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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So AP are you saying we shouldn’t cut the RINO’s loose either?

Skywise on November 14, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Security: Strong Military, Law Enforcement, Boarder Enforcement
Economy: Free Trade, Low and Simple Taxes, Private Enterprise, reasonable (not excessive) regulation
Morality: Personal Responsibility, Religious Freedom
Security + Economy: Trade and Security agreements, Protection of Trade Routs
Security + Morality: Promotion of Liberty and Democracy Abroad, Right of Self Defense
Economy + Morality: Private Charities instead of Entitlements, Reasonable Environmentalism
All: Rule of Law, Judicial Restraint.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:20 AM

I wrote this, not AP. I’m saying that national parties have to build national coalitions in order to gain enough seats in Congress to make a difference.

Ed Morrissey on November 14, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Its not a matter of cutting out parts of the electorate. Its a matter of getting people back to principle and away from the pandering that those we call RINO’s drifted toward.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:21 AM

I lived in NJ throughout both of Christine Todd Witless’s terms. The differences between her and her RINO supporters in the ASSembly and the Dimocruds? The Dems tax and spend while Witless and her cronies borrowed and spent. She took a 60-40 GOP advantage in both houses and turned them into 40-60 in 8 years. Like RINO Bush at the national level, she ruined the GOP reputation for fiscal responsibility. She more than doubled the state debt in 8 years. Listen to her if you want to finally kill off the GOP.

bill30097 on November 14, 2008 at 10:23 AM

funny the dems are making the same case to grow the economy by conserving resources. Makes no sense for the economy and makes no sense for the party. You grow by growing not conserving.

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Kill the RINO’s as they do more damage than good.

bill30097 on November 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM

Social conservatives per se are not a problem.

Social conservatives whose outlook bleeds into their fiscal policies, a la taxes for social and behavior controls by idiots such as Huckabee, are a problem.

MadisonConservative on November 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM

I disagree those who say we don’t need this fight. We need it, and now’s the time to do it. If Ms. Whitman gets her way, there will be a 3rd party. Hers will be a party that calls for smaller government and lower taxes without the “encumberences” of moral issues. The third party will be a party that calls for smaller government, lower taxes, border security, and limits on abortion. We’ll see who wins, and the Dems might, but that’s a fight I’m willing to have.

Matticus Finch on November 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM

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.

Thank you, Ed! That’s why I am a Republican! I honestly forgot why I was a Republican there for a while. And, I am being totally serious.

Karen_VA on November 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM

Sorry Ed, I misremembered the headline. :)

But isn’t that the point of Whitman’s statement here? That by taking on the social-cons they’re losing chances at a broader national coalition by taking on some other segment that won’t join because of social-cons?

Skywise on November 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM

Im from NJ, and Christine Todd Whitman didnt even govern like a Rhino. She Governed like a Democrat. That was the big joke about her being a Republican. So if anyone is taking advice from her, you might as well , take advice from your family pet. The only thing she did right was to privatize the DMV, which i must say is much better now.

MDWNJ on November 14, 2008 at 10:25 AM

She wants dismemberment as a purity drive, much the same as Ted Nugent’s call for open season on RINOs.

Oh, please. The kill the rinos meme is response to all the rinos demanding everyone act like democrats and that the social conservatives, who they attempt to disparage by labeling them fundamentalists, be disenfranchised. The rinos want everyone they don’t agree with kicked out but whine when the same is said to them.

Blake on November 14, 2008 at 10:25 AM

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.

No more compassionate conservatism. No more hidden pork. I’m afraid by the time pubbies have much political leverage again, most of the nationalization projects will be completed and hard to overturn. Obama isn’t going to be held to account during the first 4 years. Congress,..???, perhaps.

a capella on November 14, 2008 at 10:26 AM

The problem with RINO’s isn’t just that they want Republicans to abandon their principles, it’s that they also never seem to address the consequences of said straying when they put it into practice – just like the liberals never address the consequences of liberalism.

thirteen28 on November 14, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Conservatives need RINOs the way Democrats need Blue Dogs. There are parts of the country where three legged cons (social, fiscal, foreign policy) will never win an election, just like there are parts of the country where Pelosi could never win.

