Republicans: You Gotta Have Hope
"You gotta have hope; mustn't sit around and mope." -- "Damn Yankees"
Sitting in the room at the Jack Kemp Leadership Award dinner, listening to Senator
It was a "back to the future" moment as the mostly, but not exclusively, conservative gathering considered the optimism that defined Kemp, the late Buffalo congressman, former vice presidential candidate, HUD secretary and enterprise zone promoter. At my table were two African-American Republicans who answered the familiar question about how Republicans can win a larger percentage of the minority vote. "Just show up," said one, who works as a Republican staffer on
Kemp showed up, visiting public housing and other places Republicans often refer to disparagingly. Shootings sometimes occur there, you know, and drugs. You hear about it on the local news.
When Rubio spoke about these forgotten (by Republicans) Americans, the waiters paused for a moment to listen. Rubio mentioned his parents who came to America with little and worked in the "service industry" so they could provide for their children, who have turned out well.
Rubio's message was an appeal that goes beyond cable TV sound bites and white America. Kemp didn't view America in categories. Neither did he identify them with hyphens. He saw the potential for one America in which race and class would be complementary, not divisive. If Republicans are looking for an example of how this works out practically, they can rewind to the 1988
Republicans remain nostalgic for
Republican principles work, but they must be shown to work, not just talked about, if they are to be embraced by people who now reject them because Republicans don't "show up" like
Moses led the ancient Israelites out of
Republicans need to start "singing" from this songbook. Hope and a positive attitude are the keys to anyone's success, including a political party.
Cal Thomas is a conservative American syndicated columnist and author syndicated in over 550 newspapers and is heard on over 300 radio stations
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