Oregonian guest column today. In a nutshell, Lindsay makes his case that competition between parties will yield better candidates, and better government for Oregon--but the current trend of one-party-control will yield the opposite results.
Lindsay was one of a Republican suburban wave that took Oregon by storm in 2010 to deadlock the Oregon House 30-30. A tied chamber is rare, and it does produce better legislation as Lindsay deftly articulates.
The undercurrent of Lindsay's article, however, paints the real picture why he--and Republicans around the nation--lost in the last election.
When I read his column, I get a smelly whiff of an arrogant, condescending tone. To summarize, Lindsay says that he was highly qualified, that he was endorsed by the right people, and he ran the perfect campaign. Then the citizens of District 30 turned on him and elected his opponent, so nanny-nanny-boo-boo, you are going to get what you deserve people!
Ahmmm, to the contrary. I think you got what you deserved Mr. Lindsay.
The electorate is still in charge, and understands that they are electing a representative. When their representative loses touch, then the electorate replaces them. Simply put, this is what happened to Lindsay. He lost touch with his constituents, and they replaced him.
The difference between how the representative relates to his constituents is also called the empathy gap--and let me tell you something--getting on a soapbox with an air of superiority, makes a small gap an impassable divide.
Republicans don't need a branding overhaul. Republicans don't need new ideas. No, both are winners in the hands of the right candidates.
What the Republicans need are candidates that can step off their high-horse and relate to regular people.
Republicans need candidates that understand what it is like to grow up poor and disadvantaged. They need to relate to people that have been humiliated using food stamps, and not condemn them for it.
Republicans need candidates that understand the kind of uncertainty and fear that overwhelms people in the currently depressed economic times, and give them hope of a more certain future--short-term and long-term.
Yes, Republicans have the right ideas, they just don't close the empathy gap.
Maybe it would behoove Republican candidates to spend a couple of nights at the homeless shelter and talk to people that have lost all hope, and rely on government to provide what little food and shelter they receive. Then they will understand why it is so scary to hear Republicans talk about slashing government.
Yes, Republicans have the right ideas, but they are scaring the heck out of people with the way they are talking about them.
Lindsay epitomizes the out-of-touch Republican, and it's why he lost his election. It's that simple.