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Tuesday, Jan 22 2013 11:00 PM

DEAN HADDOCK: The long ride home: What GOP can learn from baseball

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    Dean Haddock

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There are parallels between the recent Republican presidential election loss and strong baseball teams that lose the World Series. Take the Detroit Tigers' sweep of the New York Yankees. The Yankees should have won, but they didn't. The Yankees had great players, but they slumped at the wrong time. In a similar way, the Republicans had what it took to win -- a strong candidate with a powerful message -- but just couldn't manage to put it all together and clinch the victory.

Republicans know what they did wrong; they just don't know how to fix it yet. As a counselor, I help families fix their problems by identifying solutions that they have yet to see. By the time they come to me for direction, they have usually exhausted their set of problem-solving strategies without success because the problem they face outstrips the tools they have to deal with it. The trouble is: When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It's time for the Republicans to make a visit to the hardware store and buy some new tools.

I am fascinated and a little angry watching liberal commentators offer advice on Republican Party reform, despite their open hostility to Republican principles. Nevertheless, I am concerned that the GOP began to believe their "Obamaganda," in a type of Stockholm syndrome experience. Everyone needs to keep perspective of reality. President Obama won only 51 percent of the popular vote to Mitt Romney's 47 percent while the GOP kept the House and 30 state governors. Democrats have only 19 state governors with the other an independent. We appear to be forgetting who we really are, which is a mistake. While we may have underestimated the Obama bump from Hurricane Sandy and expected a 2008 voter turnout because of the 2010 backlash, it doesn't mean our core beliefs are flawed. Remember, we have proof that our ideas work: Ronald Reagan. Now we need to find compelling messengers, like Reagan, who believe in and can effectively communicate our proven message.

Now, more than ever, is the time to clearly articulate and communicate our vision for the country. As a nation, we should not apologize for being successful. Capitalism and the American dream are why people want to come to our country. We have to clearly show that those of us who actually pay taxes are the ones who help poor people. We need to show people the Republican Party actually has a vision for those people who are in poverty. It consists of more than the Band-Aids and temporary solutions of government dependency provided by many of those in the Democratic Party. It is about self-sufficiency, personal responsibility and government efficiency that would benefit everyone, including taxpayers. It's time to hold the federal government to the principles of the Constitution: Provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and leave the rest to the states.

Republicans need to find better ways to reach out to both Latino and young voters in California and emphasize that our ideals apply to people from every walk of life. Our ideals have nothing to do with any specific language group, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation or gender. It is just about people, and all people deserve more than they are currently getting from their government. Republicans must demonstrate that they care about people and that the Republican principles of lower taxes and regulations create the jobs that solve people's problems.

Republican registration has dipped below 30 percent in California and party finances are a mess. When the Los Angeles Dodgers experienced this in 1980, they wisely recruited Fernando Valenzuela, who rapidly brought in new fans, which improved their finances and enabled their World Series win in 1981. We, too, must let this recent loss motivate our team. It's time to fix what we can and then work to make sure it never happens again in the future. I predict the Republican Party will make a comeback and win big in 2014.

Dean Haddock of Bakersfield, a doctor of psychology and local talk radio host, is chairman of the Kern County Republican Party and a member of the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District's board of trustees. Community Voices is an expanded commentary of 650 to 700 words. The Californian reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and clarity.

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