1) So long as it's in the opposition, where should the Republican Party focus its energy?
Bringing in younger members with fresh ideas and grass-roots commitments.
2) What is the most worrisome part of Barack Obama's presidency?
Vetting of White House appointments.
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?
Most talk show hosts merely reflect the opinions of those who listen to them, without making a large difference in the overall demographics of the nation (or region). The GOP should work with them, not against them, to facilitate enfranchisement among the grass-roots members who also follow these personalities.
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?
The GOP should follow Chairman Steele’s advice from his speech to the 2009 NAACP convention – give up on “outreach” and treat those who share our values as equals in partnership. We need to connect with those individuals and communities as they have more to offer the GOP than the GOP has to offer them.
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.
There is a generation gap (in both parties) that is not given the attention it deserves. The Baby-boomers are trying desperately to hang on to power and leave their legacy. In doing so they are committing a great disservice to the generations of their children and grand-children.
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?
I don’t see any change to this coalition. What we need are true conservatives in leadership who are not looking to merely compromise with the liberal sector of the nation (which means we continue to move left, only more slowly), but take a leadership role in moving the entire nation towards a small government, conservative economy, and libertarian society.
7) Is there anything I didn't ask about that you'd like the media or the country as a whole to know?
I don’t anticipate any real change in either party until the Baby-Boomers are too old to participate and wield their will on the younger generations.
Sam Richardson, Chair
Fluvanna Republican Committee