Republicans must blame themselves for their losses - Curt Yeomans

Over the last eight years, my party has been highjacked by what I call "Super Conservatives."

They have done nothing but run this party into the ground behind the leadership of President George W. Bush. In that time, party leaders pushing agendas, such as a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and opposing stem cell research for religious, not medical reasons, have run off some members of the party.

Well, you can sulk and cry all you want about the Democratic Party's victory. However, moderate, socially liberal Republicans, such as myself, blame you for this. You caused John McCain's loss to Barack Obama; a near filibuster-proof, Democratic controlled Senate, and a House of Representatives that is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats.

It's time for us to look elsewhere for leadership. We need someone to give us a new sense of purpose, and a new direction. We have to break free from the grips of the "Super Conservatives."

There are two recommendations that I have for reshaping and revamping a party which lost its way, and was seduced by hateful "Super Conservatives."

The next person to unite the party will probably be someone from outside Washington, D.C. It seems hard to believe that a senator or congressman will be able to lead the party out of its current, sad state.

Sarah Palin is a name which has been popping up as a future Republican presidential candidate. Palin is not the person Republicans need to look to for salvation. She's only popular with hardcore conservatives, who already prefer death over voting for a Democrat.

She reportedly drove some outer-ring Republicans away from McCain, and she apologized for possibly doing so during an interview with CNN. You don't want to be led by someone who already has a track record of driving a wedge into the party. Palin is the kind of person you want leading this party if you want to see it continue to spiral downward.

Another name which is popping up -- and the smartest one of all -- is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He gives the party a new face, because he does not fit the traditional old, white, Protestant male (or female) stereotype the party has clung to dearly for years.

Jindal is a first generation Indian-American who converted to Catholicism as a teenager. More importantly, he's a young (just 37-years-old) governor who is popular with young conservatives in Louisiana. The party needs a candidate who can galvanize its younger base, and young independents, much like Barack Obama did.

He represents the fact that much of the party does not fit into the image that has developed under leaders like Bush, McCain and Vice President Dick Cheney. It's that stereotype which pigeonholed the Republican party into the corner where it now finds itself.

Therefore, the old guard must step aside and let the younger generation take the reins of the party.

Groups have already popped up on Facebook, called "Jindal for President in 2012," "Bobby Jindal for President - 2016," and "Bobby Jindal is my Home-Boy." Friends of mine from Louisiana are already joining.

However, the Facebook group brings up one point which can not be underlined enough -- the Republican party has to embrace the Internet like it has never embraced anything before. Obama, and former Republican candidate Ron Paul, showed us the value of the Internet. Obama raised unprecedented amounts of money through Internet contributions.

Paul, on the other hand, ran few television commercials, but built a modest following through the Internet. An ad that runs on YouTube is probably more valuable now than a television commercial which airs during "American Idol."

The Republican Party needs to take this time to shake out its problems and reshape its future. If it can do that, elephants will roar again.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.