The GOP Needs Candidates with Backbone

While recently attending a candidate forum, I heard a prominent Republican candidate answer a question about gay marriage with the declaration, "I don't think the government should have anything to do with marriage."

Huh?

Fellow Republicans, let us be clear: The government has a whole lot to do with marriage. After all, we do not purchase marriage licenses at our local 7-11, but instead receive them from a government office -- and only after governmental officials have received the proper fees and documentation to certify the marriage. In fact, if we were to view a California License and Certificate of Marriage, we would see the uppercase words STATE OF CALIFORNIA at the top of document, followed later by the words (again in uppercase) AUTHORIZATION AND LICENSE IS HEREBY GIVEN TO ANY PERSON DULY AUTHORIZED BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. Surely, we can agree that the issuing of marriage licenses is as much a governmental function as the issuing of California driver's licenses.

Did the aforementioned candidate, a former California legislator, not know that marriage and government intersect at some point? I doubt it. Why then, did he answer the way he did? I believe that the reason can be narrowed down to one of two options: Either he is undecided on the issue, or he is hiding something. Neither option attracts voters.

If a candidate is undecided on an issue that has been a news item for more than ten years and that has been the basis for two statewide propositions and several high-profile court cases, then the voter views the candidate as indecisive. And indecisive is not what a voter seeks when selecting his representatives. After all, voters send their representatives to Sacramento to weigh carefully California's issues and then to vote on them. They do not send representatives to Sacramento (or to Washington, D.C., as the case may be) to engage in "cafeteria legislating," whereby they pick and choose the legislation they will vote on. The voter understands that bills are placed before legislators and that decisions must be made. Hence, indecisive candidates repel rather than attract votes.

Let us examine the second possibility: The candidate has made a decision regarding gay marriage but hesitates to declare publicly what his decision is. This too drives away voters. After all, good citizens view the act of voting as a solemn obligation -- as a privilege that our Founding Fathers fought very hard to obtain. Consequently, they do not wish to cast their votes for "strangers hiding dark secrets." Instead, voters prefer candidates who state their positions and then vote accordingly. 

Now, some may argue that Democrat candidates are often duplicitous in their campaigning -- if not downright misleading. This may be true, but let us never forget that Democrat candidates have a weapon in their arsenal that conservative candidates lack -- namely, Democrat candidates may "buy votes." That is, Democrat candidates can campaign on promises of exorbitant unemployment benefits, free health care, complimentary school lunches, free college education, etc. Such promises are too tempting to pass up for those voters seeking cradle-to-grave security. And to top it off, socialist-type promises allure the votes of Utopian-minded independents. With such a steady stream of votes, Democrat candidates may run sloppier campaigns than GOP candidates -- without repelling needed voters.

So what are we Republicans to do? I believe that we are to be a party of courage and conviction rather than a party of wimps. Let us examine issues, take stands on them, and then have the courage to announce what it is we believe. Let's stop beating around the bush, playing politics as usual, and grow a backbone. Will we lose voters for the stands we take? In some cases, yes. But ultimately, we will gain voters and members to our party because we will be viewed less as the party of fuzzy nondescripts and more as the party of fearless leaders who have the resolve to make decisions and the decency to tell potential voters what it is we've decided.

The GOP can go the way of the dodo bird in California, or it can save itself from certain extinction (as a viable party, that is). But it can do so only if it stands proudly and puts forth conservative candidates who have the courage of Cato and the virtue of Cicero. The Republican Party has a lot to offer to California. Let's realize it and proudly stand before the electorate, bravely declaring our stands on issues and the rationale behind them.
While recently attending a candidate forum, I heard a prominent Republican candidate answer a question about gay marriage with the declaration, "I don't think the government should have anything to do with marriage."

Huh?

Fellow Republicans, let us be clear: The government has a whole lot to do with marriage. After all, we do not purchase marriage licenses at our local 7-11, but instead receive them from a government office -- and only after governmental officials have received the proper fees and documentation to certify the marriage. In fact, if we were to view a California License and Certificate of Marriage, we would see the uppercase words STATE OF CALIFORNIA at the top of document, followed later by the words (again in uppercase) AUTHORIZATION AND LICENSE IS HEREBY GIVEN TO ANY PERSON DULY AUTHORIZED BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. Surely, we can agree that the issuing of marriage licenses is as much a governmental function as the issuing of California driver's licenses.

Did the aforementioned candidate, a former California legislator, not know that marriage and government intersect at some point? I doubt it. Why then, did he answer the way he did? I believe that the reason can be narrowed down to one of two options: Either he is undecided on the issue, or he is hiding something. Neither option attracts voters.

If a candidate is undecided on an issue that has been a news item for more than ten years and that has been the basis for two statewide propositions and several high-profile court cases, then the voter views the candidate as indecisive. And indecisive is not what a voter seeks when selecting his representatives. After all, voters send their representatives to Sacramento to weigh carefully California's issues and then to vote on them. They do not send representatives to Sacramento (or to Washington, D.C., as the case may be) to engage in "cafeteria legislating," whereby they pick and choose the legislation they will vote on. The voter understands that bills are placed before legislators and that decisions must be made. Hence, indecisive candidates repel rather than attract votes.

Let us examine the second possibility: The candidate has made a decision regarding gay marriage but hesitates to declare publicly what his decision is. This too drives away voters. After all, good citizens view the act of voting as a solemn obligation -- as a privilege that our Founding Fathers fought very hard to obtain. Consequently, they do not wish to cast their votes for "strangers hiding dark secrets." Instead, voters prefer candidates who state their positions and then vote accordingly. 

Now, some may argue that Democrat candidates are often duplicitous in their campaigning -- if not downright misleading. This may be true, but let us never forget that Democrat candidates have a weapon in their arsenal that conservative candidates lack -- namely, Democrat candidates may "buy votes." That is, Democrat candidates can campaign on promises of exorbitant unemployment benefits, free health care, complimentary school lunches, free college education, etc. Such promises are too tempting to pass up for those voters seeking cradle-to-grave security. And to top it off, socialist-type promises allure the votes of Utopian-minded independents. With such a steady stream of votes, Democrat candidates may run sloppier campaigns than GOP candidates -- without repelling needed voters.

So what are we Republicans to do? I believe that we are to be a party of courage and conviction rather than a party of wimps. Let us examine issues, take stands on them, and then have the courage to announce what it is we believe. Let's stop beating around the bush, playing politics as usual, and grow a backbone. Will we lose voters for the stands we take? In some cases, yes. But ultimately, we will gain voters and members to our party because we will be viewed less as the party of fuzzy nondescripts and more as the party of fearless leaders who have the resolve to make decisions and the decency to tell potential voters what it is we've decided.

The GOP can go the way of the dodo bird in California, or it can save itself from certain extinction (as a viable party, that is). But it can do so only if it stands proudly and puts forth conservative candidates who have the courage of Cato and the virtue of Cicero. The Republican Party has a lot to offer to California. Let's realize it and proudly stand before the electorate, bravely declaring our stands on issues and the rationale behind them.

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