Growth through dismemberment doesn’t work

posted at 10:15 am on November 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

If someone said that the best way to restore health would be to cut off an arm and a leg to make the torso more pure, would you sign up for that surgery?  Or would you send that adviser off to either medical school or a therapist?  Christine Todd Whitman and Robert Bostock try to make that argument to the Republican Party, giving the reverse of the “kill the RINOs” arguments heard elsewhere:

Four years ago, in the week after the 2004 presidential election, we were working furiously to put the finishing touches on the book we co-authored, “It’s My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.”

Our central thesis was simple: The Republican Party had been taken hostage by “social fundamentalists,” the people who base their votes on such social issues as abortion, gay rights and stem cell research. Unless the GOP freed itself from their grip, we argued, it would so alienate itself from the broad center of the American electorate that it would become increasingly marginalized and find itself out of power.

At the time, this idea was roundly attacked by many who were convinced that holding on to the “base” at all costs was the way to go. A former speechwriter for President Bush, Matthew Scully, who went on to work for the McCain campaign this year, called the book “airy blather” and said its argument fell somewhere between “insufferable snobbery” and “complete cluelessness.” Gary Bauer suggested that the book sounded as if it came from a “Michael Moore radical.” National Review said its warnings were, “at best, counterintuitive,” and Ann Coulter said the book was “based on conventional wisdom that is now known to be false.”

What a difference four years makes — and the data show it.

Bollocks.  The data shows that moderates moved to Barack Obama, which comes as no surprise after eight years of Republican control of the White House.  Unless Whitman shows that Bush’s position on embryonic stem-cell research was the leading issue on voters’ minds, her extrapolation that the shift in moderates came from a sudden allergy to social conservatism is the worst kind of statistical manipulation.  It’s correlation without causation.

What were the issues foremost on the minds of voters?  The failing economy, ethics, and national security.  In Rasmussen’s polling on issues, abortion didn’t even make the top five:

  • Economy
  • Ethics & corruption
  • National security
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Taxes
  • Iraq
  • Social Security
  • Abortion
  • Immigration

Only the last two have anything to do with social conservatism, and they hardly drove the election.  Rightly or not, voters saw the outgoing Bush administration as inept, and wanted a change.  In fact, two years after Whitman and Bostock wrote their book, a majority of Americans saw abortion as morally wrong in most instances by a wide margin (55%-32%), and only a small minority favors the kind of unfettered abortions Obama proposes to allow with the Freedom of Choice act (24%, according to Gallup’s poll earlier this year).

Beyond the statistical sleight-of-hand, though, Whitman gives yet another voice for the destruction of the Republican Party as a coalition of interests centered on shared principles.  She wants dismemberment as a purity drive, much the same as Ted Nugent’s call for open season on RINOs.  Neither will help create a national party able to govern as a majority.

In order to regain the majority, we need to stop attacking each other and start focusing on those issues that unite us.  The only way to achieve real change is to combine our strengths and put ourselves back in position to change policy.  It may feel good to stand alone with our ideological purity, but in the end, it will never afford us the leverage to make real changes.  Only by agreeing to pursue what unites us can we forge an alliance that can achieve any positive change for America.

What unites us, then?  We need to get back to those First Principles of fiscal responsibility (which we blew when we had the opportunity), smaller government (which we betrayed with the K Street Project and other lobbyist pandering), national security, free market economics, federalism, and lower taxes.  If we can agree to pursue those as priorities, and if we can rebuild our credibility on those goals, then we can convince moderates to once again support Republicans, especially if the Democrats run off the rails in the next two years.

Dismemberment doesn’t bring strength.  It almost always creates a corpse.


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Getting special recognition of that is another matter entirely, and that is where governments are justified in placing limits or promoting ideals.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 1:51 PM

Who’s ideals? What about when the ideals and traditions of a majority of the people interfere with the desires of a few? Why were mixed-race couples given the special recognition of marriage in 1967 when they could have avoided offending the majority of voters in their state by just having a private party?

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 2:23 PM

You are now officially a scroll-by.

RushBaby on November 14, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Heh. I have a scroll-by list too.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 2:28 PM

You are now officially a scroll-by.

RushBaby on November 14, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Heh. I have a scroll-by list too.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 2:28 PM

I do now.

aelhues on November 14, 2008 at 2:34 PM

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 2:28 PM

so, what is a scroll-by list? is it, like, an actual list you consult?

on pink stationary, folded a special way and stuck under the bio lab desk so when rushbaby sits there in fourth period he can be, like, “OMG LIKE HE”S TOTALLY SCROLL BY!!! I”M LIKE GONNA ‘SB’ ALL THESE SENIOR RINOS. 4-REAL”

eh on November 14, 2008 at 2:36 PM

lol!

i’m planting my flag on this thread.

let this be an example to rational republicans. trhe people calling you RINO and saying outlandish shit are stupid cowards. when you stand up to them and refuse to back down, they pout. then they go away. which is where they belong. in some stupid third party that’s willing to become the “the world is 6000 years old and the 911 attackers were mexican” party.

heh.

“scroll-by lists” !

eh on November 14, 2008 at 2:43 PM

eh on November 14, 2008 at 2:36 PM

It’s just a few people who tend to type a lot without really saying much. It’s to the point where I can recognize some of their posts before I have even scrolled down to their name. It’s only a few people, but I tend to “scroll-by” without bothering to read their comments.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 2:47 PM

The point is the government does have business sanctioning certain arrangements. This is neither unconstitutional, nor is it unfair.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 2:05 PM

And the ones we are talking about are better left to the states. The main problem is that the federal government has taken over so many of the responsibility of the states.
This is also the reason there is so much corruption at the federal level. There is too much centralized power – this breeds corruption. Get back to just the responsibilities enumerated in the constitution(or if you want to add responsibilities – do the constitutional amendment thing) and you eliminate much of the corruption.

Corsair on November 14, 2008 at 2:48 PM

Just to be clear “Eh”, I decided to stop reading your posts because of the abrasive and insulting manor that you have been using, not because of your ideas. Anyone is more than welcome to disagree, and even better support their disagreement with solid arguments. You just seems to prefer to make silly assumptions, put people down, and make ridiculous over the top statements. Therefore, you aren’t worth reading.

aelhues on November 14, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Get back to just the responsibilities enumerated in the constitution(or if you want to add responsibilities – do the constitutional amendment thing) and you eliminate much of the corruption.

Corsair on November 14, 2008 at 2:48 PM

All I can say is, Amen!

aelhues on November 14, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Personal attacks: the last refuge of a scoundrel with no good ideas.

