapid or despicable. The truth, if anyone wishes to discover it, is a little more complex if you investigate matters thoroughly. Republicans cannot be labeled narrowly because they are a broad group.
In Jefferson County alone there are over 100,000 registered Republicans with broad and diverse opinions. You should hear from me, as just one, not only why I became a Republican but remain a Republican. The first President I remember well was Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was committed to a smaller government, lower taxes and a strong national defense. He achieved two of those three goals while he was president. Those goals inspired me. The simplicity by which those goals were expressed were understandable. He articulated a victory strategy for the Cold War to an aide once, “We win they lose.” What also inspired me was that the unspoken realization that what Reagan achieved as president was meant for all Americans without exception. All Americans benefited from what Ronald Reagan did. That was President Reagan’s intention. He really wanted to help the forgotten American. Some goals were left unfinished like protection for the unborn. However, the help that President Reagan successfully delivered on did not exclude anyone. He believed in this country and everyone in it. His power as president was the means in order to uplift all Americans and achieve a noble end.
Ronald Reagan was not perfect-no one is. His private faults and failure to address certain issues caused concern for some. In my opinion, the tremendous good that President Reagan accomplished in office far outweighed any failures or shortcomings of his. While there will never be another Ronald Reagan, it is to figures that are Reagan like that the GOP must look towards in order to regain the White House and Congress.
So what would Ronald Reagan do today? If he was campaigning for office, he would not have been afraid to face independent voters because he had that much confidence in the appeal of his agenda to them. Ronald Reagan knew that you are known by the company you keep therefore you had to be careful of those whom you associated yourself with because they dilute your appeal. Ronald Reagan would have appealed to all Americans who recognize that freedom from government tyranny, the rights of the individual and fiscally responsible government are timeless principles that are consequential to everyone.
The Republican party is much more than just the activists in the party leadership. It is ordinary voters that vote for Republican candidates and donate funds to those candidates. The ordinary voters still remember President Reagan and his message. Activists would do well to remember that ordinary voters render the ultimate verdict on the GOP. It is because of ordinary voters and many others who remember the broad and wide appealing vision of President Reagan that I remain a Republican. I also remain because sometimes ephemeral movements arise that are popular for a time. They are popular because they appeal to segments.
But lasting and enduring popularity bases its’ appeals to everyone without exception like President Reagan did. For the Republican party to build its’ future it does not need to look to the past but, rather, it should remember what is timeless. The unfinished vision of President Reagan to not only build but maintain America as “the shining city on the hill” is the best place to begin.
Joe Webb is the former chairman of the Jeffco Republican party.
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