By John Avlon
“There is a culture war going on inside the Republican Party,” says one of the attendees, Lenny McAllister, a co-founder of HipHopRepubicans.com.
“For example, you've got the Christian right—including some from the Jimmy Swaggart crowd that have judged others publicly on family values only to cry 'I have sinned' themselves somewhere down the road—and then you have the folks that understand that you can have strong conservative principles but you can't create a time portal to take us culturally back to the 1950s.... At some point, we will see one of two things from my party: either a decline that comes from our inability to move away from the image of an older, exclusive, white-males-only party or to a party that befits the Party of Lincoln, one of more diversity that reflects America today.”
A spokesman for Shay’s most important supporter, the governor of her home state, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, said his boss was traveling and couldn’t comment on these new details about Shay. But one of her better-known Facebook friends, conservative activist Grover Norquist, was keeping his distance.
“Grover's aware of the two candidates, but he doesn't really have a dog in a race,” said a spokesman. “He's friends with Audra on Facebook like he's friends with everybody else. He accepts all friendships."
Shay’s most recent post on her Facebook quotes the 23rd Psalm (“Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…”)—she’s apparently in full victim/martyr mode, a far cry from the jaunty confidence she just displayed a few days ago in the face of the “coons” controversy (“amazed at all the fuss so here is what you need to know.
The 6th song on the new Billy Currington CD is the most awesome song!”). Tomorrow’s vote will resonate beyond its usual dimensions. At a time when the GOP is increasingly old and regionally isolated, it is up to young Republicans to modernize the party. This requires confronting the mistakes of the past—and turning the page.
John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics. He writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast and is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.
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