“eh”, You have proven yourself ideologically, morally, and now conversationally bankrupt. It’s quite obvious that you have no ideas that differ from the Left in any substantive manner. Your ideas are being rejected by the VAST number of people in this thread, and with any luck, will be rejected by the party as a whole.

You have been advised and instructed that your ideas are not welcome, but you continue to remain. Now you have been reduced to name-calling in some kind of last-ditch effort to claim “victory”.

It won’t work. You, and your ideas are rejected by us.

As I said before, you are welcome to remain and read, but please refrain from trolling the thread. Obviously I have no final say over how Ed and AP choose to moderate this discussion, however common decency should lead you to realize you should be silent.

——————————-

Good Lt. – The manner in which you described your positions led me to believe that you were a Humanist or an Atheist similar to AP. Obviously I was wrong in that assumption. Please accept my sincere apologies for misunderstanding you.

wearyman on November 14, 2008 at 2:52 PM

eh = you are a idiot

Good Lt o

What is a Rhino? A Rhino is a Republican that…..see below

-considers it a winning strategy to debate a socialist on who will give or spend more on your daily needs.
-considers it wise slamming and disrespecting the foundation of his party so his liberal friends will consider him better than those knuckle draggers (even thou they still consider him inferior).
-considers it good negotiating tactic to always meet the other side half way even when their first demands are so over the top half way is still a gain for their side. This especially applies when Republicans actually have temporary advantage for a change.
-considers earmarks a good thing and that bringing pork home (while lining friends, family, self pockets) is actually the job description.
-is always available and very happy to trot out to X news network to slam your fellow Republicans but for some reason can never bear to slam the other other side?
-has a health care plan to nationalize health care to all but is not socialist, because I guess it has a Republican title page or something.
-thinks appointing a quasi dem Rhino type judge for every conservative judge is a good idea. Even thou the same courtesy will never be returned.
-thinks using your advantage when available to change the government and make gains for the foundational ideas is rude and just over the top.
-always seems to agree with liberal and media talking point of the day about how conservatives are somehow cruel, primitive, stupid, etc…Ex See the many above Palin smears
-talks about Small government but has no list of government waste/departments to be slashed and cut or intention of getting one.
-talks about small government but votes on HUGE waste filled garbage, Energy bill, medicare expansion, etc…
-voted on this monstrosity “bailout” nationalizing the 1st & 2nd largest US mortgage holders, the largest insurance company, banks, credit card companies, inbound auto industry,,,,etc… Even Chavez had throw respects for that coup.
-believes global warming is not a natural earth cycle but is caused by my driving to work. Why exactly was the earth hotter during the dinosaurs and colder during the mammoth than today?
-believes we can save the environment as long as we buy our oil from foreigners who hate US rather than pump and buy our own oil.
-believes regulating every US industry and trade into so much insanity that nearly everyone is a criminal on some level is not what the founders ran from.
-believes as long as the US industries that are closing down (tired of the regulations and government meddling), keep their corporate offices in the states while shipping the factories and all overseas makes it all OK.
-believes tax cuts alone while massive increases in government spending, regulation, and expansion somehow makes enough sense to trick the gen pop to vote for them anyway.
-believes because we are in a active war they can rob, graft, and steel without limit and people will still hold their nose and vote them in.
-is pained to call a liberal out when they do certain should be inexcusable things like, anti-American rhetoric, outright sedition of an active war effort, attempt to impose socialism onto our nation etc..

-God I could go on….unfortunately. Bottom line Rhino’s are liberals, quasi liberals, or wannabe not yet realized liberals that fly the republican flag.

I guess you could say a Rhino is a Democrat that still loves his nation and believes it worth defending with force if necessary.

I don’t have a problem with letting Rhino’s hang out but the party leadership should be rock rib hard cores and the Rhino’s should have to sign on or at least stay silent on the party foundations.

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 2:59 PM

From Jonah Goldberg: GOP Road Sign: Keep Right

My emphasis:

Economically conservative social liberals are the “jackalopes of American politics,” in the words of National Review’s Kate O’Beirne. The press keeps telling us they exist out there in huge numbers, but when you go looking for them, they refuse to emerge from the bushes.

In fairness, many people do describe themselves this way. Most of the time we simply call them “Democrats.” Those who call themselves Republicans should more properly be called “confused.”

This is not to say that one can’t be a moderate on this issue or that and be a Republican. But the idea that social liberalism and economic conservatism can coexist easily is not well supported by the evidence. For example, in Congress and in state legislatures, the more pro-life you are, the more likely you are to be a free-market, low-tax conservative. The more pro-choice you are, the more likely it is that you will be remarkably generous with other people’s money.

I was so glad to see this linked at RedState. Finally, someone is coming out with some facts.

I thought the tipping point to losing this election were the economic woes. People like Whitman seem to seize any loss as a reason to oust social conservatives.

INC on November 14, 2008 at 3:02 PM

Jonah goes on to say:

But politically, this is hard ground to defend. It turns out that people who buy into the logic of social liberalism, not just on abortion but racial and other issues as well, usually find themselves ill-equipped ideologically to say no to additional spending on causes they care about. They even find it difficult to stay Republicans, as we can see from recent example Colin Powell, who endorsed Barack Obama for president for largely ethereal reasons.

It should be noted that it’s also difficult to be fiscally conservative and socially conservative if you’ve jettisoned the conservative dogma of limited government. We saw this in spades as President Bush embraced “activist government” and ended up wildly increasing government spending over the last eight years.

And that should serve as a warning to those, on the right and left, who would like to see the GOP defenestrate millions of actual, living, breathing members of the party — e.g., social conservatives — in order to woo millions of largely nonexistent jackalopes. The GOP would simply cease to exist as a viable party without the support of social and religious conservatives.

INC on November 14, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Sorry, I left out the paragraph in which he states:

One objection is that “economic conservatism” and “fiscal conservatism” are different things. One can be socially liberal and fiscally conservative, in the sense that you’re only willing to constrain your statist do-goodery to the extent you’re able to pay for it. This is certainly an intellectually defensible position.

before going on to say that politically this is hard ground to defend.

INC on November 14, 2008 at 3:06 PM

On the Centrist headline story, when we were discussing winning elections, I said that depending on the state of current events, it seems to me that you have to be able to do a good PR package on either the conservative defense or conservative fiscal position (and sometimes both, as Reagan did) while emphasizing small government if you want to win the election. That doesn’t mean you have to change your positions. You just have to get them out there is ways that make sense to the middle and appeal to them.

It appears to me that perhaps a big motivation of the mushy middle is to be safe, whether from enemies abroad or financial woes at home.