I’d take a half dozen RINOs in the northeast. They just can’t be the leaders of the party. And whomever does become the next party leader needs to be able to articulate conservative ideals to the public. President Bush and McCain couldn’t do it, and it cost the party big.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:27 AM

The very fact she and her ilk think this last election was about social issues shows how politically clueless she is. My take away message from her rant is she shouldn’t be let anywhere near the reins of the Republican party. And I am saying that as someone who probably aligns more closely with her on the social issues than the social conservatives she maligns.

peterargus on November 14, 2008 at 10:29 AM

I’m sorry, but exactly which Republican President was even remotely fiscally responsible?

Agreed with the rest.

A Axe on November 14, 2008 at 10:29 AM

No more compassionate conservatism. No more hidden pork.

a capella on November 14, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Why? When given names like “social contract” and “living wage” and “jobs stimulus” by the Democrats, those concepts work VERY well in elections.

Skywise on November 14, 2008 at 10:29 AM

So – What Gov. Whitman is saying is, if Republicans become watered-down Democrats, they’ll be successful.

Right.

That worked SO WELL for Reagan.

Wait….

creatocon on November 14, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Matticus Finch on November 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM

Moral issues are part of the small government argument.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Social conservatives whose outlook bleeds into their fiscal policies, a la taxes for social and behavior controls by idiots such as Huckabee, are a problem.

MadisonConservative on November 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM

Yes. I was on a plane with Huckabee last week, btw. He flew coach and was talking and taking pictures with anyone who came up to him while we were waiting in baggage claim. Kind of cool.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:30 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.

Well, I agree with all those, Ed, but I’m sure that Christie Whitman does, at least as “first principles.”

A review of her book said, “If moderates would only stand up for themselves, she contends, the party platform could return to the essential issues-’fiscal restraint, reasonable and open discussion of social issues, environmental policies that promote a balanced approach to environmental protection, and a foreign policy that is engaged with the rest of the world.”

The review also said that the GOP “marginalizes women.” Well, that is one thing I can agree with her on, only it was her section of the party that did that.

Whitman keeps trying to get people to listen to her and nobody does. She is a has-been, if that is grammatically possible.

BigD on November 14, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Social conservatives ARE the base of the conservative philosophy. it was every one in the party except the social conservatives that screwed things up… sheesh.

MNDavenotPC on November 14, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Thinking Whitman a conservative would be like thinking MilliVanilli were singers.

Mr. Bingley on November 14, 2008 at 10:31 AM

The reason the moral issues have taken a back seat is that the liberal media has made those who are people of faith seem like dunces. News outlets and Hollywood have portrayed morals like a disease. They have chipped away at the foundations of our country and have delighted at the results of taking decisions from the voters and given them to unelected judges. In recent years we have seen that rot coming into the Republican Party and the base won’t have it! Hence 2006 and 2008. How many of your readers were excited to contribute to the RNC after being betrayed by Republicans? Until Sarah Palin came along, we were only willing to hold our noses and vote for McCain. Yet the media is still running a hit campaign on Sarah like she is some sort of vampire or something! If we don’t stand for what’s right, we’ll fall under the tidal wave of immorality and socialism.

Christian Conservative on November 14, 2008 at 10:31 AM

I’m torn ;-)

While it’s true we need as many votes as we can get, I think the best way to achieve that goal is to make it clear what, exactly, folks get when they vote for the Republican brand. To the extent that more liberal elements of the party water down the brand, I think they probably cost us more votes than they gain us.

But the whole question, there, is, what ARE the core parts of the brand? I can’t stand Obama’s abortion position, but I know some women who vote for Big O because “he’s not trying to take away my right to choose”. Is our stance on abortion one of the key positions for the party?

So the question is two-fold. What are the top elements that Republicans stand for? And how much emphasis do we place on the other elements, whatever they are? I’d say for practical purposes, a party can really only run on 3 or 4 core principles.

Choosing from the above list, which ones would you say are the top 3?

hawksruleva on November 14, 2008 at 10:31 AM

President Bush and McCain couldn’t do it, and it cost the party big.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Bushes popularity always seemed to go down when he played nice, and up when he stood firm.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Moral issues are part of the small government argument.

