GOP should not abandon principles after election

By Matthew Bendure

Reading Mr. Blackerby’s column in Monday’s Kernel was one of the more unpleasant experiences I’ve had while reading our university’s newspaper. While I agree with the core of his argument, that the Republican Party needs to make changes in order to stay relevant, most of his comments were completely off the mark and reflected a gross oversight of crucial considerations.

Right from the start Mr. Blackerby demonstrated his ignorance of the situation, stating that Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock “said that if a woman got raped it was because God intended it to happen” and that he was “ashamed” that Mourdock was not “run out of town” by his fellow Republicans. However, if one looks at Mr. Mourdock’s actual remarks, the then candidate stated that, after struggling with the issue for some time, he “came to realize life is a gift from God … I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” While I agree that putting “rape” and “God intended” in the same line is never a wise political move, it would have been even more unwise for the GOP to completely shun Mourdock.

Mr. Mourdock was heavily favored in a traditionally conservative state during a year when every Senate seat was crucial. Although he did end up losing the seat by a moderate margin, 49-45, it was by no means a landslide; the race might have been salvageable if not for persons such as Blackerby twisting Mourdock’s words. The Republican Party did not allow Mr. Mourdock to “create the notion that Republicans are anti-woman,” that was done by overeager journalists hungry for more political banter.

In regards to gay marriage, Mr. Blackerby utterly destroyed any ounce of remaining credibility he may have had. He states, “Religion should have no place in our party’s decision.” I can hardly believe that his party is the same Republican Party of which I am a member. Is Mr. Blackerby aware of the fact that religious conservatives who believe gay marriage is directly against the teachings of the Bible comprise a large portion of our party’s base, and that coming out in favor of it would do irreparable harm to the GOP? While what “two people do in their own homes” may be “none of our business,” to do as Mr. Blackerby did and cast marriage laws purely as an issue of government intervention and individual freedom is ignoring the strong religious ties associated with the word marriage and the deep ideological divide between those supporting and opposing gay marriage.

Looking finally at his comments on immigration, I was again appalled at his misunderstanding of the situation. He repeatedly recommends putting the focus first on securing the borders, ignoring the fact that Romney did just this, saying America should “field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence, and implement an improved exit verification system.” He then continues to ramble about allowing illegal immigrants to stay in America, ignoring any and all disadvantages to those who follow the legal path and failing to address any of the multitude of concerns accompanying illegal immigration, repeating we should “let them stay” to win “at least some Hispanic votes.” Sounds like a plan.

Instead of dwelling on blunders and pointing fingers at specific politicians and policies, the GOP must look at its standings on social issues and see where changes must be made. The need to win Hispanic votes is clear, and some softening on immigration may be required. As public opinion become more favorable to gay marriage a move toward promoting civil unions and more rights for gay couples may be necessary.

Considering the issue’s divisiveness abortion will always be an issue, and Republicans must remember these sharp divides and handle the issue with greater care in the future. However, in the short term the GOP’s greatest concern and focus should not be in social issues that are largely decided by states and courts. Instead Republicans should focus on continuing to fight for the economic liberty and independence, which has allowed our country to prosper, and for the independence that has been and will continue to be jeopardized by our current president.