I’d add that in light of the marriage definition of one man-one woman passing in CA, AZ and FL (it’s at 30 out of 30 states now) I think the middle trends more socially conservative than is generally credited.

Whitman needs to take her own ideological blinders off. If you can’t accurately diagnose the problem, you’re not going to be able to solve it.

INC on November 14, 2008 at 3:16 PM

NC on November 14,

Those are great post and summerize in short order the problem.

Their just is no middle ground for Socialist and Capitalist to meet on.
Their just is not middle ground for big government and fiscal conservatives to meet.
No middle ground for those who believe America is the problem and those who believe America is beneficial to world problems.

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 3:18 PM

Their just is no middle ground for Socialist and Capitalist to meet on.

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 3:18 PM

America is already a mishmash of capitalist and socialist policies. Attempting to take away the socialist aspects that have been around for a while usually upsets voters and scares politicians.

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 3:23 PM

The reason that social issues relate to fiscal and foreign policy issues is that people with stronger moral fiber tend to not need the government goodies, volunteer for the military is somewhat higher percentages, are more charitable on a personal level with their OWN money, are civic, and tend to better understand the limits and fallen nature of man. Southerners know this better than Northeasterners. Southerners have some humility and believe we cannot bring complete heaven on earth, unlike the Obamaites who think they will bring heaven to earth.

If you are a true social conservative of the practicing Christian kind, you are already set up to be more open to the economic liberty and fiscal responsibility of the rest of the platform of the GOP.

It is NOT extreme to want to keep God in the Pledge of Allegiance, to overturn Roe vs. Wade as simply bad legislating from the bench, to keep marriage at least at the state levels between a man and a woman, to keep drugs illegal due to the terrible affect it has on its victims (anybody doubt this needs to look at those before and after meth photos), to pray before a meal, to ask God for guidance, to let Susie read quietly her Bible at school during freereading time (or the Koran).

None of this is incompatible with a bigtent GOP. It is incompatible if FORCED on anyone. I’ve NEVER seen it FORCED on anyone though and Whitman is in an echo chamber in New Jersey.

You never start a new campaign from within enemy territory – aka RINOland which resides within Demoland. You have to start from a strong core and then reach out bring others in.

Sapwolf on November 14, 2008 at 3:28 PM

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 3:18 PM

Jonah’s column is just a great statement on the value of social conservatives.

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 3:23 PM

The thing is that I think the idea of limited government still appeals to a majority and no one wants to pay more taxes. What are needed are Republicans who can connect-the-dots to the value to the individual voter of being economically conservative.

INC on November 14, 2008 at 3:29 PM

If you are a true social conservative of the practicing Christian kind, you are already set up to be more open to the economic liberty and fiscal responsibility of the rest of the platform of the GOP.

Sapwolf on November 14, 2008 at 3:28 PM

I totally agree.

Somewhere I read yesterday (was it Jim Treacher?) that a big tent just means there’s more room to hide for those who want to knife you in the back.

INC on November 14, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Morrissey said:

In order to regain the majority, we need to stop attacking each other and start focusing on those issues that unite us.

What Whitman is really trying to argue here is that she doesn’t want a pro-life element to the GOP anymore. So, she has put herself outside of the GOP core conservative issue of bringing about the God-given respect for life that ought to exist in the USA.

There is no room for pro-aborts in the GOP. There can be none.

Anyone that does not acknowledge the biological scientific fact that is stated in EVERY Embryology textbook – that a unique human life begins at the moment of conception (a fact you can see occuring underneath a microscope during IVF procedures) – has no part in the GOP and is in no way a “conservative”.

Anyone that claims “abortion is a states rights issue” is at their core political scum that the GOP and Conservative movement must have no dealings with.

TheMightyQuinn on November 14, 2008 at 3:43 PM

America is already a mishmash of capitalist and socialist policies. Attempting to take away the socialist aspects that have been around for a while usually upsets voters and scares politicians.

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 3:23 PM

That mentality is exactly why we continue to lose and things continue to get worse. We had the opportunity in 2004 to really roll back some of that socialism. Imagine 2006 if after 2004 we had cut waste, eliminated non-essential government programs, balanced the budget, banned ear-marks, ripped up vetoed whatever those highway, energy, medicare, other waste filled bills, forced through and packed the courts, won the war like we did, and done some self policing on some of the degenerates that had infiltrated i.e. Foley, Abermof etc…

The liberals never back up they only go forward. Every compromise is just another inch to never be released but only added to. Where as our side only strives to hold the line or compromise on how much territory we cede to the liberal/socialist advance.

To spend ourselves fighting with leaders that don’t wish to win but just slow the enemy advance and then just pillage when we do have the power is retarded and a waste. When the Obama/Pelosi/Ried/super-majority gets done I expect like after Carter the gen pop will be screaming for help.

The main concentration for US now should be reshaping the leadership and party so that when that backlash comes we can step in and actually fight to win, with the open goal of pushing this socialism back and OUT if possible.

Dedalus – no offense but bottom line your logic is the logic of a broken man and the recipe for eventual defeat without hope of victory.

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 3:45 PM

Ican’t stand this woman.

She is the one who started the “It’s my party too” group that includes are failed nominee this year and the man so many want to be head of the RNC, Michael Steele. Their goal is to silence the silent majority.

Steele needs to break from this group and commit to reforming the coalition that was the powerful Republican Party of the Reagan Era.

Elizabetty on November 14, 2008 at 3:51 PM

Another day, more GOP cannibalism!

benny shakar on November 14, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Another day, more GOP cannibalism!

benny shakar on November 14, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Like the new Marine motto, we don’t take volunteers we only take commitments. When your locked down fighting and ranks are full of weak and those that could easily see themselves fitting in on the other side the lines will not hold. Then as now once they break the retreat is were the slaughter takes place.

We need leadership especially and members/soldiers that don’t want to just hold the line like dedalus and many others, but instead want to push, break through, then encircle and crush the Socialist creep into our society.

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Why is it that we hear often from fiscal conservatives that we must get rid of social conservatives in the Republic party but it is quite rare that we hear social conservatives calling for the ousting of fiscal conservatives from the party? Why do we ask “social cons” to tone down their principles but not “fiscal cons” to tone down theirs?
The reality is that full fledged conservatism includes both and its principles, fiscal or social, cannot be easily compromised.
If we shed the social conservatives from the party I would think you end up with another Libertarian party, and we know how many votes they get.

neuquenguy on November 14, 2008 at 4:17 PM

Dedalus – no offense but bottom line your logic is the logic of a broken man and the recipe for eventual defeat without hope of victory.

