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Posted by on Sep 1, 2012 in 2012 Elections, Politics | 4 comments

Let’s Agree to Win (Guest Voice)

Olle Johansson, Sweden

Let’s Agree to Win
by Michael Reagan

We can win in November with ease.

All Mitt Romney and Republicans need to do is follow the GOP’s script from the historic midterm elections of 2010.

In case you’ve forgotten, 2010 wasn’t just a Republican wave. It was a tsunami. The GOP gained 63 seats in the House and six in the Senate, plus they picked up five governorships and a record 680 seats in state legislatures.

Republicans won in every corner of America for one important reason — the election was about the economy, not social issues.

Independents and Democrats swung to the GOP because they had lost their jobs, lost their houses and had already lost hope in President Obama’s ability to fix anything bigger than a parking ticket in Chicago.

The tea party deserves most of the credit for the conservative counterrevolution of 2010. It was their principles, passion and energy that rejuvenated the Republican Party, dethroned so many Democrats and scared the liberal media.

But it may surprise you that it was the tea party’s use of Reaganesque campaign tactics that made so many Republican wins possible.

Despite its reputation, the tea party is not as ideologically stubborn or politically suicidal as the mainstream media like to think and pray it is. It knows that what unites Americans is the economy and what divides us are issues such as abortion.

Two years ago, the tea party realized that stressing economic issues was the key to uniting Republicans and attracting independent voters.

It also knew it was important for Republicans to downplay divisive social issues like abortion, gay marriage and contraception. (Everyone knows where the party stands on those issues. It’s time to win the General Election the primaries are over.)

For example, I give a lot of speeches around the country on behalf of the tea party. One of the unwritten directives from the tea party’s bosses to me and other speakers is this line: “Please don’t talk about social issues.”

That’s smart politics. We were speaking to fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, libertarian conservatives. When we spoke, we spoke only about things that brought everyone in the room together — and that was the economy.

That’s the way my father Ronald Reagan thought. He always looked for areas of agreement. He’d ask, “Where do we agree? How can I bring people together in that agreement and move the ball forward? Let’s not try to find the areas where we disagree.”

We can’t risk getting ourselves tied up in debates over social issues. Look at what happened when one obscure congressman from Missouri said something insensitive and stupid about rape or pregnancy.

The Democrats and their soul mates in the liberal media feasted on it and the Romney campaign had to spend a week denouncing Todd Akin instead of Obama’s failed economic policies. That’s exactly what Democrats and Obama want Republicans to talk about — social issues.

I am pro-life. But when the GOP insists on putting a hard-line position on abortion into its party platform, all it does is force Republicans to spend time in the media defending the platform instead of debating the economy.

If we wanted to be truly Reaganesque this year, we should have used the wording that prefaced the abortion plank in 1980. It recognized that the Republican Party was a big tent, saying that “we recognize differing views on this question among Americans in general — and in our own party.”

The 2012 platform’s abortion plank brooks no dissent and leaves no room in the tent for pro-choice Republicans like Condoleezza Rice. It takes the position that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”

We should let the Catholic Church debate the social issues while Republicans concentrate on debating the economy and jobs. Because that’s where we all agree — and that’s where we win.

Copyright ©2012 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at and Send comments to [email protected]

  • cjjack

    There is some truth here, buried in the usual Michael “Did I Mention My Father is Ronald?” Reagan rhetoric, but more on that in a moment.

    The tsunami that hit in 2010 was not a GOP revolution. It was a populist, anti incumbent anti establishment movement that certain members of the GOP managed (rather brilliantly) to co-opt and corrupt. By taking over the Tea Party, the GOP effectively killed the goose and then broke the golden egg. The Republicans who rode the wave into office are now just exactly as unpopular and distrusted as those they unseated.

    Reagan really misses the mark when he claims social issues like abortion and gay marriage aren’t important to the Tea Party folks. Perhaps those issues don’t come up as often when Mr. Reagan is speaking to those audiences because – as he said about the GOP – there is no debate on those issues. If anything, the Tea Party is more rabidly anti-abortion and anti gay marraige as their Older, Grander fellow travellers.

    The truth that Reagan inadverently stumbled upon is that the GOP can’t win if they keep hammering away at social issues. Not because the economy is so much more important, but because their stands on those issues are far outside the American mainstream, and the gap is growing.

    Most Americans aren’t on board with a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. Most Americans disagree with the GOP’s stand with regards to exceptions for rape and incest when it comes to abortion. Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of access to birth control.

    What Reagan really wants to tell his Republican cohorts is “let’s hide our positions on social issues. Bury our views on women, gays, and religion as deeply as possible and hope nobody notices until after the election.” He bemoans the fact that the GOP platform takes a hard line on social issues, making defense of that platform politically inconvenient, but if that is truly where the party stands on these issues, shouldn’t they be willing and even proud to defend these things?

    I think the answer is obvious. They know that standing up for these principles is a losing proposition come November, and they’d rather win than stand up for what they believe in.

  • ShannonLeee

    I hear you cj, but the rep party is nothing without the social conservatives. There are simply not enough rich people in america to keep them in office.

  • StockBoyLA

    Many social issues are directly intertwined with the economic issues, such as welfare, Medicare, unemployment benefits, etc. The GOP wants to lower taxes on the rich and create a favorable economic environment for job creation and in order to pay for that they want to slash social programs. The truth is that there hasn’t been a time like the present in decades (at least) that is so pro-business… whether it is due to tax reductions (which are lower than they have been in decades for businesses) and less environmental regulations (both, by the way largely the result of the Bush administration). And of course borrowing rates for loans are at historic lows. In fact businesses are doing so well that they are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash, an all-time high.

    Yet the Republicans still claim that businesses need more money. The truth is that businesses need the confidence that the economy will pick up and continue to grow. This will allow businesses to hire people. And the way to do this is to get more people to spend, which is why unemployment benefits, government spending on infrastructure, etc. is so important. If the rich and businesses were taxed at the same rates as they were under President Reagan, there would be more government spending and more people employed. With a lower unemployment rate businesses would hire more people. This is proven to work. The Republican policies are proven to fail. The only way the Republicans can retain power is to tell lies about the Democratic Party being filled with communists and the only way out of the situation is for a “return” to “American values”. What else explains why the Republicans are against one of their own biggest plans…. Obamacare? They were for it until a Democratic president passed it, then they were against it. Just like the Republicans are attacking Dems on all manner of other things… which the Republicans supported when they had all the power.

    And (in agreement with ShannonLee) the Republican Party needs to bring up social issues to further instill fear in the minds of middle-class Americans to get them to vote for Republicans so Republicans can force everyone to live by their rules and they way want others to live.

  • slamfu

    Did I read that article correctly? Mike Reagan is basically saying the GOP needs to dial it back a bit? I think he needs to be denounced for the socially liberal socialist that he so obviously is.

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