Maybe somebody with more knowledge on the subject than I have can shed some light on it. I heard about this three or four years ago that all candidates running for a county office were going to be running on their own ... meaning no party affiliation. It was a bill before the legislature or brought up for consideration, something like that.
Now would that not be an interesting concept. No republicans, no democrats, no greens ... you have to run on your name and reputation, not your party endorsement or affiliation. People who would normally vote for you because of your party affiliation ... that would be gone.
and people who wouldn't consider you because of your party affiliation will now look beyond that and vote for you. Not to mention we'd have more options, not just 2 people running, maybe 5 with a run-off.
There was nothing "weak" about my observation, Bob E.
AMG, to many readers, IS the online face of the Maine GOP. The "living room," if you will. It's best-known as a CONSERVATIVE online forum, and it's a power-house when it comes to influence, and perception. When the average reader (non-member) checks in on AMG from time to time, what do you think they see? Try to view the forum from an outsider's perspective.
You can't win a battle without a unified, strong, committed "presence," both online, and at the polls. If the aim for the Maine GOP is truly to get candidates elected, I firmly believe we need to put aside the social issues, and concentrate on the fiscal, taxation, economic issues.
You can't win a battle without soldiers. In this case, "soldiers" = elected R legislators and an elected R governor.
So, fiscal conservatives in Maine have a choice - put aside our differences, unite and work together to get fiscal conservatives elected - OR - continue to alienate likely R voters through too much emphasis on the social issues, and continue to LOSE at the polls.
No disrespect intended but as soon as the social issues were injected into the I'll call it "the mission statement" there became no point in having it. The mission statement was suppose to highlight what Republicans believed were the key issues of the upcoming elections and unify both the Party and independents behind something we all could agreed on. The idea behind leaving the platform the same would allow the social conservatives to not lose any ground on the platform. I though that this was a good compromise. This is what Charlie had envisioned and I thought it was a good idea. I'm not sure what happened with the "mission statement" discussion during the second meeting as I was late because of a prior commitment but when i arrived it was clear that the mission statement did not accomplish what I had envisioned it to accomplishing after the first meeting.
If I remember right the final vote to adopt the 2008 platform was 11-9 or something like that. Also, to address a prior poster, I don't believe there were any progressives on the committee.
Below is what I sent Charlie prior to the two meetings and is what I envisioned the mission statement to look like.
Republicans are the true representatives for the working people of Maine. As Republicans we believe in limited government, competition in all markets and personal responsibility. Compared to other states, the tax burden in Maine is high, the private sector business climate is poor and welfare rolls are increasing quicker than the national average. Working Mainers have seen their real income decrease when compared to working people from other states. This decrease in real income is a direct result of the progressive policies put forward by the opposition party. When elected, Republicans will work for working Mainers to bring their real income in line with the national average. To accomplish this Republicans will:
Taxes: Republicans will reduce the tax burden for all Mainers. Real tax reform is needed to bring Maine in line with other States. To accomplish this, the Republican Party will limit the size of government at all levels, decease the welfare rolls and work towards real health care reform at the State level.
Limited Government: Maine State Government is too large. Over the course of the last administration, the cost of Maine State Government has increased by more than 33%, eclipsing inflation by a wide margin. Republicans will reduce the size of government by eliminating ineffective programs, outsourcing services where it is cost effective and by introducing competition within the education system by allowing parents to choose the schools that their children attend.
Welfare State: Republicans believe in a helping hand up but not a hand out. Under the progressive agenda, Maine has become a destination State for individuals whose benefits have run out in another states. We will eliminate policies that encourage individuals and families to relocate to Maine for the sole purpose of taking advantage of Maine's progressive welfare system. Republicans will work to implement a six month waiting periods before non residence could become eligible to receive welfare benefits and a five year maximum for recipients to receive most welfare benefits.
Health care: Republicans believe over regulation has led to the current crisis in health care. Because of this Republicans will work towards eliminating government regulations that drive up the cost of health care, encourage the use of medical savings accounts and allow Mainers to purchase their health insurance across state lines.
For the purposes on an on-line discussion board, what does "put aside our differences" mean? To stop discussing certain issues because they are not important to (you/fiscal conservatives/the Maine GOP)?