Imagine 2006 if after 2004 we had cut waste, eliminated non-essential government programs, balanced the budget, banned ear-marks, ripped up vetoed whatever those highway, energy, medicare, other waste filled bills, forced through and packed the courts, won the war like we did, and done some self policing on some of the degenerates that had infiltrated i.e. Foley, Abermof etc…

Yet for the past 2 election cycles, we have watched the voters choose waste, fraud, bad bills, an economic meltdown

When the Obama/Pelosi/Ried/super-majority gets done I expect like after Carter the gen pop will be screaming for help.

The main concentration for US now should be reshaping the leadership and party so that when that backlash comes we can step in and actually fight to win, with the open goal of pushing this socialism back and OUT if possible.

Why would they come to the Republicans screaming for help? The gen pop has been educated differently than the baby boomers..the gen pop have not been raised to think as individuals, but engage in group think. The parents do everything for the kids, everything must be fair and everybody wins. Just what is it that you think the Republicans can offer them?

Pam on November 14, 2008 at 4:29 PM

I am one of those scary social cons. A Southern Baptist even. But I’m also a real fiscal conservative (as opposed to a fake one like George Bush, McCain, or Huck) in the mold of Ronald Reagan. I believe the primary role of government is national security. Beyond national security, government ought to be tiny. I am a freedom loving American patriot who believes in American exceptionalism. My point: you can’t pigeonhole social conservatives as if the only thing we care about is abortion. I care about the other conservative agenda items just as much, but if the party no longer supports traditional morality I need to find another political home.

flyfisher on November 14, 2008 at 10:33 AM

Then its hard to call you just a social con–you seem quite well rounded. The complete package.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:36 AM

That’s exactly right. And I believe most “social cons” are like me. They aren’t one trick ponies. I am sure some are only interested in the social issues, but I believe they are a minority.

flyfisher on November 14, 2008 at 10:49 AM

I think the so-called “social cons” are the base of the Republican party for exactly that reason. Most social conservatives are also economically conservative, and believe in a strong military and foreign policy.

I suspect there are few social conservatives who are not also conservative in the other ways. There are, however, probably quite a few fiscal conservatives and national security conservatives who are not interested in the “family values” plank all that much.

So a candidate who appeals to social conservatives probably appeals also to fiscal and national security conservatives. (Huckabee being a notable exception. But then, McCain also played the populism game, to no avail.) The fiscal and national security conservatives may not care so much for pro-life values, but will usually put up with them for the sake of what they care about.

I think when they start complaining about social conservatives is when their candidate fails, and they want to argue that their candidate might have won if he hadn’t been too conservative socially for people to vote for.

I think they’re mistaken in believing that social issues cost the candidate the election, though.

theregoestheneighborhood on November 14, 2008 at 4:34 PM

America is already a mishmash of capitalist and socialist policies. Attempting to take away the socialist aspects that have been around for a while usually upsets voters and scares politicians.

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 3:23 PM

No matter how you feel about entitlements they are going away, maybe not in the short term, but long term they are doomed.

DFCtomm on November 14, 2008 at 4:35 PM

Two points:

You certainly don’t grow the body by chopping of an arm, but, if that arm has gangrene, you do cut it off or die. Plenty of conservatives feel that RINOs are a poison that is killing the party. You stop the poison before you worry about growing again. So, rather than arguing that it’s not how we grow, she should make the case that RINOs are not killing the party.

I also like the metaphor of pruning. There is growth guided by the intelligent a knowledgeable pruning sheers of the gardener that results in amazing fruit and there’s wild growth where anything goes that results in a large, dense thicket of wood that serves no purpose. There is no point in growing the party if growth is the only goal. We should focus on increasing the coalition of people that support conservative ideals. There are certainly plenty that get the label of RINO that do support the majority of Republican ideals and it doesn’t make sense to get rid of them because they are more liberal on this social issue or that fiscal issue. However, there are some (Lincoln Chafee for example) that don’t seem to have any Republican ideals. I don’t see the point in keeping them around so they can be the token Republican quoted by the newspapers as being for everything President Obama wants.

Also, I’ve seen a lot of talk on the more moderate side that Republicans need to let go of all their core issues and embrace the center. You don’t grow without those branches but you don’t survive at all without that trunk. It would be a mistake to be sitting out there at the edge of that moderate limb using a saw to sever your connection to the conservative base. I’d posit the moderate coalition is much smaller than the base and has even less of a chance of being an influential party if it struck out on it’s own without conservatives.

There is much more that unites the various Republican coalitions than the various Democrat coalitions and I think we should focus on what we do agree on rather than saying that social cons or moderates or whomever needs to be booted.

JadeNYU on November 14, 2008 at 4:35 PM

Wow! She’s looking really old and worn out. She ought to retire from politics and take a vacation before her hair turns white.

Sultry Beauty on November 14, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Seat belt use causes just as many accidents as they prevent because a person’s freedom of movement is restricted in the auto.

As far as drugs. I have no problem with the FDA. I do have a problem with the ban on reimportation of drugs. Another sop for the drug companies.

As far as banned drugs. Yes it is a drag on society but the funds would be better spent on education then on enforcment of recreational use. Too many people are made crimnals in this country.

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Seat belts cause accidents? I’m not a fan of seat belt laws, but there’s no question but that they save lives and prevent serious injuries. They don’t cause accidents.

As for reimporting drugs, the reason those drugs get exported for less is because of all the requirements and regulations we put on the drug companies. It’s hardly fair to drive the prices up in this country, then just reimport them from other markets. Besides, while it might look like free money, those drug companies exist to make a profit. If you start reimporting drugs, then they’ll start raising the prices of those drugs you reimport untilthey get back to being profitable.

Maybe we should look at what drives the prices of the drugs up in the first place.

theregoestheneighborhood on November 14, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Growth Through Dismemberment: It works for trees.

AbaddonsReign on November 14, 2008 at 4:54 PM

Seat belts cause accidents? I’m not a fan of seat belt laws, but there’s no question but that they save lives and prevent serious injuries. They don’t cause accidents.

I don’t know about causing accidents, but they can cause injury. I have a friend who got his throat cut by a seat belt during an accident. He was fortunate and survived, but has a scar to remind him that in most cases seat belts save lives, but not always.

DFCtomm on November 14, 2008 at 4:56 PM

Dedalus – no offense but bottom line your logic is the logic of a broken man and the recipe for eventual defeat without hope of victory.

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 3:45 PM

Not at all. It helps to size up the challenge. To imagine that a strong conservative can roll back a big social program like social security should be approached with caution, considering Reagan tried with a modest cost-savings plan for social security and found it to be the third rail of American politics. One of the few times Tip O’Neill trounced the Gipper.

