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GOP: Party must adjust to diversity in nation

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Demographics and Americans’ shifting social perspectives are among the reasons Republicans lost Tuesday’s presidential race, said Jeff Williams, chairman of Martinsville Republican Committee.

Taxing the rich to subsidize everyone else will work only when there are rich people, but with fewer and fewer people having jobs and more and more people receiving government benefits, sooner or later the money will run out, Williams said.

“Combined with the ever-increasing debt this president is piling on, that paints a very dark future,” Williams said.

He said Obama’s 2008 election set the country on that path, and voters reaffirmed it Tuesday.

“America needs to be prepared for what it votes for,” he said.

From a social perspective, Williams said he doesn’t see how people can sit in a church pew on Sunday and indicate they are pro-life according to Scripture and “then vote for abortion on Tuesday” by voting for Obama.

Nationally, Williams said he believes, the Republican Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket got distracted by the details of a variety of issues instead of staying focused on Republican conservative principles, such as belief in free enterprise/capitalism and personal responsibility. In Williams’ view, the Romney/Ryan ticket “couldn’t see the forest for the trees.”

Overall, Williams said, he thinks the Romney campaign was “well-organized and well-resourced.”

However, he felt the campaign did not dedicate enough resources to areas of Virginia the campaign knew it had to win to counterbalance Northern Virginia, Tidewater and Richmond, Williams said.

He cited some issues relating to this area that he had with the Romney campaign.

“I tried incessantly to get the Romney campaign to come to Martinsville because of an Obama visit in 2008,” Williams said, referring to a stop in which Obama said he would think about this area’s poor economy every day. Williams said he contacted Romney’s Virginia campaign staff. “I contacted a friend of Mitt Romney’s. I personally talked with Paul Ryan and Pete Snyder (chairman of Virginia Victory 2012, Virginia’s GOP coordinated campaign). I did all that and neither Romney nor Ryan came to Martinsville.”

Williams said if Obama had honored that pledge to think about Martinsville every day, the president would have returned during this campaign.

Despite the fact that neither Romney nor Ryan visited, Williams said, “I don’t know that a Martinsville visit would have been a game-changer.”

This area doesn’t have the political importance it once had, he said. “Back then, we had some of the wealthiest areas in the commonwealth. People had jobs, and they were proud about working for a living. Trade policies, including NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), killed that.”

Until the United States fixes its trade policies, things are going to stay that way, Williams believes. He added that he sees no indication that former governor and now Sen.-elect Tim Kaine, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner or Obama will fix the trade policies. Kaine, a Democrat, defeated Republican George Allen in the Senate race Tuesday.

Williams also cited some lack of organization in Romney campaign forces coming to Henry County and Martinsville. One incident was when an empty Romney bus was sent to the local GOP headquarters, where there was a crowd of more than 100 people, Williams said, and last Saturday, the Romney campaign did not notify local GOP officials that a Romney bus was scheduled to make a stop with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Snyder aboard. Since no spectators were on hand, what was supposed to be rally at the local headquarters was changed into a press conference.

W.C. Fowlkes, chairman of the Henry County Republican Committee, said he has no real complaints about election results in Henry County. “We were right on track with our mission. We did well in the presidential race, well in the senatorial race and well in both congressional races we were involved with, the 5th and the 9th.”

Looking at the bigger state and national pictures, Fowlkes said, the Republican Party needs to address changing demographics by such things as staying attuned, reaching out and/or listening to such demographic groups as younger voters and Hispanics.

He said the GOP needs to work for the United States to secure its border with Mexico and to work for a quicker, responsible path to citizenship for the illegal Hispanics in this country, strongly encouraging them to work and earn a living.

“I really do believe the tea party has a home with the Republican Party,” Fowlkes also said. “I think the Republican Party enjoyed using the tea party for voter gain but not the knowledge, drive and goals of the tea party,” including smaller government and more fiscal responsibility.

As for congressional races, Fowlkes said he thinks Kaine won the Senate race on Obama’s coattails, and that Reps. Robert Hurt of the 5th District and 9th District U.S. Rep. Griffith were re-elected because they have done great jobs, circulated to the people and corresponded well.


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