The Scene: A fictitious meeting in the new era of the GOP’s ever-expanding “big tent.”
I had the pleasure of sitting down to dinner with two members of my county Republican Party steering committee this week to discuss the GOP’s options as we move into the 2010 election cycle. I was joined by Dr. Eric von Dersgarten (of the Rhine Valley Dersgartens, of course) and Cecilia Montgomery. Eric has been a tireless champion of small government conservatism ever since his emigration from Germany and something of a kingmaker in state politics. Cecilia is an old friend whom I first met through my wife. She’s not only president of the local chapter of the D.A.R. but also earned Ranger status for her bundling efforts on behalf of President Bush in 2004.
Ms. Montgomery chose the venue for our meeting and I have to say it was one of the most unusual ever, nicely setting the tone for what was to come. It was located in the downtown area of the city, seldom frequented by yours truly, and called “Check Yo Nine.” I assumed it was some sort of Asian eatery, but nothing of the kind was in evidence as I entered. The establishment was, however, one of the most ethnically and racially diverse establishments I’d visited in many years and the local patrons took a great deal of interest in our arrival.
At Eric’s urging we were all seated promptly, while Cecilia had taken the liberty of ordering drinks for us in advance. It was a delightfully bold, yet somewhat tart concoction called Camo 5X and came in a shockingly large serving size which looked to be approximately forty ounces. Dr. Dersgarten was well ahead of me in the curiosity department and pressed Cecilia for an explanation as to what we were doing there.
In response, she handed us both printouts of recent statements by RNC Chair Michael Steele regarding a new direction for the party. Cecilia excitedly informed us that this new outreach program to expand the Republican base and appeal to the youth vote would focus on applying the party’s traditional message to “urban — suburban hip-hop settings.” Eric seemed a bit confused, so I rushed in to rescue him from the conversational lull.
“So, this … ” I said, vaguely waving a hand toward the confines of the club, “is our new target demographic, then?”
“Exactly!” she replied. “There is a whole new generation of untapped voters here, and our job is going to be finding areas of common appeal where young and, dare I say, more hip constituents can embrace the core values of conservatism and work this sense of next generation energy into their own Republican activist agenda.”