Distance is what dooms GOP, DUP

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Distance is what dooms GOP, DUP

Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives went on an annual retreat, the first gathering since the presidential election, at a resort in Williamsburg, Virgina, about three hours from Washington. The three-day retreat began Jan. 16 and was attended by House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Among the guest speakers was Patrick Doyle, CEO of Domino’s Pizza, who took a company known for bad taste and worse service and transformed it into 2011’s best pizza delivery chain. His theme was “Turning It Around.”

Doyle said the key to winning back Domino’s customers was honesty and familiarity. He cited a commercial saying that Domino’s pizza may not be the best-tasting one, but they are trying very hard.

The Republican Party is faltering. In the last election, the party of Abraham Lincoln fared badly with African-Americans, Hispanics and women. Its only allies are conservative white voters. The Republican Party that won the mid-term elections in 2010 now has an approval rating of 24 percent.

What’s more painful is that 67 percent of voters polled believe Republicans are uncooperative when it comes to governing the country.

At the retreat, they were given survey results that showed the party’s image is distant from “average Americans.” Guest speakers, which included pollsters, journalists and campaign strategists, advised the GOP to be more “approachable.”

“It’s not that the GOP isn’t conservative enough, it’s that it isn’t tactically smart or persuasive enough to move the rest of the nation in a more conservative direction,” said one speaker.

Winston Churchill once said, “No part of the education of a politician is more indispensable than the fighting of elections.” The opposition Democratic United Party here is still struggling with the presidential election defeat. They apologized to supporters by traveling around the country in a “repentance tour.” But Koreans are waiting for real changes.

In the general election and the presidential election, the DUP lost what it calls “elections that they cannot lose.” But it is not that it was not “democratic” enough; They lost because they have grown too distant from moderate Koreans.

At the end of the retreat, the Republican Party agreed on raising the debt ceiling. While it is a temporary measure for three months, it seems to be accommodating President Obama’s demand to resolve the fiscal cliff.

While some analysts see the temporary measure as a tactical concession in preparation for a bigger battle sometime after April, the decision was certainly welcomed by the public, as it will prevent a national default.

In America or Korea, the opposition party needs this kind of move to take back the power.

The author is the Washington bureau chief of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Park Sung-hee
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