There was a small media grumbling yesterday when Paul Ryan came out of his media silence, now that the inaugeration is over. He’s claiming communication was the major problem with his and Mitt Romney’s campaign. If the Republicans are smart, they’ll listen carefully because Paul Ryan is absolutely right.
Ryan explained what he thought was the main reason for the failure of the Republican ticket: failure to communicate. Quoted by Reuters, Ryan said,
“We have to do a better job of explaining and demonstrating why our ideas are better on such issues as fighting poverty and helping people move up the ladder of life…There are a lot of people who just don’t think or know that we have good ideas on these fronts.”
Paul Ryan is right on two fronts.
First, he’s right that conservatives have better ideas on the issues, like that of poverty and economic mobility. I stayed close to the campaign in the last cycle and thoroughly enjoyed seeing Ryan lead the charge in explaining the difference between big government and a strong working class, between higher taxation and fiscal responsibility, between a big brother state and individual freedom. The elect chose for the former, and it is the lesser of two ideas for our country.
But the second front is much more intersting – and disturbing – in my opinion: People don’t know that conservatives have good ideas. These ideas are not packaged and delivered with confidence. Instead, the Republicans feel they need to apologize for their conservative ideas or repackage them to coverup their true conservative roots. It’s as if they’re not quite confident enough to believe in conservatism.
The result? Conservative don’t believe the Republicans are the ones that will champion their values. Instead, they vote for Democrats, because the voter is convinced that they will solve for their issues they care about.
Take for example these three issues: national debt, unemployment, the sanctity of life. When I talk with democrat voters, I find that they are conservative on the issues. But you know what? They’ve been persuaded that Obama will pay off the debt, that Democrats will create jobs, and liberals understand the value of life better than conservatives.
There are ton of Obama voters who would say this: “Yes, I believe in the free market, in small businesses, and in the sanctity of human life…but I believe Obama will be a better president.” Folks, that is a communication problem. Plain and simple.
Ryan ran for Vice President of the United States and failed, much to my huge disappointment. He and I used to ride bikes together and play basketball in school, so you can imagine that I wanted nothing but the best for him. It’s surreal to have an old friend be forerunner to the most powerful leadership position in the world. And so disappointing when it doesn’t work out.
But what is more disappointing is seeing leaders shy away from principles they know would help improve our country. There is no reason to shy away from the truth that sets people free. Conservatives need to articulate and package their message much better than they did in this last election.