Agreed (from my point of view). Hers? Not so sure.

Matticus Finch on November 14, 2008 at 10:32 AM

YAY! more infighting based upon stupid statements from c. whitman!

/sgh …

Buckaroo on November 14, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Yes. I was on a plane with Huckabee last week, btw. He flew coach and was talking and taking pictures with anyone who came up to him while we were waiting in baggage claim. Kind of cool.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Always thought he seemed like a good man.

I just know he’s not a good policymaker.

MadisonConservative on November 14, 2008 at 10:32 AM

O/T
I want to ask how good of a source is LiveLeak.com because they have a story I want to link but don’t want to if they are a bad site?
By the way I’m back had to take some time to regroup after the election.

tee866 on November 14, 2008 at 10:33 AM

I seem to remember reading this somewhere:

And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Jens on November 14, 2008 at 10:33 AM

Isn’t Steele close to Whitman? Don’t they serve together on the Republican Leadership Council that’s dedicated to exactly this idea of running away from social conservatives?

thankful on November 14, 2008 at 10:33 AM

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

On Nov. 4, the American people very clearly rejected the politics of demonization and division.

Except of course the “demonization and division” of the Right.

ronsfi on November 14, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Yawn … Whitman is Repiberal. She should be ignored.

darwin on November 14, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Why? When given names like “social contract” and “living wage” and “jobs stimulus” by the Democrats, those concepts work VERY well in elections.

Skywise on November 14, 2008 at 10:29 AM

First, to the extent that Dems were allowed to use terms like that to mask the liberal nature of their policies, it’s our job to expose that.

Second, even assuming the majority of Americans believed in such programs, does adopting those positions help us get more votes? I think you lose more from the right than you gain from the left with that strategy.

hawksruleva on November 14, 2008 at 10:35 AM

So AP are you saying we shouldn’t cut the RINO’s loose either?

Skywise on November 14, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Don’t cut them loose, just minimize their public role. As stupid as Pelosi is, look at the way she provides cover for the Blue Dogs so they can vote to get re-elected on key issues. That’s smart. They vote with her on most issues, and when they don’t major voices aren’t shouting for them to be purged from the party.

Like it or not, we need RINOs to maintain a large enough coalition to matter on the national level.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:36 AM

If we fight for our core beliefs, limited government, then none of this is an issue. I have thoughts about this. Tell me if I’m an idiot or not http://tinyurl.com/58f689

jacrews on November 14, 2008 at 10:36 AM

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

The “fiscal” conservatives would be a lot easier to believe if they would occasionally act like one. If you get the government out of my hair and out of my pocketbook I can pretty much live my life the way I want to. But to encourage the ouster of social conservatives gives lie to the fact that our families are being indoctrinated from the outside with belief we just don’t share. It’s fine to say that we can avoid those things and it some ways that is true. But we have gone from avoiding them to full blown combat against the deluge of massive rationalization.

Cindy Munford on November 14, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Always thought he seemed like a good man.

I just know he’s not a good policymaker.

MadisonConservative on November 14, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Yup. I would have had to flip a coin if the nomination came down to Huck and Ron Paul.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:38 AM

the reason we lost is that the Bushies wanted to forget about conservatism. they gave lip service to social con while being dems with the budget and economy. The only thing we need to do is have all three legs of the stool.

This is not rocket science people.

Politics is the art of compromise.

social cons get abortion
fiscal cons get balance budget
libertians get smaller government
national security hawks get a strong military

that’s it. We win elections.

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 10:38 AM

RINOs are like cancer. Cut it out, burn it out, kill it with drugs, but get rid of it! Its not a purity issue, its a simple matter of survival.

serenity on November 14, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Why not start by proposing to end the so called “War on Drugs”? I cannot think of a better small government proposal that serves the purposes of fiscal responsibility and attracting moderate/younger voters. This issue was completely ignored by the main-stream media during the course of the campaign and it really amazes me that not a single journalist thought to ask Governor Palin whether she as Vice-President would support extending Alaska’s very lenient marijuana laws (i.e., the most lenient in the nation) to the rest of America…

sayabule1 on November 14, 2008 at 10:41 AM

We want to bring moderates to our positions because they are correct, not have moderate leaders who behave like democrats.

