The Sacramento Bee has a column today about the Republican party and its need to show it “cares about people”. There are any number of analyses since the November election about how the party can reform itself. At this point, I have not seen the exact right “silver bullet” theory that in my mind would turn the GOP ship around. In this column today, I was struck by the reference to Jack Kemp, at which point I think the author made some of his strongest points:
When Jack Kemp was on the national stage he addressed the real issues of poverty in our country, and once again, it is time for this debate. The real issues of poverty are the focus of resources on the people who actually need them, communities so lacking in resources that the ladder of opportunity is not stable, and crimes or unethical business practices that happen only because the people being disadvantaged are not in a position to negotiate or draw political attention.
While many of Kemp’s proposals proved to be too costly, he forced Republicans to critically think about an issue that affects millions of Americans.
Any debated policy that impacts the lives of millions of Americans is most likely good politics. A serious discussion and policy proposals aimed at reducing poverty will give Republicans the opportunity to break the stereotype that they are only for the rich. This is a path based on principle that also allows the Republican Party and its leaders to move into demographic areas it needs to win elections.
Read the rest of the column here.
There are some real opportunities here for this effort to show the Republican party “cares about people”. The Republican party has always had the right position on welfare reform. The idea is to reform the system so that those who are able and willing can return to work. Instead, the system cripples those with initiative or desire. The welfare system needs to be looked at as an investment in a future, an investment in American workers. There should be skill training or jobs training that goes along with a check from the government.
Anyway, show me a democrat thinking along these same lines, and then we’re onto something. Until then, Jack Kemp and his proteges like Congressman Paul Ryan are the only ones with real answers and real solutions.
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