The Republican Party needs to abandon its “big tent” rhetoric and find a voice on values if it wants to remain relevant to American voters, Family Research Council President Gary Bauer said in a Nov. 20 address at the Heritage Foundation.
“The great danger facing America is not from barbarians at the gates, but the sickness of our own hearts,” Bauer said. “What is at stake is whether this great experiment in ordered liberty under God can survive. That was the great issue that should have been central to the presidential election. Instead, in some bizarre role reversal, the party most associated with the permissiveness of the last 30 years constantly talked about values, while the party — my party — that counts on the votes of millions of Americans worried about our virtue deficit, instead seems obsessed with our wallets.”
Bauer said the 1996 campaign was doomed from the beginning because party leaders were “obsessed with the mantra of big tent.'” The “big tent” is a metaphor used by Republicans who want to abandon conservative moral positions and concentrate on fiscal issues. Bauer asked, “A big tent for what? To what end? To change America how? To improve the prospects for our families and children in what way? We can mock Bill Clinton’s bridge to the 21st century, but it at least signals ideas. Big tent signals that when it comes to ideas we don’t care enough to make a case for what we believe.”
— E.P. News