Long-time Republican calls for renewed focus

Millions of people around the globe were thrilled by Democrat Barack Obama’s election victory last night. This morning, they anticipated a bright new political era of hope and inclusion.

But millions of others harbored deep concerns about the president-elect.

P.E. MacAllister, chairman of locally based MacAllister Machinery, was among those who consider last night’s national election results a defeat. This morning, he said, the future looks only slightly less bleak.

“I’ve decided not to move to Canada. I’m going to stay right here,” said MacAllister, 90, laughing. “I felt the same way when Truman beat Dewey. They’ll screw it up in four years.”

MacAllister gave Republican Sen. John McCain’s campaign $5,000, much less than the $20,000 he gave President George W. Bush in 2004. He conceded that Obama’s campaign organization was “brilliant,” and was particularly impressed with its huge effort in Indiana. MacAllister was disappointed that McCain never mounted a serious challenge here.

“I don’t know where the hell McCain was,” he said. “You can’t win by watching. You’ve got to get the word out.”

Today, MacAllister said, he’ll contact Republican leadership to give advice on how to recover from the party’s national defeat. He said Indiana has a perfect playbook to draw on, noting Gov. Mitch Daniels’ landslide re-election. Going forward, MacAllister said, Republicans must present convincing arguments that appeal to broader demographics, including minorities.

“[What] I see lacking is a clear focus on what we stand for. Why is our way of individual entrepreneurship and responsibility more important than government handouts?” he said. “We are not clear on why we’re better, and we have to get that across.”

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