CTW is exact type of politician that needs to be culled from the heard. Fiscal conservatism is not: “sort of trying to keep budget increases below double digit growth”, its slashing unnecessary bureaucracy and spending. Its understanding that a smaller government means less social-engineering, preserving traditional values, and preserving and defending the rights of the people.

phreshone on November 14, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Let me tell you how bad Whitman was, her successor, Jim McGreevey was more conservative…yes a corrupt democrat.

Whitman was such a liberal, it was embarrassing. I don’t know how she can claim herself to be a republican.

jencab on November 14, 2008 at 10:42 AM

I’m saying that national parties have to build national coalitions in order to gain enough seats in Congress to make a difference.

Ed Morrissey on November 14, 2008 at 10:21 AM

But, as Tip O’Neill famously stated, “All politics is local.”

If the political organizations in each state can’t get their collective act together, national coalitions mean nothing. The foundations must be built and grown in each state again…

eanax on November 14, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Yup. I would have had to flip a coin if the nomination came down to Huck and Ron Paul.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:38 AM

As much as a lean toward fiscal conservatism, Ron Paul is way too wide-eyed on foreign policy and security. I’d have to go with Huck.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:42 AM

sayabule1 on November 14, 2008 at 10:41 AM

+1

throw in a repeal of the seat belt laws and I’m there.

a drug war should be against the crimes committed for those drugs. Not recreational use. companies are in a better position to police drug use by drug tests etc.

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Social issues can be combined with other conservative values. For instance no federal funding for abortion. In fact cut federal funding for quite a bit of things.
On gay rights you can be for civil unions and still against gay marriage.
To me a RINO is not someone who merely deserts social issues but rather someone who deserts the other items on the list of issues like fiscal responsibility, corruption, national security.

Just A Grunt on November 14, 2008 at 10:43 AM

We want to bring moderates to our positions because they are correct, not have moderate leaders who behave like democrats.

CTW is exact type of politician that needs to be culled from the heard. Fiscal conservatism is not: “sort of trying to keep budget increases below double digit growth”, its slashing unnecessary bureaucracy and spending. Its understanding that a smaller government means less social-engineering, preserving traditional values, and preserving and defending the rights of the people.

phreshone on November 14, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Agreed.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Its funny how these RINOs are dogging social conservatives

Look how the democrats were able to take control of the House … Rahm Emanuel found “conservative” dems in red districts and ran them against the RINOs we put up.

looks like a good strategy

joey24007 on November 14, 2008 at 10:44 AM

Republican moderates & Liberals are what’s killing the Reagan GOP and the Reagan Dream! The more Republicans look like the Democrats, the less the Republicans win. Why can’t the GOP see that? The RINOs provide no real choice for Americans. Conservatism works every time it’s tried. It’s not a matter of branding or “looking” good. It’s a matter of being able to communicate the principles that work and then implementing those principles once elected. That’s one of the biggest reasons Bush has failed us. He looked like a conservative, at first, but then spent like a liberal! Americans don’t want that. They want D.C. to budget, be ethical and fight for & defend the principles that made us great.

scottjenn on November 14, 2008 at 10:45 AM

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?

If the arm or leg is diseased, then YES, amputating them makes the torso “more pure.”

Sports teams do the same thing from time to time – it’s called addition through subtraction. You get rid of the talented dead weight who is a locker-room cancer and all of a sudden the entire team is playing better.

That said, any abandonment of social issues is ALSO an abandonment of core conservative Republican values.

The focus on social issues is not killing Republicans…

…it’s one of the few things keeping them alive!

Religious_Zealot on November 14, 2008 at 10:45 AM

I’d take a half dozen RINOs in the northeast. They just can’t be the leaders of the party. And whomever does become the next party leader needs to be able to articulate conservative ideals to the public. President Bush and McCain couldn’t do it, and it cost the party big.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:27 AM

If you didn’t notice on Nov. 4th, the last 3 RINOs left in the northeast got the boot. Conservatives that reject social conservatism will not stay in elected office. Like they say, why elect Democrat Lite when you can have the real thing?

broker1 on November 14, 2008 at 10:46 AM

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.

