I address this to members of The Public Square, activists and politicians alike. You are invited to join a new blog that I will be creating just for you. It won't be affiliated with me personally (like this one) or other members of the Netherland family. There won't be a frightening picture of moi featured prominently.
Why am I doing this? Why do I hope and pray that you will use it to benefit conservatism and the Republican Party? Because we need you to; you need you to. I have been thinking about this ever since a pre-election conversation with a state politician. He sensed as I did the coming failure of Republicans in general, and of himself, in effectively communicating the conservative message (I wrote about this four years ago, after our last defeat...see The Day after Tomorrow)
Why a blog? A blog is not just a new (to Republicans) toy or reason to play on the Internet. A blog provides an easy way to polish your message. To be able to write and re-write your message and to instantly rebut, refute and otherwise answer your critics.
Most importantly it gives you the chance to post, for all to see and read, your thoughts; to have them associated with YOUR name. This will prove to an increasingly skeptical voting public that you are not afraid to take a stand based on your principles; that you are ready to defend that stand or that you are intelligent enough to either spot a good idea or to persuade your critics that yours is the best way.
I have seen little of this on behalf of our Republican politicians. Sure, Cathy Vitale has regular column in Severna Park Voice, a monthly. But her column reads like the minutes of the County Pet Court hearings. And Mrs. Vitale is a practicing lawyer a day-job that probably depends on being as inoffensive as possible to current and potential clients. She is not the only one. There are many highly intelligent conservative thinkers in this County who would rather employ a pen name rather than risk their business or employment by being overtly conservative.
I am encouraged to discover Del. Tony McConkey's column also in the monthly Voice. Mr. McConkey has a bit more leeway with his opinions since has realised that he will never get any favorable press from, well, the press. But, Tony, it's a monthly. Your opposition to the Slots issue was on target, just not on time. And issues like this need to hammered, time after time, two or three times a day if necessary.
And we have to disabuse ourselves of the fantasy that our political campaigns need secrecy in order to score tactical victories. Mike, we don't want to tip our hand; we don't want to offend certain constituencies. Well, if back-to-back defeats doesn't put the lie to this, then I don't know what will.
I think a blog that features a robust debate between and among county Republicans will be successful, for everyone. A failure to engage to public will lead to another defeat.