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The National Council for a New America, the much-publicized GOP rebranding initiative, is already facing skepticism from the party's old allies. The Family Research Council, a powerful Christian conservative group, sent out a scathing press release hitting the Council's avoidance of cultural issues.
The effort only underscores the Republicans' present identity crisis, as the GOP leadership kicked off the campaign devoid of the values that once caused voters to identify with the party.
The group's priorities, which were unveiled at a pizza parlor press conference, include the economy, health care, education, energy, and national security. Notice anything conspicuously absent? Former Gov. Jeb Bush explained the values void by saying it was time for the GOP to give up its "nostalgia" for Reagan-era ideas and look forward to new "relevant" ideas. (Yes, because that worked so well for Republicans in 2006 and 2008!) Bush ignored the fact that abandoning the array of principles that Reagan espoused is exactly what got the GOP into this mess. No one is suggesting that we try living in the past, but President Reagan's principles are the ones that guided our nation from its very inception. Turning away from those fundamental truths would be a death knell for the GOP as little would be left to distinguish the Republicans from the Democrats.
Too many Republicans leaders are running scared on the claims of the Left and the media that social conservatism is a dead-end for the GOP. If that were the case, why are pro-family leaders like Mike Huckabee creating such excitement in the conservative base? The Republican establishment doesn't draw a crowd. Governor Sarah Palin does. Also, take a look at the recent Pew Research poll, which showed overall support for abortion in America has dropped eight percentage points in the last year and support for it among moderate and liberal Republicans has dropped a whopping 24%. Based on that, how can the GOP suggest that life is a losing issue? If there were a road sign for the GOP on this new journey, it would read: Welcome to the wilderness. You're going to be there for awhile.
UPDATE: Mike Huckabee has joined in.
It is a sad day when our party comes to the point where we think it is necessary to form a "listening group" to find out what Americans think we should be fighting for. Our problem is not lack of "experts," but too many of them and not enough attention to the hard working people in our communities that aren't connected to the Beltway, but to the heartland. I am very disappointed that one of the initial comments from the group was that we need to "get past Reagan.". Frankly the party was in pretty good shape then and can be again, but Ronald Reagan didn't summarily dismiss Values Voters like this new group of "experts" has by not listing any of the issues that still matter to many of those common Americans this group wants to listen to. The American people spoke loud and clear during the past election cycle, they want change, but not in our principles, but rather our actions in those principles. We are a strong party when we stick to our core values of smaller government with less, but more sensible regulation, lower taxes, traditional marriage, and when we are a party that values life more than anything else.
"Eric reached out to Governor Huckabee, appreciates his efforts as a leader in our nation and he looks forward to remaining in close communication with all leaders," a spokesman told Greg Sargent. He added that social issues would be a focus of the new group, making it increasingly similar to the old group. "All issues, all topics, and all ideas will be included in the dialogue that the National Council for a New America will have."