I read an interesting Tribune Media Services column editorial by a young black woman (Deborah Mathis, November 12). It was entitled, "GOP must really change to attract blacks." She was amused by Bush's minority-dominated show at the 2000 Republican convention. She concludes by giving the conditions under which she and other blacks would actually vote for the Republican Party

"It will be because the GOP did more than sling open a door. It will be because it tore out the room, threw out the old fixtures and carpeting and wallpaper and built a new place....."

If you do all that, where does that leave today's Republicans?

Of course, the moderates will tell us that we must do what the black woman said. They would say "We Republicans must make SERIOUS concessions to minorities." But it's the same thing she said, and she put it much more honestly.

Tearing up old principles would be fine with moderates. It would also not hurt the huge bureaucracy that makes its living running the Republican Party. As long as it has that name, it gets paid.

And there are a lot of other people who would vote Republican if Old Nick himself were on the ticket. After World War II, Southern Democrats and conservative Republicans, whose beliefs were almost identical, refused to unite because of party names.

Conservatives were split between militant Democrats and militant Republicans. Liberals and moderates decided every presidential election.

You have to think about it to fully realize how purely evil this obsession was. It ruined America.

So the old words will no longer be accepted without question. When you say, "We Republicans," do you mean those whose only interest is in the Republican name? Or do you mean decent people who call themselves Republicans because that institution happens, at this moment, to be useful to their principles?