…preach it, brother!

Whitman and her ilk are the problem. They stand for nothing…just a weak soupy mix of fashionable and transitory stands on important issues…the ones cited — stem cell research, abortion, the homosexual agenda — arise from traditional and moral roots, neither of which Ms.Whitman and her fellow travellers seem to have any time for…which means that the traditional Republican base, post 1960′s, is shut out as “fundamentalist”.

…so, it would seem, Ms. Whitman is a “moderate fundamentalist”…with not time to spare for the “values wing” of the party….

Once again, Whitman and her enablers stand for nothing…nothing beyond the next pandering poll…so, how can they hope to stand up against the Democrats, who actually do stand for something…it’s all the wrong things, but it’s taking a stand, nonetheless….

…somebody print off this thread for her benefit…drop it off by her country club, so’s she can read it between the soup and the fish course….

Puritan1648 on November 14, 2008 at 10:46 AM

social fundamentalists,” the people who base their votes on such social issues as abortion, gay rights and stem cell research.

the democratic party of full of the same type of people. mccain didn’t lose b/c of social conservative positions, he lost b/c the moron electorate thought obama would save the economy and they’d had it with the war.

anna on November 14, 2008 at 10:47 AM

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Not that again. Look, the public has an interest in seat belt use, and every right to regulate how people behave on public streets. Drugs need to be regulated to ensure transparency and safety, and the banned drugs are just plain un-safe. If you argue against that, then it is snake oil for everyone.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:47 AM

I came to the Republican party several years ago because of my pro-life beliefs. I have since learned that true conservatism is the right way but if they jettison the core anti-abortion stance, I will no longer vote for them.

I would rather live under the boot of a Democrat government than abandon my value of life and my fight for the rights of the unborn. Blast me if you will, but Jesus tells me to seek the kingdom of God first and all the other things will be added.

A nation that allows open and mass slaughter of its most vulnerable cannot expect the blessings of God. I cast my vote for pro-life politicians only, I will trust God with the rest.

Jvette on November 14, 2008 at 10:47 AM

So, according to Christine Todd Whitman, Robert M. Bostock and the Washington Post, the only way for the GOP to win anymore elections is to behave more like the Democrats.

I’m sure this is news to Christopher Shays.

Hey Chrissy, babe, do us a favor and change your party affiliation. And failing that, at least have the courtesy of shutting your pie hole. The reason why the GOP lost so badly in the last two elections is because it abandoned the conservative principles that got it elected in the first place. If the GOP is to be damned, lets be damned for who we are — CONSERVATIVES.

GT on November 14, 2008 at 10:48 AM

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

This is so true!! When we see the dems in action they do not throw their troubled members over board, they circle the wagons. I often become frustrated that at the slightest hint of trouble we tear our own apart. I mean the dems have numerous legislators with legal trouble and they are still serving. Yet when there is even a rumor of trouble we allow our members wonder into the Lions den unprotected and toss them out. At the very least, the moderates should not be given leadership roles

lwssdd on November 14, 2008 at 10:48 AM

If you didn’t notice on Nov. 4th, the last 3 RINOs left in the northeast got the boot. Conservatives that reject social conservatism will not stay in elected office. Like they say, why elect Democrat Lite when you can have the real thing?

broker1 on November 14, 2008 at 10:46 AM

I live in New Jersey … my Rep is one of the most conservative in the House, he wins all of the time because he offers a clear choice … in a dem state like NJ, the people go with the real liberal all of the time

joey24007 on November 14, 2008 at 10:49 AM

“tee866 on November 14, 2008 at 10:33 AM”

liveleak is a fine site to link to — lots of stuff of all stripes posted there …

/jmo of course …

Buckaroo on November 14, 2008 at 10:49 AM

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

In GA we have the litmus test for the Republicans. The runoff for the Senate seat held by Saxby Chambliss. Are the voters more afraid of sending the Democrat Jim Martin to congress then they are to send a message to the GOP that we don’t want RINO’s.
Saxby has belonged to every Gang of whatever. He helped craft the Amnesty legislation, that debacle of an energy plan put forth by the Senate recently and of course the bailout.
Having McCain come down here to stump for him I don’t think will be seen as a positive.
Already Freedoms Watch is airing commercials with the theme of don’t give the Dems another seat. They don’t speak up for Saxby as much as they lobby for not losing a seat, regardless of the warm body occupying it.

