‘Re-branding’ the GOP means compromise, loss of character

All have heard the saying that art imitates life. The same can be said of politics; however, it is not so much that politics imitates life – it is more of a reflection of what we do, believe and hold dear in our everyday lives that translate into political and economic decisions.

Thus, conservatives will have no home in the state’s Republican Party if Elaine Franklin and her cohorts have their way. For her part, Franklin wishes to ‘re-brand’ the party to mold into her image of what the party should be – not respect the platform voters identify with – in whole or part – throughout the state.

Franklin is the wife of former Senator Bob Packwood, who resigned his Senate seat in 1995 for his sexual abuse and misconduct toward women. She stood by his side during his fall from the Senate, and the two married in 1998. Franklin is a political consultant, who left the GOP several years ago, and is non-affiliated. So why is she determined to change the Republican Party platform?

Last year, The Oregonian published a guest column from Franklin entitled Oregon GOP should drop social issues from the platform. Franklin is entitled to her opinion; however, she left the GOP years ago mainly due to the party’s position on abortion, which calls into question why she would identify as a Republican anyway, when she does not support the platform. There is another party that does not have the same positions on social issues, where Franklin may feel more at home.

Instead, it appears Franklin is on a quest to become relevant and is looking to launch an effort at Cerulean Wine Bar in Portland on Feb. 20 in support of a same-sex ballot measure. She is hoping the organization she is building, Freedom Oregon, will become a beacon of ‘change’ for the GOP, but if Freedom Oregon is truly about ‘freedom,’ then why such dismissal of conservatives, many of whom also identify as gay and others with varying ideas about abortion, illegal immigration and even faith?

Franklin incorrectly asserts that “[t]he function of a party operation is to win general elections.” Then explain what is the point of winning in the general elections if one is not elected to adhere to certain core principles?

Therein lies the reason for so many GOP losses: many candidates want to call themselves a Republican, but they do not want to actually stand for something – especially those pesky positions on ‘social issues’ because it means there might have to be something more substantive than an ‘anything goes’ approach so prevalent in the political cesspool. Considering who Franklin married, that may be at the core of her own misguided ideology and belief system: anything goes. Even principles.

Franklin’s position, and that of many others who wish to ‘fundamentally transform’ the GOP, is synonymous with one identifying themselves as a Christian yet not wanting to actually follow the commands of the faith itself.

The GOP Establishment, or RINOs, actually make the party more vulnerable. The GOP congressional sweeps in 2010 were due to grassroots efforts made by the American people, not the party faithful in the establishment. Though not every conservative won in their districts, many citizen candidates did win, and many who emerged came closer to unseating congressional members of the opposing party than candidates shelled out by the local, state and national GOP establishments in prior elections. But what has made the GOP lose is not conservatives; it has been the progressive contingent of the party, who are dismissive of the people except at election time, who fail to follow through on their promises or stand by key principles held dear by the American people.

In 2006, the GOP lost control of the House as many registered Republicans were disillusioned – and disgusted – with having a majority in both houses of Congress and White House, while nothing was being done to stop spending or act on key issues such as energy independence. Though the Tea Party movement did not begin until 2009, it actually was stirring up long before then as more Republicans, largely conservative, left the party to become Independents, No Party affiliation, constitutionalists and libertarians. In fact, Independents are rising in ranks in every state, and it is a mistake for local and state GOP chapters to assert people are demanding more ‘moderate’ approaches to legislation and the party platform. At one time, it may have been true that Independents trended for more moderate Democrat positions, but the times have changed and conservatives – in BOTH major parties – have found they have no home in their former party. In fact, they are finding they are not wanted at all – except, of course, at election time.

While Franklin and other well-financed establishment machines may want to change the party to suit their wishy-washy approach to policies and perhaps life itself, the times call for principled and solid individuals who possess something called ‘character’ and are unafraid to state their case to constituents. Those who have turned the tide against tyranny and the encroachment of evil upon the lives and liberties of everyday people have not been the faint of heart; after all, what is so significant about a person – or a political party – that stands for nothing?

A party platform distinguishes one political faction from another. To change for the sake of personal whims – and even shortcomings – does nothing to elevate the GOP’s chances for state wins nor does it inspire people to uphold a standard. What it is destined to perform, however, is the ‘fundamental transformation’ (or ‘re-branding’) of a party that once stood on something tangible but became so desperate for an invitation to fancy cocktail parties with its friends across the aisle, it was willing to compromise it’s standards until it became as a prostitute to be used and destroyed.

Should the state’s GOP adopt a one-paragraph platform Franklin can finally stomach, then expect there will be no standard and no character to identify within the future of Oregon’s GOP. Perhaps that scenario is more preferable to someone, who did not hold her husband to a high standard specifically because he, too, has no character.