GOP should return to core values

of smaller government, lower taxes

To the Editor:

As I write this at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, even before the first election results come in, I have resigned myself to defeat. The Republican Party is going into the wilderness.

My Republican Party lost its grip on Washington because we lost our grip on America’s pulse. It became increasingly clear as 2006 wore on that Karl Rove had been steering the Christian right to support the president’s ambitious foreign policy, and the “culture war” was the carrot in front of the mule. The old GOP base is realizing that this war in Iraq was mismanaged, and the president’s refusal to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld only confirms that the White House’s concern is pride, not winning wars. GOP leadership spent too much time keeping the base mobilized with hot-button issues like abortion and gay marriage, but it ignored that we’re spending an un-Republican amount of money and running up an un-Republican level of debt and expanding the size of the federal government at an un-Republican rate.

The president and Congress simply forgot what being a Republican is all about. I remember being 8 years old and asking my father what the difference between Republicans and Democrats was, and he summarized it thus: “Republicans support smaller government and lower taxes. Democrats support big government and raising taxes.” From 1994 to 2001, that was how we presented ourselves and won congressional elections. But after the terrorist attack five years ago, we became so focused on national security that we forgot the ideology that had served us so well: smaller, more responsible government. (We did stick to lower taxes, however. Unfortunately, Vice President Cheney and the pork-barrel spenders in Congress forgot about that pesky necessity of “smaller government” required to cut taxes.)

With all this disappointment in the way the Republican Party has betrayed what always made us great, many people have asked me why I don’t leave and join another party. The answer is that we lost yesterday because we ceased to be great, not because Democrats found a way to be better. In the last five years the GOP has had a difficult time admitting mistakes, and today we have to finally admit our errors and head back to the drawing board. Our victory in 1994 came from our promise of smaller, more responsible government, not turning to pollsters and consultants to help us push bigger and more intrusive government — that was the Democratic strategy, and it doesn’t work. Let’s dump our Karl Roves, our Christian right and our culture war, and instead remember that simple promise behind what it means to be Republican.

The Republican Party will be a great party once again. We just need a while in the wilderness to find ourselves.

Jake McGuire ’10

Nov. 7

The writer is a member of the Party of the Right.

Students’ efforts helped greatly increase voter turnout in Ward 1

To the Editor:

Yesterday, there was a lot of talk — rightfully so — of the major outcomes in statewide and national elections. Meanwhile, a major local outcome went by so smoothly that it was almost unnoticed. In Ward 1, over 650 people voted for John DeStefano and over 600 people voted for Ned Lamont — turnouts much, much higher than were expected, even in models for DeStefano’s and Lamont’s winning statewide. The Ward 1 turnout simply dwarfs comparable areas of the state.

The hype of the election can only account for part of this result, especially when there was rain in the afternoon. An outstanding and underestimated get-out-the-vote operation deserves an immense amount of credit for delivering results on Election Day. It was the strongest field operation in the three-and-a-half years — and six elections — while I have been at Yale. The coalition led by Students for a New American Politics PAC, NHA-Fund and the Yale College Democrats learned from past mistakes and have established a powerful turnout strategy. We can only hope that this coalition has similar success on other endeavors in the future.

Whitney Haring-Smith ’07

Nov. 7

The writer served as the Deputy Policy Director for the DeStefano for CT campaign.