Steve Schmidt and David Plouffe visited the University of Delaware tonight as part of UD’s National Agenda Speaker Series. Steve Schmidt is one of my favorite Republicans and I’ll tell you why: Based off what he said tonight, he could have been the author of a post I wrote after the election calling for the Republican party to step up.
I’m not just saying that to flatter myself. I may no longer be a Republican, but I grew up as one and I still have a lot of friends and family who are red as blood. Moreover, as an American, I take it as a manner of national honor that we should have a political discourse that is fitting for our great country – and sadly that’s been missing from the GOP over the last few years.
There are good signs, though, that the GOP is waking up. While there is still some convincing to do, I think there are at least signs showing that this long winter of unwillingness to work together could be about to break. I have to give Michael Steele a lot of credit for being a class act over on MSNBC the other day as well as he talked about the need for a broadening of the Republican party, the GOP needs to “get outside of its comfort zone.”
I’m glad to hear a Republican finally say what so many of us have been thinking for the last four years: Republican leaders need to stand up to the Rush Limbaughs of the world and take their party back from people who may have some influence with the far right, but will never appeal to the rest of us. This “conservative entertainment complex”, as Schmidt terms it, is one of the greatest obstacles to our country moving forward – and by forward I don’t just mean that in the sense that we should advance Obama’s policies over the next four years and keep supporting Democrats, but in a much more general sense that we should move forward by relearning the art of compromise, remembering that we are “more than a collection of red states and blue states” but instead the United States. We should be able to agree on some things, like helping veterans as they return to civilian life or extending tax cuts for people who make less than $250k/year.
I noticed tonight, here in little blue wonder Delaware, that the biggest applause lines were all Steve Schmidt’s and almost all for bipartisan sentiments. There was applause for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest, sure, but not as much applause as there was when Schmidt calle for civility, for a new Republican party to retool and “soul search” (as I think was the most overused phrase of the night).
A Republican in Delaware got by far the most applause tonight in a room full of people that helped reelect Barack Obama and couldn’t be prouder of their own Vice-President.
The Republican party just suffered a huge loss, but every loss is an opportunity to retool and to bounce back.
If you can get applause in Delaware, surely you can win an election.