Right around the time network pollsters called last week's presidential race for President Barack Obama and key U.S. Senate seats started turning blue, Missoula City Councilman Adam Hertz sent out a string of tweets that caught our attention. Hertz is one of two conservatives on the 12-member council, and he remarked that the resounding results constituted a nail in the coffin for the old Republican guard and it was "time for a new #GOP."
"I hope a fresh, energetic, liberty-loving, YOUNG and tolerant GOP will rise from the ashes," he wrote later in the evening.
In the days that followed the election, comments similar to Hertz's were uttered by many national right-leaning pundits who wanted their party to broaden its base beyond white men. Others decided to dig their heels in the ground and call for even more radical measures (case in point: The Daily Inter Lake published a column comparing any potential bipartisanship compromise to enabling Southeast Asian slavery; it was pretty weird).
Anyway, we caught up with Hertz, 27, after the Election Day emotions had dissipated and asked him to elaborate on his current frustrations with and the potential future of his party. He says it starts with consistency.
"If you're a Republican or a conservative and you think that the government doesn't belong in your finances, that the government doesn't belong over regulating your business, that the government doesn't belong in your religion," he says, "then why would you think that the government belongs in your bedroom or in your marriage?"
He went on to explain the GOP's consistency crisis goes much deeper than social issues. For instance, he believes Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg lost the Senate race because he flip-flopped between supporting George W. Bush's big spending policies and Tea Party fiscal conservatism.
"Denny Rehberg saw the writing on the wall and he tried to change," Hertz says.
For Rehberg, it was too late. As the GOP sits down to do some post-election soul searching, we hope, for their own benefit, that they listen to Hertz's advice. While we don't always agree with Hertz's opinions, we do value his willingness to at least discuss real issues and, as evidenced by our recent conversation, his openness to change.