Just A Grunt on November 14, 2008 at 10:49 AM

I’m saying that national parties have to build national coalitions in order to gain enough seats in Congress to make a difference.

Ed Morrissey on November 14, 2008 at 10:21 AM

I think were way beyond that at this point Ed.

Viper1 on November 14, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Yeah that is real bright, let’s get GOD out of our party, and piss off all of the deeply religious people in the country. Let’s stop defending human life, and faith based intitiatives, and Conservative principles. Idiots!

Uncle Ted, I have found 2 for you to bag, Whitman and Bostock!

ReaganConservative3 on November 14, 2008 at 10:50 AM

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

…and, if it doesn’t, medically speaking it does create a handicapped patient….

…cut a limb off of the party and the party will be more “pure”, but they don’t call it “run for office” for nothing….

Puritan1648 on November 14, 2008 at 10:50 AM

God I hate all this wishy-washy party building comity ED Morrisey crap. Build it and they will come. Get Rambo on three fundamental themes, excise the Christie Whitmans, throw a few Arnold lambs to the slaughter, excercise some laser-like leadership and the party building will follow. No big tent. No reaching out to moderates. Lead by example and make sacrifices as in the heads of a few RINOS.

epluribusunum on November 14, 2008 at 10:50 AM

The RINOs wanted McCain as the presidential candidate this year. McCain was a terrible candidate. They ran screaming away from him when things got tough. Can the RINOs please just shut up about what they want now? Just for a little while?

tyrfing on November 14, 2008 at 10:51 AM

What a load of tripe!!!! The “authors” of this crap is why the Republican brand is in the shape its in!!! Dump the Cinos and Rinos, let them pollute the dems/lib/Marxist party’s!!

grapeknutz on November 14, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Like it or not, we need RINOs to maintain a large enough coalition to matter on the national level.

Well, we need to make social issues state issues, though. I’ve said it a million times, how could that magical mushy middle disagree with having issues determined closer to the people? People are more mobilized and energized when issues (like Prop 8) are decided locally. Where I’m from in Texas, we had a proposition for allowing liquor sales in our city limits. The social conservatives banded together, spent their own money, and worked hard (and, alas, almost succeeded) in its defeat. But the point is that it was decided locally, where my voice and that of all of my neighbors were heard more clearly.

As for abortion, I don’t know whether it’s a state’s issue, a county issue, or a municipality issue, but I know it ain’t a national issue.

Matticus Finch on November 14, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Explain to me how if I wear a seatbelt the public streets are safer?

The government has no right to tell individuals they need to protect themselves. None. That is called freedom lok it up. It is not the government’s job to protect the individual form his/her own action.

Only when that action impacts the entire society does the government have a rigth to cutail that action.

Smoking a joint in your home is not a threat to anyone. Me using or not using a seatbelt is no threat to anyone but myself.

Now if I don’t buckle up my child, the government has a right to protect the child. If I drive stoned the gov has a right to protect society from me. It does not have a right to force me to be safe. None.

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 10:53 AM

I have no use for Christine Todd Whitman. She’s a lib.

CP on November 14, 2008 at 10:53 AM

Christie Whitman may be the worst possible spokesperson for this point of view. It’s OK with me to shoot this messenger.

But Ed is right that the message is important and we ignore it at our peril.

What other measure do we have than the last election to see where America is? We can’t just make up an America we wish existed, we have to deal with the America that is. And that America is less old, less white, more educated, and less interested in legislating morality when the economy is collapsing. That America pretty soundly rejected what it saw as a far-right, exclusive, abortion-obsessed, fear-mongering party with a poor recent track record and no coherent plan for growing the economy. While some of that can be laid at the feet of the candidate, most of it can’t. And it can’t be blamed on the liberal media either.

We made this happen. We failed to rally behind a real conservative in the primaries and then did nothing but snipe at John McCain for every single comment, or failure to comment, that we determined was an abandonment of conservatism. We forced him to take Sarah Palin as a running mate because we threatened to hold our faces until we turned blue if he picked someone that was not conservative enough for us.