I’d like to have a flat tax and get rid of most entitlement programs, but that isn’t a recipe for electoral victory. The GOP might have to mix a “smart government” message with a “small government” message in the near future.

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 5:01 PM

No matter how you feel about entitlements they are going away, maybe not in the short term, but long term they are doomed.

DFCtomm on November 14, 2008 at 4:35 PM

Maybe this financial crisis will bankrupt the country and force it to look at entitlements. But the big federal entitlements won’t be addressed by politicians running for office but by an appointed eminence grise commission put together to provide bipartisan duck n cover.

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 5:08 PM

Why would they come to the Republicans screaming for help? The gen pop has been educated differently than the baby boomers..the gen pop have not been raised to think as individuals, but engage in group think. The parents do everything for the kids, everything must be fair and everybody wins. Just what is it that you think the Republicans can offer them?

Pam on November 14, 2008 at 4:29 PM

I don’t think you understand Pam. Socialism has failed every time it has been tried. You can promise everyone everything with entitlements but at some point it all collapses like a house of cards.

When that happens we will have what the founders had when they started.

REAL DEAL CONSERVATISM, FREEDOM & CAPITALISM

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 5:08 PM

I agree with Ed. Breaking up is not only hard to do, it is a bad idea.

Terrye on November 14, 2008 at 5:08 PM

I saw this at The Campaign Spot last week:

Is the GOP Really Turning Into a Regional Party?

If the GOP party is dead in the Northeast, why do Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have Republican governors?

The “they’re all squishes” argument doesn’t quite fly, as Rhode Island’s Don Carcieri is pro-life and tough on illegal immigration. Vermont’s Jim Douglas is a tax cutter, supports nuclear power, supports “traditional marriage,” and has cut the state’s budget in some areas.

And what can Republican congressional candidates learn from these governors who managed to get reelected in Democratic years like 2006 and 2008?

INC on November 14, 2008 at 5:49 PM

If my leg were infected with gangrene, I’d have it amputated. A segment of the Republican Party is infected with big government liberalism. What’s the difference?

Sign of the Dollar on November 14, 2008 at 5:57 PM

I don’t care about the so called moderates. I place them on the same bench I place the libs.
Don’t care if they like me or not,, they just need defeated.

JellyToast on November 14, 2008 at 5:59 PM

I don’t think you understand Pam. Socialism has failed every time it has been tried. You can promise everyone everything with entitlements but at some point it all collapses like a house of cards.

When that happens we will have what the founders had when they started.

REAL DEAL CONSERVATISM, FREEDOM & CAPITALISM

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 5:08 PM

I get that socialism doesn’t work, but I fail to see how you think that the Republican Party is going to be the savior..We don’t even have a party leader, let alone a clear and unified message..

Pam on November 14, 2008 at 6:25 PM

Palin the fiscal conservative

http://townhall.com/blog/g/0dec7ac9-3af7-460c-9780-e70109ce9b42

joey24007 on November 14, 2008 at 6:32 PM

I vote right but am not the base. I have no real opinion on the base being fundamental purists, but it benefits nobody if they sink the Republicans via demographics by rejecting all the other kinds of voters that reject the left. I think Sarah Palin can unify the base and also convince them they can’t try to pass any of their measures unless the Republicans get into the White House and win local races. I can almost guarantee that we not of the base are not a threat to their agenda. I want to win and go home. OK?

emerson7 on November 14, 2008 at 6:58 PM

The fundamental principle of the Republican party is supposed to be limited government. That is the glue that holds the party together.

If social concervatives abandon limited government in order to use the government to push thier social agenda, then suddenly they have nothing in common with economic concervatives and have made themselves an extreme minority.

If economic concervatives abandon limited government in order to get pork, attract lobbyists and reinforce thier own power, then suddenly they have nothing in common with social concervatives and have made themselves an extreme minority.

The problem with the RINO term is both of those groups thinks it applies only to the other. It applies to both of them and both acted this way. I tried to point this out on here in the primary and social concervaties especially think it cant apply to them even though they act totally like big government liberals (Huckabee)

Resolute on November 14, 2008 at 7:04 PM

What unites us, then? We need to get back to those First Principles of fiscal responsibility (which we blew when we had the opportunity), smaller government (which we betrayed with the K Street Project and other lobbyist pandering), national security, free market economics, federalism, and lower taxes.

Sounds pretty close to ideological purity to me, and I’m all for it. (None of them are First Principles since they’re all derivative of much more fundamental ideas about individual rights, the proper purpose of govt, etc. but I’ll let that pass for now.)

JDPerren on November 14, 2008 at 7:38 PM

Growth through dismemberment doesn’t work

When one has a limb rotten with gangreen the option is often to let the entire body die a very messy death, not unlike the election of 2006 and 2008, or one can remove the rotten flesh, slowly recover, and go back to politic another day. The conservative base of the party has tried to reverse the rot in the party for a decade without success. When change in a party, change overwhelmingly desired by the base of the party is impossible as long as ‘mavericks’ pay zero attention to the party majority, something must change. We have found the only way to get rid of these folk is to suffer massive election routes in which the public at large fires democrats in drag. Our party simply won’t.

JIMV on November 14, 2008 at 7:56 PM

Resolute

You’ve summed up precisely what my opinion of the situation, quite succinctly. Smaller, less intrusive govt is the lynchpin.

Security Mom on November 14, 2008 at 8:02 PM

The Deomcrats hid their wackos in the closet this go round.

The Farrkhans, Ayers, Deans and Michelle Obama were nowhere to be found. The culture wars will be fought were it counts…in judicial appointments and in the trenches. Where no on ecan see and the most damage is done.

The religious right needs to shut the hell up, go under ground and start fighting it’s culture war in the courts by building ACLU type groups and the like.

Get off the TV, get the hell out of the newspapers and fight the war where it counts: online and in the courts.

mylegsareswollen on November 14, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Democrats didn’t have to hide their wackos. The msm simply refused to mention them.

As for telling the religious right to shut up: why? They have every bit as much right to speak on issues they care about as you do. In fact, they have more right, because they’re a bigger part of the Republican party than you are.

Telling huge parts of your base to “shut up” is not how you win elections. Unless you want to let the Democrats run everything for the next generation.

