Republican New Year’s resolutions

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2011 was a hot mess. Conventional wisdom dictates that non-election years are boring politically, but this one has been anything but. I look back on the words I’ve written during the last year and never would I have thought I would have the opportunity to compare Herman Cain to the Cheshire Cat, Johnnie-O Oceguera to Marie Antoinette or chronicle the slow and public demise of a U.S. senator.

Now that we are finished hauling out the holly, it’s time to look toward 2012. After the champagne fog wears off on New Year’s Day, the Nevada Republican party has a month to regain the respect of Nevada voters and shore up the damage done in 2010 and 2011 before our presidential caucus takes place. This goal isn’t insurmountable, but it is going to take some honesty, some major changes and some tough decisions.

First and foremost, the Nevada Republican party needs new, fresh leadership that will put pragmatism before rigid ideology, and winning elections before advancing personal agendas. The antics of the Nevada Republicans over the last year tell us that they really didn’t learn the right lessons from the spectacular failures that were the 2008 and 2010 elections, and to stay the current course could spell disaster for Republicans in competitive races like Dean Heller’s for Senate. For starters, Republican National Committeeman Robert List needs to go. Forfeiting our early caucus position was the worst thing we could do as we struggle to assert our importance on the national stage, and List’s laughable attempts to defend this fantastically bad decision just cemented the widely held belief that the inmates are running the asylum.

Secondly, an effective communications strategy must be implemented immediately. I receive multiple press releases daily from the Nevada Democrats about absolutely everything ranging from basic votes to calling out the Republicans for the tiniest occurrences. In the past year, I have received exactly one press release from the Nevada Republican party, and I was so impressed that I corrected the grammar and sent it back. Here’s a piece of advice—find the money to hire a communications director, and chain that person to the state party chairwoman, Amy Tarkanian. The Republicans have a tremendous asset in Tarkanian, and so far her quiet grace is being squandered in favor of outrageous statements from lower officials.

Perhaps the most important change that needs to happen is a change in attitude. The Republican Party today is rife with hypocrisy, and if they have any hope of actually winning elections then it has to go away. I received a seven-page letter the other day from Ron Paul outlining his pro-life views, including his support for the repeal of Roe v. Wade by passage of a “Life at Conception Act.” Wait. So, Mr. Get-Your-Government-Off-My-Freedom wants to add a socially restrictive constitutional amendment to a document that has seen the repeal of other similar amendments throughout history? Strict constitutionalist, indeed.

And then there is Newt Gingrich. The man has been married three times, and he has had two marriages crumble because of his infidelity. Gingrich is a master when it comes to policy, history and the workings of the United States government, there is no doubt, but I am not going to be lectured to about the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family by a man who is truly Clintonesque in the way he treats women.

No matter how unpopular the Democrats may be right now, the one thing they won’t be lacking in the upcoming election season is money. As Organizing for America starts to awaken, we will see the impact of this money on Republicans’ poll numbers here in Nevada, and these issues will definitely matter. We are front and center in the next election, so batten down the hatches, kids. 2012 is shaping up to be a ride like no other.