Wayne Brady responds:
1) So long as it's in the opposition, where should the Republican Party focus its energy?
Education of the electorate is always very important. When the Party is in the minority, education is more important than ever. We have to explain why conservative principals are better for the country and provide specific solutions to the problems we face. We also have to point out the hazards of allowing government to have more control of our lives.
2) What is the most worrisome part of Barack Obama's presidency?
The most worrisome part is that the Obama administration my put us on an irreversible course toward socialism. The health care proposals coming from the Democrats could, if implemented, make it impossible to roll back. That would mean a loss of the country we were given by our founders and a terrible loss of freedom
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?
It is constructive to get conservative ideas expressed in a public medium. I would not include Bill O'Reilly in this group. He is not conservative and doesn't spend much time on serious issues. Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager are good conservative commentators. These programs can provide a forum for Republicans to debate how to deal with current issues by calling in.
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?
Conservative have to do a better job of explaining why welfare reform is good for the poor, why keeping taxes low benefits everyone, why quotas harm minorities, and why big government hurts everyone (except for the government class). Conservatives are accused of not caring about the poor and minorities. We need to explain our positions better.
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.
I don't know if this is unique to our state or not. Voters in Oregon vote conservative on ballot measures and liberal when voting for elected officials. I don't know if this is a lack of understanding of conservative principals or simply a tendency to vote for personalities rather than issues.
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?
This coalition still makes sense. We have to make sure we don't ask for perfection in our candidates. Some people tend to be one issue voters and will not vote for a candidate who is not perfect on their issue even though he is good on everything else.
7) Is there anything I didn't ask about that you'd like the media or the country as a whole to know?
We must fight against people like John McCain who want to make the Republican Party more liberal. We must run as conservatives. Republicans have lost a lot respect among the electorate because they have strayed from conservativism.