1) So long as it's in the opposition, where should the Republican Party focus its energy?
The Party should focus on grooming candidates for election, including the bottom - school boards, water boards, local commissions, etc. We should also act a a truth filter for the information coming from the Democrats and the main stream media.
2) What is the most worrisome part of Barack Obama's presidency?
Every thing he does. He talks about "my health care plan," but hasn't produced one. His spending and printing of money is not sustainable. He seems intent on taking over all aspects of American life. He doesn't listen to his military commanders which will lead to unnecessary deaths of American service people. etc,etc,etc.
3) There's been a lot of debate about the role that talk radio and cable news hosts should play on the right. Particularly controversial are Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Mark Levin. What do you think about these folks? Do they help the right or hurt it (or is it more complicated than that?) How should Republicans interact with them?
First, I wouldn't classify O'Reilly with the others. Although he's not a liberal, he isn't a conservative in the tradition of the others mentioned. Second, due to scheduling, I've never heard Beck on the radio and have only seen snippets of his Fox show.
Its more complected than simply help or hurt. Remember that it was 3 Clintonistas who have reincarnated as Obamunists, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Paul Begala, and James Carville, who started the '"Limbaugh strategy" to deflect attention from what Obama was doing. The talk show hosts and their staffs do the research and disseminate the information that main stream media won't. Overall they help. The Party should listen to them, as I do, but not let them set the policy.
4) One particularly fraught controversy pertains to race in America -- with the first black president in the White House, some conservatives have been criticized as racists for opposing him, and some on the right have accused the Obama Administration or its allies of racism or anti-white sentiments (for example, Sonja Sottomayor's "wise Latina" comment drew fire, as did the Skip Gates incident). As the right thinks about political strategy and policy, how should it approach matters of race?
We need to point out that the Republican Party has a proud history on race relations, from freeing the slaves to passing the equal rights amendment plus more. We need to do more out reach to minority communities. But, we must be honest. When the Sottomayors of the world make their race based remarks we need to address them. It is the left, who can't defend their policies, that interject race to obfuscate what they are doing. They must be taken to task when they claim that anyone who disagrees with Obama and the the left are racists. As one who attended a couple of Tea Parties, I deeply resent being called a racists by people who hide behind the title "Progressive" to hide the fact that their political philosophy is deeply rooted in Socialism.
5) Is there anything you observe locally, or that Republicans in your area of the country care about, that doesn't get sufficient attention in the national media conversation? If so tell me a bit about the issue, and the approach you think the right ought to take.
Local Republican issues are not covered by the San Francisco Bay Area press, and most talk radio focuses on national issues. In San Francisco the issues of out of control government spending, where the average government employee salary is over $90,000 plus $35,000 in benefits or that we have over 26,000 city employees for a population of 806,000 people are rarely covered. The Republican prospective is not sought by the main stream media. The political reporters act as if the county Republican Parties don't exists.
6) Traditionally the Republican Party has been a coalition of religious conservatives, libertarians, fiscal conservatives, and national security conservatives. Is that alliance viable going forward? If so, what must be done to hold it together? If not, what alliance should the GOP try to build?
We must be a big tent. The coalition partners mentioned must realize that no one group will always have their way.
7) Is there anything I didn't ask about that you'd like the media or the country as a whole to know?
I'd like the media, especially local media, to know that county Republican Parties exist and have ideas on local government that will help to better manage local governments and create jobs, etc.
San Francisco Republican Party