Seems an unlikely incentive for people to participate on this site, regardless of its perceived (and, I'd argue, distorted) value as the de facto voice of the Maine GOP. Conservative, as a value and as a descriptor means more than just tight with the purse strings, or frugal. As such, a site that considers itself a forum for conservatives to kick around ideas, discuss much more than just local politics, and explore various disciplines of thought, should welcome robust and dissenting opinion. In discussion, ideas are the value not outcome. In politics, not so much.
It would behoove both AMG and the Maine GOP to maintain a certain distance from each other.
Perhaps you are right. I certainly do not think of AMG as the face or voice of the GOP but maybe others do.
Regarding the Party and "social issues", I just can't get my mind wrapped around the reasoning for ignoring them or pretending they are unimportant. The majority of Mainers favor traditional marriage and are pro-life (at the very least they oppose state funding & promotion of abortion). Year after year, I hear people saying that we should unite by avoiding these issues. Why not try uniting by supporting these values along with the majority of Mainers?
Someone (I can guess who it will be) will quickly tell us that “social conservatives cannot get elected in Maine”. But that is bogus. We have social liberals and social conservatives getting elected every cycle in both parties. It is not so much what they believe but how they express/explain themselves that matters more.
But I for one am tired of the discussion so I will try to leave it the experts.
I will not compromise my convictions. I will recruit and work hard for candidates who share the same values. I will not support those who will work against them.
There are always variables in campaigns, but generally speaking, I will support a social conservative before a fiscal conservative because if one does not have life, good tax policy does not matter.
I'm not saying the the social issues are not important but why would we lead with them. The vast majority of Republicans and independents believe fiscal issues are important. That is not the case with the social issues. Go to any Republican meeting and we are split in our own party 50/50 (give or take 10%) on social issues. That is not the case with the fiscal issues.
I believe that by focusing on issues that most Mainers are affected by, and by issues that are measurable, gives Republicans the best chance to win.
What is the evidence that the Maine GOP is "leading" with the social issues? Naran has not been able to give any examples of what she called "hammering". Can you provide some examples - specific and concrete - of the Maine GOP leading with social issues? This might help to clarify the discussion.
I don't believe the Republican Party is leading with the social issues. Saying this I believe that having them front and center shifts the discussion away from the fiscal issues and causes some people to not vote for us.
And, to your mind, is having them identified in the platform an example of "front and center"? Should a platform be a statement of beliefs, positions, and policies, or should it be a "recruitment" or marketing tool to entice targeted audiences to vote in a particular manner?
Fran - it's not that I'm "not able" to provide examples. I don't need to - the recent fight against gay marriage in Maine, and the perennial battles against abortion provide all the evidence needed (unless, of course, you're merely being peevish because it's me doing the writing, instead of someone else).
I believe the average voter has a perception that Republicans stand for anti-gay, anti-womens'-choice regulation and government. This is in addition to a perception of being anti-welfare, anti-helping-deprived persons, and all the rest of the Non-Compassionate Conservative persona.
I'm not saying that these issues aren't important. I'm saying that if the R party cannot successfully put them aside long enough to get candidates elected, nothing will change.
Once again, I give you the humble example of our local taxpayer group, composed of folks with all different kinds of letters after their names, and all kinds of different religions and social issue perspectives. All of it is parked at the meeting room door, with the result that we have achieved success over the years, both in the election booth, and on the meeting floor. We concentrate on the fiscal, economic issues, and that's what works in winning elections.
Lots of Democrats voted against gay marriage at the ballot box. That is a social issue where the Democrat Party in Maine is on a different side of the issue from the majority of the population.
The same can be said for abortion.
I am not sure that is the case in Maine. In the only abortion question we have voted on at referendum, Maine voters voted AGAINST banning partial birth abortion.
What Larry said.
As for AMG representing or fronting the GOP, I would have to disagree. At least in my reading experience of threads here, the majority of AMGers are far more conservative than the GOP. Yes, there are various party rank and file who post here. Nevertheless it does not appear to me that AMG is about the GOP.
