Editorial: Is the GOP coming to life?

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Public forum boot camp is a smart move

Republicans in Maine may be getting a reprieve from the internecine miasma that’s been keeping the party from asserting itself as a permanent majority. Democrats revel in hurling fruitless attacks at the party principals, but a behind-the-scenes effort has moved the party toward the united front that GOP faithful have been waiting for years to see.

While the majority of a political party’s efforts go unseen by voters, a lack of visible leadership can lead to a terrible morale problem with the faithful masses. Republicans in Maine, despite recent electoral success, have witnessed bickering and infighting filling the vacuum left by the absence of strong forward momentum. The coming GOP senate primary is offering an opportunity to end this infighting, and the party has taken steps that indicate a more proactive role in the public arena.

The state party has decided to take control of the public face of the primary through a series of candidate forums. Located across the state, the nine public forums will give candidates an opportunity to play on an equal footing in front of a more concentrated group of primary voters than they would likely be able to garner on their own. (The first forum is this Thursday night in Presque Isle, more details about the forums can be found at www.GOPforME.com)

No candidate likes having to spend time preparing for debates, but the party’s move ensures that the candidate who emerges from this primary process is ready to face the national attention and scrutiny of a United States Senate race. A rigorous public appearance schedule is not only good for candidate exposure, but it will ensure the state GOP doesn’t offer up the next Christine O’Donnell—the ill-fated GOP senate candidate from Delaware who melted away once the white-hot light of national politics shined on her in 2010.

Maine has slipped under the radar screen of hardcore politics for a long time, but this year’s campaign will likely see some of the worst of American political hardball. Candidates need to be able to face biased reporters creating gotcha moments. They need to be able handle enemy trackers cornering them at events with video cameras in their faces.

And they need to be ready for the chance that they’ll be grilled by national reporters on “Meet the Press” or similar venues if their race ends up competitive. That’s why the state GOP’s public forum boot camp, while no doubt a challenge for the fledgling campaigns, is a smart move.

The other clearly positive aspect is that these forums will end the Angus King one-man-media show that has so far dominated the public discussion of this senate race. Maine Democrats appear to have thrown the towel in on this race, so the GOP debates will likely be the most interesting thing that happens from now until the June primary.

Rather than allowing the press to concoct their own narratives about the race, these open forums will give the public the chance to take a measure of the candidates and see them perform in a real campaign setting.

The Republican Party still needs to find its voice if its going to hold on to the legislative majorities of 2010. It needs a positive message that can counter the “Rob the Rich” class-envy message of Maine Democrats if they are going to see success this fall. But a grown-up approach to the senate primary is a strong indication that the party is thinking beyond the old patterns, and this is a good sign for the GOP.

1 COMMENT

  1. the ” counter the “Rob the Rich” class-envy message ” isn’t the problem with the GOP ( although they wish).

    It’s their inability to see that it’s the GOP HAS indeed come to life. But it is alive with the worst sort of extreme, anti social , loud mouth, degrading, militant / religious fringe wackos possible. All claim some turf as spokespeople for the Grumpy Old Party.

    The DEMs used to have that problem too, but they got out – wierd(ed) by the new ” alive” GOP.

    Obama is filled with glee as it looks like a mega landslide for him come November.

  2. Maine Hermit you’ve described the left perfectly. Arming the drug cartels, refusal to prosecute voter intimidaton by the New Black Panthers, threatening the Supreme Court, lynch mob mentality, refusal to prosecute the New Black Panther party for offering a million dollar wanted dead or alive bounty which is soliciting murder for hire……..shal I go on with the list of offenses by the left? More people like you should become hermits and leave civilization to the civilized.

  3. Hey Roseallan, no swearing please..I got one of them thar radio things and with WGAN I can hear the GOP chairman every day at noon and he tells me all I need to know.- I don’t need no civilization with this guy !

  4. Jerry Bono – No Balls to pull a ‘Citizens’ Arrest of the Black Panthers for their alleged offenses? Got an anchor tied to your ass? Blah, blah, blah. Be a ‘Man’ and do it!!!

  5. Maine Hermit what on earth are you talking about? These are offenses that are current. As far as the IQ of 78 all you have to do is look to Joe BiteMe for a classic example of what the left has to offer

  6. Ron Riml By your reasoning Ron I should become another George Zimmerman? I thought those minus testicles like yourself were leading the lynch mob to string him up without benefit of the facts or the truth. Now because I ask the Oblahblah justice department to enforce the law as concerns the New Black Panther Party I’m too shy for you? Got a problem with the rule of law Ron?

  7. I have been feeling the drum-beat of Republicans coming alive again and taking the INITIATIVE. My spirits are up!
    Obama has , in one “open-mic” incident, inadvertantly, exposed his deviousness, which surely opened the eyes of voters on the fence. For two weeks his pushing the race card in the Martin/Zimmerman case, and his ignorant threat to the Supreme Court Judges have shown what a thug he is.
    We are energized to continue our support of Gov. Paul LePage and the Republican majority in the Legislature! We have great candidate participation. The GOP has a terrific grass roots support.
    Looking forward to the Public Forum Boot Camp!

  8. Great piece. Maine is a much bluer state than it once was, and King was a popular governor. Republicans need an upbeat candidate who can connect with the middle class and articulate the benefits that a smaller and more frugal federal government will offer Mainers.

  9. TheMaineWire has spawned another interesting conversation today about the new face of the Maine Republican Party, yet a few points need to be made:

    1) Neither the political Left nor the Right holds a franchise on morality or is blameless in advancing hyperbole over reason,

    2) The “internecine miasma” afflicting the Maine Republican Party isn’t the result of Maine Democrats “hurling fruitless attacks at party principals,” it is a malady that arose spontaneously within the Maine Republican Party at it’s convention in Portland in the Spring of 2010 and, finally,

    3) Comments that associate the Left with hate groups like the New Black Panthers are pure invective and are as bogus as a suggestion that the Right is defined by the actions and rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan.

  10. The GOP is responsible for its own ideology. If it embodies hate, selfishness, short-sightedness, and a desire to return to the 19th century, that’s their problem. The voters should shove the GOP aside and seek out 21st century issues and candidates.

  11. James Brinton: “Hate?” That’s an attempt to demonize we who despise the proclivity of big government, since the ‘60’s, to enslave ever larger portions of our population in dependency. Dependency from which they cannot escape, at the same time telling them that their dependency is the highest expression of humanity. And encouraging them to seek more of it.

    “Selfishness?” Yes, I’m selfish of individual liberty, especially the liberty to enjoy the fruits of individual labors, and the liberty to decide how to share those fruits with others who need our help, rather than have a central authority direct how we are to share it. Yes, I’m selfish of private property, which is the most tangible expression of liberty, and the highest form of the common good when all is considered.

    “Short-sightedness?” There is no higher form of short-sightedness than to sacrifice the future to satisfy immediate desires. There is no worse insult in this regard than to mortgage the future of our children, grandchildren, and beyond with the unbearable fiscal burdens of the profligate spending of government gone mad.

    “21st century issues and candidates?” I have no doubt what you mean by such touchy-feely, caring and feeling, yet unspecified terms. My guess is that you hate liberty, hate the concept of private property, selfishly covet what others have earned, and despise the long-sightedness that understands what we do today has unavoidable consequences for tomorrow.

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