McCain’s basic lack of respect for the people who should have been his base probably had more to do with him losing the election than anything else. Frankly, he should never have been the candidate.

theregoestheneighborhood on November 14, 2008 at 8:12 PM

This post is well worth repeating:

Yeah, McCain-Feingold is not good.

terryannonline on November 14, 2008 at 1:26 PM

I think you miss the bigger point about rhinos.
It is there desire to agree and be liked that is the problem. The accept the terms of the arguememnt that the left has laid out for them. We can only talk about this and not talk about that. Social acceptance in not liking the right. Ohh those guys are mean etc
Nothing gives more pleasure to a Rhino than being bipartisan. Bipartisan means accepting the Liberal dogma and appeaseing them and never the other way around.
Compasionate conservatism and the so called bail out program is a case in point. There are many many more

kangjie on November 14, 2008 at 1:38 PM

That post cuts to the core of the problem. It’s not just a matter of ideological purity. The RINO’s put compromise and bipartisanship ahead of principles. The liberal media start talking about the “intolerant” religious right, and the RINO’s start agreeing. They talk about man-made global warming, and the RINO’s jump up to make sure everyone knows they agree. Every criticism made by the msm, and the RINO’s position themselves as also concerned, while trying to convince the conservatives that they’re the ones standing up for the Republican party.

The problem here is that the msm and liberals, lie. Repeatedly. They smear, they twist, they distort. They make bad policies, and then the RINO’s rush to support the policies and maybe just manage them a little better.

We saw this dynamic on a huge scale for the past 8 years. The left screamed at Bush, accusing him of corruption (Enron), being in the pocket of Big Oil, being a divider, being a religious radical, believing that God was speaking to him, being a fascist, invading people’s privacy, “lying us into a war”, hating black people, being incompetent, being a war-monger, destroying the environment, etc. Most of what they claimed was basically nonsense. But the RINO’s kept distancing themselves from their president, and effectively telling the whole country that Bush was really as bad as they claimed.

Bush’s biggest problem was that he compromised too much with the Democrats. But at least he did it to try to get his agenda accomplished. The RINO’s on the other hand, just wanted to be … popular? Bush had already compromised too much with the Democrats, and their prescription was more compromise.

The RINO’s in the government directly contributed to Bush’s low approval rating. And it’s no mystery or mistake that Obama didn’t even run against McCain. He ran against George W. Bush.

theregoestheneighborhood on November 14, 2008 at 8:27 PM

BTW, one of the best things about Fred Thompson was his refusal to play the RINO game. He refused to emote about the fears of global warming. He refused to let anyone — media or political opponents — put words in his mouth. When a debate moderator asked for a show of hands on how many candidates believe in global warming, he declined. He said he would be willing to talk about global warming, but he wasn’t going to let his position be reduced to a show of hands.

theregoestheneighborhood on November 14, 2008 at 8:31 PM

eh = you are a idiot

Good Lt o

What is a Rhino? A Rhino is a Republican that…..see below

-considers it a winning strategy to debate a socialist on who will give or spend more on your daily needs.
-considers it wise slamming and disrespecting the foundation of his party so his liberal friends will consider him better than those knuckle draggers (even thou they still consider him inferior).
-considers it good negotiating tactic to always meet the other side half way even when their first demands are so over the top half way is still a gain for their side. This especially applies when Republicans actually have temporary advantage for a change.
-considers earmarks a good thing and that bringing pork home (while lining friends, family, self pockets) is actually the job description.
-is always available and very happy to trot out to X news network to slam your fellow Republicans but for some reason can never bear to slam the other other side?
-has a health care plan to nationalize health care to all but is not socialist, because I guess it has a Republican title page or something.
-thinks appointing a quasi dem Rhino type judge for every conservative judge is a good idea. Even thou the same courtesy will never be returned.
-thinks using your advantage when available to change the government and make gains for the foundational ideas is rude and just over the top.
-always seems to agree with liberal and media talking point of the day about how conservatives are somehow cruel, primitive, stupid, etc…Ex See the many above Palin smears
-talks about Small government but has no list of government waste/departments to be slashed and cut or intention of getting one.
-talks about small government but votes on HUGE waste filled garbage, Energy bill, medicare expansion, etc…
-voted on this monstrosity “bailout” nationalizing the 1st & 2nd largest US mortgage holders, the largest insurance company, banks, credit card companies, inbound auto industry,,,,etc… Even Chavez had throw respects for that coup.
-believes global warming is not a natural earth cycle but is caused by my driving to work. Why exactly was the earth hotter during the dinosaurs and colder during the mammoth than today?
-believes we can save the environment as long as we buy our oil from foreigners who hate US rather than pump and buy our own oil.
-believes regulating every US industry and trade into so much insanity that nearly everyone is a criminal on some level is not what the founders ran from.
-believes as long as the US industries that are closing down (tired of the regulations and government meddling), keep their corporate offices in the states while shipping the factories and all overseas makes it all OK.
-believes tax cuts alone while massive increases in government spending, regulation, and expansion somehow makes enough sense to trick the gen pop to vote for them anyway.
-believes because we are in a active war they can rob, graft, and steel without limit and people will still hold their nose and vote them in.
-is pained to call a liberal out when they do certain should be inexcusable things like, anti-American rhetoric, outright sedition of an active war effort, attempt to impose socialism onto our nation etc..

-God I could go on….unfortunately. Bottom line Rhino’s are liberals, quasi liberals, or wannabe not yet realized liberals that fly the republican flag.

I guess you could say a Rhino is a Democrat that still loves his nation and believes it worth defending with force if necessary.

I don’t have a problem with letting Rhino’s hang out but the party leadership should be rock rib hard cores and the Rhino’s should have to sign on or at least stay silent on the party foundations.

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 2:59 PM

Good detailization (?) (opposite of a summary) of how the RINO”S destroyed the appeal and effectiveness of their own party

theregoestheneighborhood on November 14, 2008 at 8:41 PM

I’d like to have a flat tax and get rid of most entitlement programs, but that isn’t a recipe for electoral victory. The GOP might have to mix a “smart government” message with a “small government” message in the near future.

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 5:01 PM

Dedalus- I agree somewhat but the reason SS is the 3rd rail is that the process and the ideas to fix it are confusing and require time to understand. The gen pop is trying to make ends meat and just doesn’t have that time so it falls to till it breaks or who they can trust.

Rome was not made in a day. You go for the ideology first Freedom, Small Government, Deregulation, first. Don’t just talk empty rhetoric DO it make the cuts make the changes. Once you gain the peoples trust then you can start on the major issues like SS, Taxes, etc…

That brings me to my whole point. The Rhino’s and the big tenters have made US look like a Democratic big government intrusive government, light version. Medicare, Energy, Interstate, bills just to name a few and then we have the pork, ear marks, government expansion, debt expansion, and hell even some out right degenerate kiddie lust…WTF how can we expect the gen pop to trust a party that allows such in its ranks?

A smaller cohesive rock rib foundation of a party is what is needed. Build EARN that trust back and over time the party will grow. But as it grows the growth will not be weak dependent branches that just endanger the whole trunk, but instead assets that are spreading the root & base.

