A lot of people are asking what the heck is wrong with the Republican Party.
That’s no joke. Not for the GOP, not for the country.
The party of Ronald Reagan is getting weaker by the week.
Republican failure, Republican infighting, Republicans caving on their principles – it’s a grim soap opera, and it’s playing out on the cable news channels every day.
How did the Republican Party ever fall to such depths?
The GOP was flying high when my father led it to victories in 1980 and 1984 on platforms built solidly – and proudly – on conservative principles.
So how was he so successful? It wasn’t just his conservative gospel, his communication skills or his sunny personality. My father had a man named Michael K. Deaver by his side for a long time.
When Deaver died in 2007, The Washington Post called him the “media maestro” who “shaped President Ronald Reagan’s public image for 20 years, transforming American politics with his powerful gift for image-making.”
Yes, Mike Deaver was a master of media stagecraft. But he was much more. He was the public relations arm of Ronald Reagan. He understood politics, the media, and the heart and mind of my father.
Deaver was able to marry all those things for the betterment of Ronald Reagan – and therefore the betterment of the Republican Party, conservatism and America.
You don’t see anyone like Deaver in today’s fractious Republican Party.
You don’t see anyone who understands how important it is to use the mainstream media to create the political perceptions that ultimately change the political reality.
Even though they talk about my father incessantly, Republican Party “leaders” don’t understand that it was Deaver and others, such as Lyn Nofziger, who made him a success.
They weren’t consultants to my father or the Republican Party. They were around Ronald Reagan because they were true believers in Ronald Reagan.
Right now, I don’t know if the Republican Party has anyone it can trust to lead it out of the basement. John Boehner can’t get anything done because Republicans are so fractionalized.
As we said last week, it’s been government by tantrum, but at some point that’s got to end.
So what can the Republican Party do now to show itself in a better light – not to Republicans, not to the Tea Party, but to the nation as a whole?
The GOP is always going to be a minority party, so the only way it can win in the long run is when it’s inclusive, not exclusive.
At this point the president is not leading. But neither are the Republicans. They’re fighting, but they’re not leading.
• Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant.