Gene Edwards writes:
1) So long as it's in the opposition, where should the Republican Party focus its energy?
Protecting personal liberties. Cleaning out corruption, both parties, in DC.
2) What is the most worrisome part of Barack Obama's presidency?
His plan to fundamentally change the US as we know it and as it was envisioned by our founders. His contempt for the constitution.
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 certainly more complicated with that. However, most of these men are critical in getting the conservative word out to the public. Hannity wears me out quickly, same shit over and over. I’ve tried, but can’t listen to Levin; the constant Libertarian stuff also wears me out. I watch O’Reilly, agree with about half of what he says, but he is certainly not a leading conservative or Republican. Only NY and DC would think he is a Republican. Limbaugh has been a conservative voice for a long. I don’t listen to him anymore, but I appreciate the fact that he is out there keeping people stirred up and informed. Beck is really something else. He has struck a nerve with people who are fed up with Washington and corruption. I probably agree with 75% of his views. He alone is responsible for the groundswell of conservative, patriotic resistance that will kick the liberals’ asses in 2010. He is a little scary, but God bless him.
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?
Obama is all about race. He campaigned on bringing the country together, but his entire focus is on race. He wants payback. I am a Republican county chair, but I don’t feel like a Republican and haven’t since the beginning of Bush’s second term. I’m just smart enough to know that you can’t change anything as an independent. You have to work within the system to make a difference. I often feel very lonely in the RPT because I don’t support litmus test. I’ve even been accused of not being Christian enough, but I’ll keep up the good fight. I hate everything about Obama except his race; I could care less what his race is. I despise him for what he is doing to this country. I’ve been to tea parties; and if you think those people are right wing nuts, you haven’t been to a tea party. There are the expected fringe people, but 95% are citizens concerned about their liberties and the future of the country. Obama and the liberals should fear them; they are not going away.
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.
Most of the issues I hear about are covered daily on FOX, but probably not the so-called main stream media. I can tell you that Obama is the best advertisement I have had since I got involved in 1999. People are calling, emailing and stopping me on the street to ask what they can do to take the country back. I have known Democrats contributing the $25 to join the party because they know we are working for the same causes they are concerned about.
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?
The alliance is the same, and it will remain so. The Christian coalition controls the RPT. I am very much a Christian, but I do battle with them at every convention – I always loose. Bush, Cornyn, and others tried to sell us on compassionate conservatism, but we didn’t buy it. Cornyn is still pushing it, but we still aren’t buying it. Trying to sell the fact that illegals are actually God fearing family people like us, and we should woo them to the Republican party doesn’t sell. I wish that were true, but we realize they are only illegal Democrats.
7) Is there anything I didn't ask about that you'd like the media or the country as a whole to know?
We are here; we are no longer silent; and we intend to take the country back. Washington, NY, Chicago, the east coast, the left coast and liberals in general think we are just a bunch of gun toting goobers from Texas. I may resemble that remark because I am always armed and extremely dangerous to anyone wanting to do my family, friends, or me harm. I am also an MBA, a retired Special Forces officer and a successful self-employed businessman. There are many of us. We are coming. Watch out for us. We mean business.
I probably didn’t give you what you were really looking for, but this is what I see, hear and interact with every day. The Republican brand is broken, but conservatives will bond together to defeat the liberal who are trying to change the US into Europe. I lived in Europe for 12 years. I love Europe, but this is America – the home of the individualist, the entrepreneur, the risk takers, the self-made man. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to change us into Europe.