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“There are tens of millions of pro-choice Republicans that are just as good Republicans as I am, and we need to support them. That’s what party building is about, and don’t think that is giving up your principles.”
– Haley Barbour testing the waters for 2012

No doubt this is encouraging, but are base Republicans really ready to listen to this? Especially the highly religious, pro life base. To them abortion is akin to genocide and since it took the GOP decades to wedge those voters to the polls year after year, there’s little likelihood they’ll be able to back away from that play and convince them to focus on other issues.

Here’s more from Barbour…

Party building is about addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division, Barbour said at a party fundraiser in Des Moines. The GOP must be inclusive, he argued, and that idea extends to even the most divisive political issues. To make his point, Barbour pointed out that he helped pass several anti-abortion bills as governor, eventually garnering his state the reputation as “the safest place in the nation for an unborn child.” But he said there are good Republicans who don’t agree with him on the issue. […]

But if Iowa’s GOP wants to have any chance of defeating an incumbent, it must stick together. The party should also strive to be inclusive, Barbour said, adding that the need to build coalitions and to attract voters means it is not the time to focus on “purity.”

“There are a lot more things that unite us than do divide us,” Barbour said. “Or as President Reagan used to say, remember that a fellow that agrees with you 80 percent of the time is your friend. He’s not some 20-percent traitor.”

Well put. But does anybody really think they’ll be able to turn it around by 2012?

Me neither.

2 COMMENTS

  1. To be honest, I don’t know, part of me thinks it might be possible if they can find a dynamic leader. Another Reagan perhaps, or some other figure who can at least get the functioning ideas of the GOP out there. Before recently I had begun to think that Obama might serve as a liberal Reagan (IE serving as a focusing force within the party and a unifying agent) but recent actions have made me hope that it isn’t the case.

    But, on the main topic if the GOP is capable of uniting then they need to work out what issues they’re going to make their primary focus. Seeing as unless they do so they risk either a schism within the party or they risk a third party becoming the new dominant force in the land.

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