Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shooting at the flames

When I was about 10 or 12, some mischievous kids accidentally set our dog's doghouse on fire with bottle rockets.

They had painted a target around the door of the doghouse, and were making a game of shooting the bottle rockets at the target, trying to get them through the door. It's harder than you would think... I'd imagine.

We never figured out who the mischievous offenders were, but my friend and I were the first on the scene when the dog house caught fire from the straw and bedding inside. We had the presence of mind to get the garden hose and - even though it wasn't us who set the thing on fire - try to put out the flames.

When my dad came running out of the house, he was yelling at us to shoot the water inside the doghouse, not at the flames as they were coming out the door.

You see, my dad new what Kansas Republicans seem to have forgotten. That when your house is burning, it's no good to shoot the flames. You have to shoot the water at the source of the fire, the fuel.

When the state GOP created its new "loyalty committee" to try to stop moderate Republicans from having anything to do with Democrats, they continued to shoot at the political flames. They thing the measure will prop up their party (I say "their" party because I would probably be considered a disloyal Republican).

They think they can bully members into not supporting Democrats for local and state offices, even if a Democrat is a better choice.
"There are times where the party needs to unite under just one banner," Kansas Republican Party executive director Christian Morgan said Monday.

"At the very base level, if you can’t get county officers and district officers, if you can't get them to stop backing Democrats, then you have serious problems," Morgan said.

Morgan is right about one thing, there is a serious problem. But the problem isn't disloyal Republicans, it's that the Republican party is out of touch with what is becoming a majority of the state.

To paraphrase Leia Organa, the more they try to tighten their grip on what members can do/say, the more members will slip through their fingers.

Rather than try to hamstring party members, the Republican leadership needs to take a hard, honest look at their constituency. Try to figure out why a Republican would want to help a Democrat get elected in the first place. Address the issue at the core of the fire, rather than just shoot at the flames.

If they can't do that, their house will continue to burn down.

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