Cathy Bailey of Louisville, former ambassador to Latvia and long time supporter of the republican party penned an op-ed piece for the Louisville Courier Journal in which she makes the case why the GOP needs to change. She says it's because the country has changed and the GOP is still stuck in the past.
"For starters, if Republicans are going to grow our base of support, then we’ve got to expand our message. Americans want to hear what the Republican Party stands for, not just what — or who — we’re against.
When I talk with women in our state, these are the issues that they care about. To convince them to vote Republican, we have to stop viewing elections solely as referendums on our opponents’ records and ideas. Instead, we must present voters with a meaningful choice between two different sets of values, policies and programs. We must prove that our agenda can better solve the pressing problems that keep women awake at night.Of course, it’s not just the message; it’s also the messenger. One of the best ways to attract women to the Republican Party is to change the face of the Republican Party." [LCJ]
Not just the message but also the messenger? Hmmmmmmm......
Cathy has been considered for any number of positions in Kentucky politics, most recently having come very close to running for governor in 2011. Now the question becomes whether this is her trial balloon to test reaction to a run against Mitch McConnell.
Cathy is very close with Jim Milliman, state director for Rand Paul, and was very active in helping Rand in 2010. And though Rand's former campaign manager is now running McConnell's effort there still exists within the support group for Rand Paul a certain element of people who consider McConnell too "establishment" for their tastes.
And maybe Cathy is right. Maybe the GOP isn't our father's GOP anymore. And it's not just the increasing influence of women in leadership as Cathy mentioned.
Take for example the fourth district, considered to be a solid conservative region of the state. We enjoyed the leadership of Jim Bunning for over 20 years and the GOP grew into the dominant political party during that era.
But now ask yourself, has the face of the GOP changed? For example Thomas Massie is the new face in the fourth district. In his first few months he has voted against John Boehner the speaker of the house, says he would consider supporting someone running against McConnell, voted to allow guns on school grounds, supports the hemp initiative, has proposed decriminalizing marijuana, powers his house with "green energy" and according to a new report, says that he is not opposed to raising taxes. Is THAT your father's GOP?
Bailey has been much more traditional in her views over the years but she too seems to be aware that the old ways of the Grand Ol' Party might not fit the modern world. And as republicans scramble to get traction in this new era, the first thing Bailey says they need to do is get relevant.
"To overcome its current challenges, the GOP must open a dialogue with all voters, but particularly with women."
There's more to this column than advocacy for reaching out to women I think. To even a casual observer the question which pops to mind is "Might Cathy Bailey be considering a run"?
Stay tuned. This could get very interesting.