---- — U.S. Tom Marino is dead-on when he says conservatives need to take the lead in redefining the way the American people view conservative thought.
"The election is over and we can't change the results," Marino said. "Now, we as conservatives have to decide where we are headed in the future."
Marino is the type of leader who can help.
He embodies the conservative American spirit of achievement through hard work. Marino started his career working in a Williamsport bakery. He went on to attend law school and eventually became Lycoming County district attorney and a federal prosecutor.
From there, he made the jump to congressman, resolving to take his Central Pennsylvania values to Washington.
Marino has the education, the background and the experience to get the job done.
In his first-term, Marino has adhered to his conservative values.
He also believes that part of the reason the Republicans lost the African-American, female, and Hispanic vote is that President Obama talked about social programs that related to them -- and Republicans did not. "We did not do well with any of those groups and we, as conservatives and Republicans, have to ask ourselves why and how we can educate people to understanding the true value and meaning of conservatism."
How the Republican Party confronts its problem connecting to a broader, more diverse range of voters will define how successful the party can be moving forward. Mitt Romney's campaign was undermined by his evident inability to appreciate the true American experience for most of us.
Marino is in a better position to articulate how conservative values can work in Washington and work for all of us.
The challenge for conservative Republicans is to stop defining themselves in terms of who they oppose using inflammatory language borrowed from media provocateurs.
People know who Republicans are not. Remind everyone who they are and why that is positive. This is the party of historically great Americans -- Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Rockefeller, Scranton and Reagan.
Invite to this party all Americans who appreciate and respect the importance of liberty, self-reliance, hard work and honest expression.
The Republican Party has been damaged by a tendency to write too many people off, instead of trying to get broader buy-in. Republicans ought to abandon the country club approach to governance and become more of a public golf course -- healthy and fun and open to all.