Next time, how about we get behind an actual conservative, and then shut up and let him or her pick whoever the hell he/she wants as a running mate, and then run to the center in the general election. A guy named Ronald Reagan did that and won 49 states.

rockmom on November 14, 2008 at 10:54 AM

And whomever does become the next party leader needs to be able to articulate conservative ideals to the public. President Bush and McCain couldn’t do it, and it cost the party big.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Strongly agree with this point. And these ideals and principles need to be reiterated by that party leader and those surrounding him or her.

In this day where the media shapes everything in politics, it is imperative that this next conservative leader be an articulate, effective communicator who is well-versed, bright, and unafraid of political battles.

No more bumbling…

eanax on November 14, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Matticus Finch on November 14, 2008 at 10:52 AM

That’s a winning argument, I think.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:56 AM

As for abortion, I don’t know whether it’s a state’s issue, a county issue, or a municipality issue, but I know it ain’t a national issue.

Matticus Finch on November 14, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Constitutionally, it is either a national ban on the practice as infringing on the rights of the fetus, or it is a local prerogative of whether or not to give license for the procedure to be performed. Either way, Roe is right out.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:58 AM

…moderates moved to Barack Obama….

…Mr. McCain lost — aside from having byzantine eunuchs on the payroll — because these “moderate” creatures, and their “undecided” lunch companions, decided that if they were going to vote for the Democratic Party’s worldview, they might as well vote for the Democrat. Period.

You can’t win as a Republican if you are indistinguishable from a Democrat.

That was the source of Gov. Palin’s popularity: she doesn’t look like a Democrat. She looks and sounds like a Republican…and didn’t the Whitmans and Bostocks, the Noonans and the Brooks’s gnaw on her for that. She sounded like all those redneck voters out there…how dare she!

Whitman doesn’t advocate cutting off a diseased limb…she wants to cut out the patient’s heart…and, while I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), I’ve never heard of a patient surviving long without one of those puppies….

Puritan1648 on November 14, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Yup. I would have had to flip a coin if the nomination came down to Huck and Ron Paul.

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Hmm, I don’t know if I could make that decision. Do I vote for Flying Crosses, Jesus Fish, and demonizing Mormons, or do I vote for the Trilateral Commission, “Our problems come from International Bankers (wink wink)”, and the Gulf of Tonkin?

I don’t know how I would choose.

Lehosh on November 14, 2008 at 10:59 AM

If you go back to the “First Principles”, the rest will take care of itself.

PappaMac on November 14, 2008 at 11:01 AM

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

Not having the right to live almost always creates a corpse too.

manwithblackhat on November 14, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Whitman doesn’t advocate cutting off a diseased limb…she wants to cut out the patient’s heart…and, while I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), I’ve never heard of a patient surviving long without one of those puppies….

Puritan1648 on November 14, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Hmmm. How does this work? Fiscal cons as the brain, social cons as the heart and national defense cons as the lungs. Need all three to survive. RINOs of various stripes are the limbs. Important to success (large enough coalition to get votes passed), but not essential for survival.

Yes?

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 11:01 AM

don’t know how I would choose.

Lehosh on November 14, 2008 at 10:59 AM

I think I would have to vote dem at least then I can sit on the sidelines and throw bombs on their failures

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 11:01 AM

As for abortion, I don’t know whether it’s a state’s issue, a county issue, or a municipality issue, but I know it ain’t a national issue.

Matticus Finch on November 14, 2008 at 10:52 AM

The Supreme Court made it a national issue. They tied the hands of states, counties, and municipalities.

flyfisher on November 14, 2008 at 11:02 AM

I think next time I’ll just vote for me.

moonsbreath on November 14, 2008 at 11:02 AM

I really don’t believe that the republican party is in the dire straits that the MSM is making it out to be. You know it is very difficult to convince anyone to vote republican after the Bush administration has been beaten and battered for the last 7 out of 8 years. Some has been justified, but the party has never been very good at defending itself.

Keep the faith!

DJ from MA on November 14, 2008 at 11:02 AM

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 10:53 AM

Seat belts prevent accidents, both by helping the driver maintain control in difficult circumstances, and by preventing passengers from being disruptive.

