It has been nearly six months since the passing of Bob Franks and I haven’t said much about it publicly other than how sad it is that he is gone, and what a tremendous loss it is for the state he cared so much about. Last month marked his birthday, and I wanted to relay an anecdote that imparts some of his wisdom.
He and I were talking in Washington DC at the annual Chamber Trip two years ago. I covered his Senate race versus Jon Corzine in 2000. It was the first major campaign I ever covered for NJN. So, it was an exciting time for both of us. I enjoyed spending time with him that Fall…in a couple of instances aboard John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” which was bequeathed to the Franks campaign after McCain’s ( first ) failed Presidential run.
Anyway, Congressman Franks and I were standing at the bar ( actually, he wasn’t drinking…which is fine because I somehow managed to drink enough for both of us ), and discussing the future of the Republican Party. At one point Franks said, “my fear is that Republicans are becoming the party of old, white men.”
It was a brilliant observation from a visionary Republican, demonstrating how much he cared about the party’s future viability. Franks was openly concerned about the ability of the Republicans to adapt to the changing electorate in the years to come.
Far be it for me to give advice to anyone, let alone a political party. But there is something to note in his critique. The Democratic Party looks like New Jersey – there are more women, and a lot more people of color. So, it occurs to me that if Republicans could diversify their ranks, even a little, the Democrats could conceivably never win another election.