Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., when he addresses the "challenges" facing the Republican party, dodges with the fancy footwork of an adept politician around the painful truth ("Republican resurgence faces many challenges," July 28). Whatever the impact of the factors he identifies for the failure of the Republican party to gain traction, he avoids the principal challenge they face — their image.
Obviously, individual Republicans vary widely in their attitudes and values, but the party as a whole presents to the world an image of negativity that is out of temper with our times. We live in an era when optimism is what we need, but they only provide us with negativism. They cannot get away from being "The Party of No."
The GOP projects an image that is opposed to things that most people favor. Whether it is completely true or not, their image is of a party that is opposed to almost any abortion, opposed to gay marriage, opposed to making things better for immigrants, opposed to paying taxes to pay for public projects and services, opposed to protecting the environment, opposed to spending more on public safety nets, opposed to universal health care, opposed to taking responsible action to control the widespread availability of deadly firearms, opposed to stemming the abuses of big business and inequities in the financial markets and opposed to reforms to the campaign finance laws.
They function in Congress by obstruction rather than facilitation. Even the names they like have a negative ring: "conservative" harks back rather than looking forward; "tea party" seems to suggest that the politics of the 18th century is what we should be looking to, rather than new political ideas to address the 21st century. Until the Republican Party can reshape its image into the "Party of Yes," that looks to a better, more optimistic future for our nation, the majority of Americans will continue to say "no" at the polls.
William R. Breakey, TowsonCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun