POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

No! To Me Too Republicanism

by David Trumbull

July 17, 2009

“Gentlemen, what ails the Republican party is not the fact that it is in the minority. It has been in the minority before. What ails it is a certain sort of yielding to opportunism, a yielding to that element within the party clamoring for liberalization, clamoring to the Republican party to throw away the birthright of conservatism and enter the lists against the radical Democratic party on the Democratic party’s side. To me that is utter nonsense. There just isn’t room in this country of ours for two major radical parties, and all of us know that the Democratic party now has a lien upon whatever radicalism there is in public life.

“No, I think the Republican party could return to power if it would go back first to its old moorings, return to the old faith, become the champion, the unblushing defender of the great conservative thought in American life. It may have to wait longer than 1940 for victory. I realize that, and yet maybe not. This country of ours is given to sweeping tides of emotionalism. Who would have believed in 1932 or 1928 that in four years the country would somersault into the Democratic column? We like to boast of the fact that we are a great practical people. Of course we are practical. We are also an emotional people, a volatile people. These surges do come. If the Republican party will keep the faith and be prepared, it will be ready when the surge comes to reap the harvest.”

J. Fred Essary, Washington correspondent of the Baltimore Sun, speaking in Providence, R.I. at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers, October 7, 1937.

Substitute “2012” for “1940” and “2004 or 2000” for “1932 or 1928” and Mr. Essary’s remarks could be delivered today. Unfortunately, his call for a return to conservatism was rejected by party leaders. The result was four decades of Democratic party hegemony with the Republican response to the prevailing liberalism being a faint, me too.

One encouraging sign in 2009 is that young Republicans, such as those who attend the monthly Republican Meetup in Boston reject me too Republicanism. The next meetup will be Tuesday, July 21st from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hennessy’s, 25 Union Street (between Faneuil Hall and Hay Market). If you want to help the Republican party return to power, come on down!

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]