Friday, March 8, 2013
Open Letter to the Rhode Island GOP and Minority Leader Brian Newberry
To the Rhode Island GOP and Minority Leader Brian Newberry:
My name is Arthur Christopher Schaper, a resident of Torrance, CA, but the more that I learn about Rhode Island, I find myself more interested not just in her history, but in her future well-being. Not to be negative, but the problems which are plaguing your state are afflicting many states in the union, including my native California, but in the worst way.
I have a growing concern for the Ocean State, along with the rest of the Northeast, because of the damage caused by the Democratic hypermajority, a political party which has placed special interests ahead of the public interest, which has taken "general assistance" into insistence that poor people stay poor while rich people stay gone.
Also, the GOP needs a fifty-state strategy, and right now, the Northeast is not getting the love and respect from leaders in Washington or elites in the Republican National Committee. The ascendancy of former Bain Capital CEO Mitt Romney caused more problems for the national conference, portraying a party in disarray, disjointed from local and state leaders, with national talking heads making choices and taking chances without any respect or regard for the interests or affiliations of the grassroots efforts of the Republican Party.
The GOP needs to remember that the party has outposts in every state, not just in the South, the Midwest, or in rural areas. Rhode Island may be the least of states to the GOP elites, but the impact and reform of Rhode Island can impact and reform the GOP, from sea to shining sea, and teach the country that leaders do not follow polls, but change them: that more often than not the "down and out" can get up and fight again for the good of all.
Rhode Island is the most liberal state in the union, currently. To some, the Rhode Island Republican Party represents the quintessence of "loser", a political party which appears like unwelcome party crashers in a vast sea of one-party rule, as opposed to a viable opposition in a state desperate for checks and balances.
The truth is well-known: the Democratic hypermajority in Providence has done improvidential damage to the Ocean State, a former colony established on religious liberty and respect for all opinions, a rebellious constituency that held out for its independence and autonomy. Founder Roger Williams and sympathetic compatriot Anne Hutchinson fled the autocratic religious tyranny of the Massachusetts Bay colony. The colonial representatives of Rhode Island refused to send anyone to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and the state resisted joining the United States of America out of concern that they would lose clout and character in the midst of the larger states and expanding territory throughout the country.
Now more than ever is the "acceptable time" for Rhode Island Republicans to step up and take back their state. The only interest which keeps the Democrats in power, the public sector union lobby, is taking in diminished returns throughout the country. From Michigan to Wisconsin to major cities in my native state of California, residents, taxpayers, and even youngsters entering the work force are standing up to the Public Sector unions. If Rhode Island can push back, then everyone else can.
I have a more selfish interest for reaching you and entreating your party. Rhode Island can teach a lot, both good and bad, to the leaders and legislators in my state, which for the first time in decades is suffering under its own Democratic supermajority (although because of the sudden resignation of one Democrat, the party has lost its clout in the state senate). If Rhode Island can lower its tax burdens, then the liberal leaders in my state would have no excuse for not lowering my taxes. If Rhode Island Republicans are willing to step up for major reforms, like "right to work" legislation and school choice, then the Republicans in my state would have no excuse for shying away from the fight.
Minority Leader Newberry, I write to encourage you. Do not look at the circumstances, do not consider the present limitations of your caucus. The media and the Democratic machines may joke that the GOP can fit in a phone booth, but with the right attitude, the right principles, and the right plan, the Rhode Island GOP can go from "phone booth" to "town hall" to General Assembly once again.
Perhaps the circumstances and scenery seem daunting. Consider Ronald Reagan, a visionary in some circles, an "amiable dunce" to critics, and the last Republican Presidential candidate to win Rhode Island. He wanted the Berlin Wall to come down, in 1968, long before any relevant intellect even entertained the idea that Communism would wither away, along with the Berlin Wall. In 1989, Reagan broke of a piece of "The Wall". Today, a chunk of the blockade that divided Berlin rests at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley.
Consider the 2010 election cycle, in which Republicans took back the House of Representatives, just after losing the House four years prior, when they had held the House of an unprecedented twelve years following forty years in the wilderness. Miracles can happen, but it's about attitude, perception, and belief in the face of "impossible" odds.
The GOP needs a leader who is not afraid to speak his mind and his heart, no matter who may or may not be listening. US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky shocked the country and united conservatives with his unprecedented filibuster blocking the appointment of liberal John Brennan to direct the CIA. He forced President Obama's hand, and the country is shouting his praises. A friend of mine just reregistered Republican after years as a disillusioned independent. In my GOP club, more members are joining. You have shining examples breaking out across the country, so do not let anyone tell you "it's hopeless".
Do not despair, Rhode Island GOP. Be bold, be brash. Minority Leader Newberry, take Reagan speech-writer and conservative columnist Peggy Noonan's advice: "It's Pirate Time!" Rhode Island has a long history of pirates making landfall, of smugglers making off with profit without paying immoral tariffs. Trick out the best, the boldest, the brightest ideas. Demand a "right to work" state. Demand "school choice" for all Rhode Islanders. Call the "Independent" Governor's bluff, and propose tax cuts. Shout out loud in the GA, or filibuster if you can. Knock on doors, like Sutton Rep Ryan Fattman of Sutton, who won 70% of his district in Deep Blue Massachusetts. Tell everyone that the RI GOP has leadership, and wants everyone to step in, step up and step out for their state.
As I write, President Obama is becoming the "George W. Bush" of the Democratic Party, bringing down the brand and bringing up the Congressional opposition. As Obama bombs his own brand, every "liberal" state can learn the true meaning of "liberal" once again: free markets, free people, and free enterprise -- all hallmarks of the Republican Party.