A force to be reckoned with, yes. We agree there, Naran ;-)
I am not sure that is the case in Maine. In the only abortion question we have voted on at referendum, Maine voters voted AGAINST banning partial birth abortion.
That's true, and our two Republican Senators are staunchly pro-choice - but I imagine the demographic shift in the prolife position will eventually be reflected in Maine as well - but probably not because of anything the Maine GOP has done or is likely to do. The Maine GOP will likely stand to benefit from a reactive response to that demographic shift, but it has done nothing pro-active to bring it about.
Some issues do not fit neatly into a partisan slot, they are "questions of conscience," as the rigid party parliamentary form of government calls them when they release members to vote their conscience rather than party bloc vote on social issues. There are devout Catholics, for instance, who stand shoulder-to-shoulder at anti-abortion protests yet pull the straight Democrat lever without connecting the two. For instance, I doubt Mark Mutty will stop lobbying for liberal causes like expanded government programs and "social justice" just because he had a close working relationship with social conservative Republicans during the Yes on 1 campaign. I am also personally acquainted with at least a half dozen fiscal conservatives who changed registration from Republican to unaffiliated rather than to be associated with the religious lobby whom, corectly or incorrectly, they perceive as having seized the party from them (these are not RINO's). Perhaps Republicans should acknowledge this in its mission statement and simply proclaim that it is the party of individual conscience rather than government mandate. What has an impact on all people is government spending, deficits, taxes and the lack of individual opportunity due to an unfriendly climate toward business growth and entrepreneurship which creates jobs. That should be the central message to win over those independents to elect Republicans who will right the course economically. Barring a fragmented niche issue multi-party coalition government system, that's the best way to win elections.
Can someone show me where the Maine GOP advocated for YES on 1?
In recent years, I have been involved in several social conservative issues before the Maine legislature.
Embryonic stem cell research
public funding for abortions
removing clergy as signatories on marriage licenses
same sex marriage
unborn victims of violence
parental notification before an abortion
state mandated testing for homeschooled children
some of these were even sponsored/cosponsored by republicans.
I could be wrong, but I don't think the republican party took a position on any of them.
Then, Bob, why should the party waste time at its partisan convention debating these issues when the time and media attention would be better spent showcasing to the general electorate the issues upon which they could be convinced that the Republican Party is better equipped to govern the commonweal?
In Maine right now, fiscal conservatism and Republicans can't will elections. With half the state getting some kind of government check, either Medicaid, Food Stamps, Welfare, unemployment, working for the government or Social Security - fiscal austerity message won't win elections.
The only people winning right now are the social conservatives.
While I consider myself a conservative Republican, I can see myself giving up on the Maine Republican party at this point.
Like Bob points out - they seem to have given up on me.
Their only saving grace is that I think the only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat.
Vic, I don't understand your question. At best you seem to be asking the wrong person. It is the social moderates who want to debate the issues. They have always been part of the platform and the arguement here is always about hiding them. I have never said anything about debating them at the convention (although I am happy to do so).
The thing I am looking for is some substance to the false claim that the Maine GOP is dominated by social issues or that they are the "leading" issues. The party is actually quite passive with social issues, don't you think?
The party is actually quite passive. (period).
Anemic was the word I was thinking of, but passive works, for the purpose of this discussion.
I think the better question is, why does it? There must be some perceived if not actual value in doing so, don't you think?
Your saving grace is the only reason the fiscal conservatives join with you social conservatives, maybe its time we part ways then and see how you like permanent minority nationwide?
Vic your message is brilliant.
I agree with Bob that it is silly to claim that the Maine GOP is dominated by social conservatives or focused on social issues.
The Dems have all sorts of very liberal social positions in their platform.
The Maine GOP did not get involved in the Question 1 debate, though the platform is pro-traditional marriage.
Bob -- Don't you think it would have hurt Yes on 1 if the GOP had been active and the other side could have labeled it as a Republican effort?
Don't you think it would have hurt Yes on 1 if the GOP had been active and the other side could have labeled it as a Republican effort?
This may be true.
Ahhh... there you go - "saving grace."
You ARE COMING SO CLOSE TO GETTING IT.
maybe its time we part ways then
I would say it is past time, but yes, that would be the same conclusion I would make.