It took 40+ years of sliding to get to were we are when even dam near admitted socialist are allowed the top job and socialism seems to be engraved. It will take probably 40 years to roll that socialism back. FIRST we must lay our foundation make it rock solid unplayable and start building EARNING that reputation back.

Pam

I wasn’t saying that I trust the Republican party to pull it off, the last 4yrs has been humiliating and disgraceful.

All I was saying was that right now the Republican party has the best potential. I am watching the coming leadership changes and who gets to start picking our future lineups very closely to see if it will be a party I want to claim affiliation to or just the other side of the same coin party I see today.

We are going to have to see what camp wins.

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 8:41 PM

C-Low on November 14, 2008 at 8:41 PM

I certainly agree that the GOP governed as a party of big government during the past few years, and I think you are right that gaining credibility again for a low-tax low-spend approach is what is needed. The tough thing is that giving away other people’s money is what politicians love to do and too many voters on the receiving end think it’s great.

dedalus on November 14, 2008 at 9:28 PM

After 8 years of RINO leadership and a losing RINO candidacy (Palin notwithstanding), the RINOs want to tell us it’s our fault? These people are unbelievable. Nobody wants a confused Republican when they could have the real thing and elect a Democrat.

Just try to push a social liberal on us. We will stay home. It’s a conscience thing.

evergreen on November 14, 2008 at 11:07 PM

that’s a load of horseshit.

i, for one, am downright mccarthyist in my dealings with the left. you can see how i am with righties i disagree with. mccain is similarly known by his critics for being angrily disagreeable. the line against him was that he had somehow “stabbed conservatives in the back” for not falling in lockstep with know-nothing “real” conservatives.

so that’s a bit of indirection to even claim that a conciliatory attitude is what defines a “rino”.

no, “rino” is an orthodoxy-enforcement tool, and it works like this: there are fifty questions. each are worth two points, except for three: the question about abortion, the question about gay marriage and the question about border enforcement* are each worth 20 points. so you see, even though none of these three issues appear in the conservative mind or up from liberalism or the closing of the american mind, nor really have any intrinsic bearing on conservatism, properly understood, falling out of orthodxy on any one of these is almost sure to score you as a “rino”.

it’s that anti-intellectual.

*this one used to be about affirmative action

eh on November 14, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Uh I hate to break this to you retard boy but you would have to actually be an intellectual in order to deem something anti-intellectual.
Try to speak in complete sentences next time or better yet try not speaking.

Here is another gem

so that’s a bit of indirection to even claim that a conciliatory attitude is what defines a “rino”.

A conciliatory attitude does in fact define a Rino when it is concilatory to liberalism. Are you really this stupid.
You sound like you live in your mothers basement and watch porn all day.

kangjie on November 14, 2008 at 11:19 PM

I just want fiscal conservatism, a hard ass national defense, free markets, as much liberty as possible, federalism concerning abortion and gay marriage, and responsible SCOTUS justices.

I think that’s what most people want, whether they know it or not.

Metro on November 14, 2008 at 11:55 PM

Issues are being used to distract from the real problem with RINOs. Liberals lying to get elected as conservative Republicans are RINOs.

Reagan didn’t lie to get elected. He told people what he wanted to do and, once elected, he did what he said he’d do.

STOP LYING and there will be no controversy.

Feedie on November 15, 2008 at 12:10 AM

What unites us, then? We need to get back to those First Principles of fiscal responsibility (which we blew when we had the opportunity), smaller government (which we betrayed with the K Street Project and other lobbyist pandering), national security, free market economics, federalism, and lower taxes. If we can agree to pursue those as priorities, and if we can rebuild our credibility on those goals, then we can convince moderates to once again support Republicans, especially if the Democrats run off the rails in the next two years.

If we can agree to those, there will still be those in the Republican party who will be mortified to hobnob with nasty, narrow-minded evangelical pro-lifers and other assorted Neanderthals. I wonder why they don’t save everyone a lot of angst and just become Democrats.

Our central thesis was simple: The Republican Party had been taken hostage by “social fundamentalists,” the people who base their votes on such social issues as abortion, gay rights and stem cell research.

I have never known a single person who based their votes only on social issues. Straw man.

ddrintn on November 15, 2008 at 12:19 AM

I held my nose and voted for RINOs quite a few times because I thought it was best for the country. But this is too much. The snobbery, desire to exclude, and obsession with shedding social issues comes from the RINOs. And now they dare to blame conservatives, the people given short shrift ever since Reagan left office.

It’s completely legitimate to look at the records of candidates like Huckabee and McCain and decide whether their positions are too nutty to vote for them in good conscience. Bushism and RINOism hosed this country big-time with election deception and a death grip on Republican politics. Liberals like Arnold are especially destructive when they come in as non-entities posing as conservatives.

It’s not just issues; it’s the larger picture painted by actions and the results that follow. Too many conservatives have seen enough, and the RINOs are quaking at the thought of Palin. There have been no real choices for quite a while. We know what we’re getting with the liberal Democrat Party. It’s the RINOs in the Republican Party who are denying the electorate another choice.

The nation is on the brink of ruin, and it’s ridiculous to place all blame for Obama on foolish voters who wanted a strong laxative to cleanse the government of RINOs.

Feedie on November 15, 2008 at 2:11 AM

Personal intra-party attacks using the phrase RINO are unproductive and needlessly destructive at this point. The way to go is to define our principle and march forward. No need to be personal.

Phil Byler on November 15, 2008 at 7:35 AM

Good grief, is “eh” still astroturfing here? I guess the “Headlines” spanking just got his bottom warmed up. The dude seriously enjoys it, I guess.

Good detailization (?) (opposite of a summary)

I think the word that you are looking for is exposition. :-)

rhodeymark on November 15, 2008 at 7:47 AM

:)

rhodeymark on November 15, 2008 at 7:47 AM

SMILEY!!!

rhodeymark on November 15, 2008 at 7:48 AM

I think Ted has got a few issues of his own.

He is a draft dodger, and has said things such as “Our failure has been not to Nagasaki them.” (speaking on Iraq), and “I say if somebody robs you, shoot ‘em. I’d like all thieves killed. And all rapists. And carjackers. No more graffiti. No more…”

Now, I think we handled the insurgency with kidgloves for too long (esp after Abu Ghraib) – but nuking Iraq? I don’t see too many conservatives supporting that.

And while I wouldn’t shed too many tears over a thief being shot after breaking into your home – ‘all thieves being killed’ is something I can’t get behind.

A hungry person steals a loaf of bread and we should kill them? WTF? That packet of post-it’s you took home from work? Death sentence.

