REPUBLICAN PARTY OF VIRGINIA ADVANCE
DECEMBER 15, 2018
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am John Norton Moore and it is an honor and a pleasure to again serve the Republican Party of Virginia as a moderator of a breakout session “Winning Strategies for a Changing Virginia.”
Our Party has had disappointing results in recent years. Failure to carry the State for our Presidential candidates, loss of the Governorship, loss of our Senate seats, loss of important Congressional seats, and the thinnest of majorities in the State legislature. Indeed, our Republican Party has not won a statewide election since 2009. And the recent trends are not encouraging. To use two statewide races as an example, Ed Gillespie, an excellent candidate, lost his 2014 Senate race by less than 20,000 votes. But he lost his 2017 Governorship race by over 230,000 votes. In part these losses reflect changing demographics in Virginia, with younger and more liberal voters being added in suburbia and northern Virginia. The shocking events in Charlottesville, and a controversial Republican President, have also played a role. But, whatever the reasons, this great Party must regroup and restore its winning ways. We owe it to ourselves and to our Nation. For this Great Nation is in trouble. We have a tilt toward full blown socialism in one of our major parties, deep divisions among our citizenry, and critical foreign policy and national security challenges as great as any in our lifetimes
Importantly, regrouping does not mean abandoning the fundamental principles for which our Party stands. The American Constitution, individual freedoms, limited government, lower taxes, a strong economy, federalism, national security, and opportunity for all, are as important for America as they are central for our Party. Further, that strong business friendly Republican economy did help in the midterm elections; of the voters who said their family financial situation was better than two years ago, 77% voted Republican. But the economy alone was not enough. We must reach out more effectively in the articulation of the crucial issues affecting America and sharing our message that it is the Republican agenda which moves the country forward. Ours’ is the real agenda of hope which lifts up all Americans; but we must make this reality the mental image of every 22 year old Millennial on hearing our Party name. The Democratic Party’s “old thinking” tax and spend program promises a future of European socialism, not of American freedom. But it has misled millions of citizens to believe that the Democratic Party, rather than the Republican Party, is the party of heart.
Regrouping does mean articulating the Republican message for the Millennial Generation, the largest generation in American history; a generation which finds Facebook its primary source of news and information. And it means more effectively articulating the Republican message for women, minorities, Reagan Democrats, and our close kin of Libertarians; including issues which resonate broadly with these groups.
It also means developing effective positions on issues of broad national concern such as healthcare. At the time of the critical vote to repeal Obamacare, only 13% of Americans supported repeal without replacing it with a better system. Dominance of the issues, in all their complexity, is critical. I have left in the back of the room a paper entitled “Issue Suggestions for Republican Candidates.” This paper includes illustrative proposals, such as that for “Social Security Optionality” which would dramatically increase the wealth of working Americans, that for low cost medical insurance which would free insurance companies to offer nationally a low cost plan of preventative and major medical insurance for healthy Americans, an exciting effort to focus on cure for diseases rather than simply access to healthcare, criminal justice reform to end the national blight of too many Americans in jail while more effectively reducing crime, and programs for business tax credits to provide offsets against student loan forgiveness for educational choices leading to nationally needed skills, as well as for businesses which make child care available for employees.
Regrouping means that we must be understood as supportive of the environment; without, of course, the extremism extant in the Democratic Party. We should remember that it was the Republican Party under President Richard Nixon which initiated leadership on the environment, and with over fourteen major pieces of green legislation no Administration since has had as strong a record of environmental achievement. In 1970 alone the Nixon Administration enacted the landmark Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Air Act and established the Environmental Protection Agency. Subsequently, the Nixon Administration enacted the Clean Water Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The Republican heritage on the environment is a proud heritage. We do not, however, become the choice of Millennials by denying the broad based science of “global warming” and otherwise turning our back on our environmental heritage. Nor do we serve the Nation in doing so. But our Party is critically needed in reining in “the environment” as a religion; instead insisting on rational cost/benefit assessment in policy responses to “global warming” and other environmental choices we face. That is also where a majority of Americans are to be found. They are neither environmental deniers nor radical greens, but instead supporters of sensible environmental policies.
Regrouping means that we must be understood as the Party of good governance. We should work to restore the committee system in the Congress of the United States rather than a legislature working principally by massive “omnibus” bills. We should work to end the shameful votes on the budget limit after the Congress has already spent the money; votes which triggered a credit downgrade of our sovereign debt. We should support term limits to rein in career politicians. And we should simplify the process for governmental appointments so that new administrations are not half over before critical positions are filled.
Regrouping also means redoubling Party efforts to find and encourage able candidates, as well as expanding the Party base in Universities and in communities across Virginia. America can be proud that over 100 women were elected to the House of Representatives this year, the largest number in history. But more of these women, and of minority men and women, should be Republicans Our party, the Party of Abraham Lincoln, must be the party of all Americans, regardless of ethnicity or gender. We must also cultivate a strong base in every community in Virginia; for ultimately all politics is local.
In concluding this introduction, our goal should be not only a winning Virginia Republican Party, but a Virginia Republican Party leading our Party and our Nation.