Things like drugs need to be regulated, just so people know what they are getting, and, when it comes down to it, you can’t justify allowing the banned drugs on the market.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 11:03 AM

ok th eObama selloff back in full force. Hope people listened and sold the rally yesterday…

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 11:04 AM

I lived in NJ throughout both of Christine Todd Witless’s terms. The differences between her and her RINO supporters in the ASSembly and the Dimocruds? The Dems tax and spend while Witless and her cronies borrowed and spent. She took a 60-40 GOP advantage in both houses and turned them into 40-60 in 8 years. Like RINO Bush at the national level, she ruined the GOP reputation for fiscal responsibility. She more than doubled the state debt in 8 years. Listen to her if you want to finally kill off the GOP.

bill30097 on November 14, 2008 at 10:23 AM

I’m a New Jerseyan. Tis truth he speaks.

worlok on November 14, 2008 at 11:05 AM

Ed,
Please consider a new Hot Air category, Core Principles. Then we can explore these topics one by one. I am very curious to see how much actual consensus is achievable between the moderates and the conservatives.

RushBaby on November 14, 2008 at 11:06 AM

It’s a good post, but I think it’s too late. I think that the R party is too concerned with image and perception to be able to make it work. Really the R party doesn’t stand for anything anymore. It was supposed to be the counterweight to D big government, but now it is the catalyst for big government in all branches of the federal government. The r’s and d’s are essentially the same.

What we need is a whole other party. The R party itself is dead. We don’t even need just one party, but at least 2. We should have a ‘left, right, and middle’ at a minimum. The current R party would be considered the ‘middle’ at best.

I personally would join the ‘right’ party, but I will never be a part of this Republican fiasco.

ThackerAgency on November 14, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Republicans will never win by being Democrat lite

KBird on November 14, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Things like drugs need to be regulated, just so people know what they are getting, and, when it comes down to it, you can’t justify allowing the banned drugs on the market.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 11:03 AM

That depends. Which drugs are we talking about? Some drug bans are ludicrous.

My body my choice, and all that.

Lehosh on November 14, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Hmmm. How does this work? Fiscal cons as the brain, social cons as the heart and national defense cons as the lungs. Need all three to survive. RINOs of various stripes are the limbs. Important to success (large enough coalition to get votes passed), but not essential for survival.

Yes?

BadgerHawk on November 14, 2008 at 11:01 AM

I disagree. The national defense cons are the legs, and the fiscal cons the arms. The RINO’s are just the fingers and toes.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 11:06 AM

O/T
Don’t know how well you guys and gals like the website but the guy has been right way to much in the past to ignore what he says in the story.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=1ad_1226630673

tee866 on November 14, 2008 at 11:06 AM

unseen on November 14, 2008 at 10:43 AM
Not that again. Look, the public has an interest in seat belt use, and every right to regulate how people behave on public streets. Drugs need to be regulated to ensure transparency and safety, and the banned drugs are just plain un-safe. If you argue against that, then it is snake oil for everyone.

Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 10:47 AM

The issue is not seat-belts. The issue is the so called “War on Drugs.” Your puritantical argument that all drugs are evil and “un-safe” is not conservative at all, but rather, FASCIST and, in my opinion, very liberal. This type of close-minded thought is yet another reason why so called social conservatives have killed the party. I think it is important to be consistent in political thought. If you think it is wrong for the Federal government to intrude on gun owners’ rights then you should be equally disgusted by the decades’ long money pit of fighting a drug war that we will never win – a war that illegally seizes people’s homes, destroys lives, and makes millions live in fear of jack-booted prohibitionists who think that they are saving us from ourselves.

Get real Count to 10 and climb down from your ivory tower, your prohibitionist proclivities sound more like classic nanny-state liberalism than conservative thought to me…

sayabule1 on November 14, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Seat belts prevent accidents, both by helping the driver maintain control in difficult circumstances, and by preventing passengers from being disruptive
Count to 10 on November 14, 2008 at 11:03 AM

That my friend is bu*llshit. The only reason seat belty laws were passed is because they reduced injury. It was a naked power grab by government for their friends in the insurance industry. Period.

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

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