I don’t know if there is a perfect conservative out there. Let’s kick everyone out of the party. Then we’ll win fer sure!

Mr Purple on November 15, 2008 at 8:43 AM

The differences between a Republican and a Democrat should be as blatant as the difference between night and day. Democrats have their principles and stand behind them to the bitter end; tax and spend baby!

Republicans and esp. RINO’s are to often confused with their principles and beliefs, wobbling around like a bug caught in a spider web. What I loved about Ronald Reagan was his delightful adherence to his ideology, and his ability to face the MSM and deliver powerful blow after powerful blow to their nonsense… Taking a stand on principle is attractive, esp. if you find the principle agreeable to your own way of living life.

Republicans need to study up on what it means to be a Republican. GW Bush blew it big time with his spending and willingness to move big government programs forward. Strong on National Defense, strong on Liberal Socialist programs. Bad combination trying to please both sides of the isle!

Keemo on November 15, 2008 at 8:44 AM

What unites us, then? We need to get back to those First Principles of fiscal responsibility, smaller government, national security, free market economics, federalism, and lower taxes.

Retain the integrity of The Constitution.

maverick muse on November 15, 2008 at 8:57 AM

kangjie on November 14, 2008 at 11:19 PM

But, but there is a Thesaurus!

Cindy Munford on November 15, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Christine Whitman is pro-gun control, which proves her to be a liar when she says she is “libertarian.”

Speaking of which: RINO’s use the same logic as gun controllers to excuse their messes. Just as gun controllers invariably cause crime rates to spike in their states, and then claim it’s the neighboring states, without gun control (and incidentally, with low crime), that cause the problem, RINO’s invariably lead to long-term Democrat dominance in their states–and then blame social conservatives thousands of miles away.

For anyone who thinks pro-abortion politics is a silver bullet for Republicans, why don’t you ask US Senator Rick Lazio about that?

Kenno on November 15, 2008 at 12:02 PM

“What unites us, then?”

I note that embryonic stem-cell research, gay marriage, & abortion among other socially conservative issues. are not on your list of things which unite us and attract moderates. You, yourself, are thus confirming Whitman’s very point!

JM Hanes on November 15, 2008 at 3:35 PM

Right…Matthew Scully, that insufferable buffoon who allowed Sarah Palin to invoke the name of Westbrook Pegler in her Convention speech.

Talk about airy blather….

AprilOrit on November 16, 2008 at 3:04 AM

It would have been far, far better if c-low at 11/14 2:59 PM wrote what he did in terms of principles and policies that Republicans should advocate. As I have posted previously, this business of calling people RINOs is unproductive and unnecessarily destructive scapegoating. Instead, the task for Republicans is to articulate principles and policies and to stand up for them in the years ahead against the socialist designs of Obama. State the principles; march forward with them; the Lincoln Chafees will be not follow and are not worth our energies anyway.

Republicans have been put in the political wilderness, and it is important to use this period to reinvigorate the GOP. Scapegoating particularly now does not help because in this electoral year, there were “headwinds” that precluded any Republican from being elected President — a financial meltdown that created economic anxieties that have historically favored the Democrats and did this year; a financial bailout that muddied the waters of what was a Reaganesque economic message delivered by McCain and Palin on the campaign trail; the unpopularity of Bush, which is unfair but which is the result of unceasing attack by the Left and Bush not using the bully pulpit to defend his Administration; money and more money, some of it illegal, that Obama had; and media bias that was absurdly in the tank for Obama and that operated effectively day-in, day-out as a propaganda machine for Democrats (e.g., Obama, the tax cutter).

The “tailwinds” that should work for us of strong military and national security, strong values and strong economy based on freedom and oppportunity did not blow for us ths year because of the unusual economic situation that arose. Before the financial meltdown, McCain was ahaead in the polls; after the meltdown, the economic anxieties, the money and the media bias trumped all.

The media bias is not going away. The money advantage that Obama had is probably not going away. The unpopularity of Bush will fade, but the media will cover for Obama and the Democrats. So it is important, if we are to be successful, not to engage in internecine intra-party fights and scapegoating, but to identify what we stand for and stand on it from day one against Obama and the Democrats.

Phil Byler on November 16, 2008 at 7:46 AM

What unites us, then? We need to get back to those First Principles of fiscal responsibility (which we blew when we had the opportunity), smaller government (which we betrayed with the K Street Project and other lobbyist pandering), national security, free market economics, federalism, and lower taxes. If we can agree to pursue those as priorities, and if we can rebuild our credibility on those goals, then we can convince moderates to once again support Republicans, especially if the Democrats run off the rails in the next two years.

I’m in agreement with that. But I think there are TWO things at work. One, Republicans spend way too much time squabbling amongst themselves. And two, we’ve allowed the left to define our brand instead of doing it for ourselves.

Republicanism should be viewed as a big umbrella. It’s precepts are fairly basic ones, so one would think there’d be lots of room for like-thinkers under that umbrella.

Republican Principles

I’m a Republican Because…

I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.

I BELIEVE in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.

I BELIEVE free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative have brought this nation opportunity, economic growth and prosperity.

I BELIEVE government must practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money they earn.

I BELIEVE the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations, and that the best government is that which governs least.

I BELIEVE the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people.

I BELIEVE Americans must retain the principles that have made us strong while developing new and innovative ideas to meet the challenges of changing times.

I BELIEVE Americans value and should preserve our national strength and pride while working to extend peace, freedom and human rights throughout the world.

FINALLY, I believe the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.
http://www.gop.com/about/imarepublicanbecause.htm

The problem we run into is that we’ve been looking at Republicanism as a pyramid, with SoCons at “the base”. If we use the umbrella model instead, we see that they have no more right to hold the handle and lead the way than any other groups or individuals that stand beneath the our large umbrella of core principles.

Meanwhile, all the Independents and Moderates see is the loud and blustering SoCons leading us around in circles. And the left capitalizes on that big time, using it to define us to the public.

RINO-hunting, I believe, is a knee-jerk reaction to our leadership having made “deals with the devil”. And I’m not talking about “bipartisanship” in general, but rather “bipartisanship” which fails to uphold our most basic principles. These principles should be the litmus test of whether we work together across the aisle, or fight tooth and nail.

If you ask me, I think what we need to do now is campaign a new model out to the public, replace the pyramid with the umbrella, and define ourselves by our core principles. In order to shorten our message down to a memorable sound-bite… we need to stress the meaning of Liberty (Individualism) as opposed to Collectivism. The brevity and clarity of that message, shows us two umbrellas… and it’s not hard at that point to decide which one a patriot would rather stand under.

Murf76 on November 16, 2008 at 12:21 PM

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