Conservatives, Republicans, and the Man of Steele

posted at 12:15 pm on May 19, 2009 by Doctor Zero

Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, is supposed to give a speech on Tuesday night, discussing the future of the Republican Party. Based on his performance so far, and the comments he made to Fox News about the upcoming speech, we can only hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Conservatives have a rocky relationship with the Republican Party. America has many groups with different priorities, but we live in a two-party system. Those two parties are the Republicans and Democrats, and this is not likely to change any time soon. The price of gutting and replacing one party is decades of political oblivion, and conservatives cannot afford the time it would take to haul the old GOP jalopy into the chop shop, strip out the useful parts, and assemble that sweet turbocharged Conservative Party muscle car they’ve been dreaming of.

Besides the obvious disadvantage of nurturing a new party that would draw most of its strength from the existing Republican Party, leaving the united Democrats an open political field, there’s the problem of building local, state, and congressional support. I wouldn’t envy the new Conservative Party president in 2020, striding into Congress fresh off a miraculous electoral victory, to find a chamber filled predatory Democrats licking their chops, a rump party of sullen Republicans using their Blackberries to write op-eds about how completely doomed the isolated new President is… and maybe a couple of fresh-faced Conservative Party congressmen from Texas, waving foam fingers and shouting encouragement from the back row. Party machinery takes a lifetime to build, and if you think the RINOs receive disproportionate attention from the media now, just wait until the press gets a chance to portray them as heroic warrior-poets battling a hateful, ignorant Conservative Party insurgency.

We’re stuck with the Republicans as a political vehicle, like it or not. Several groups with profound disagreements are crammed into that vehicle, and everyone wants to be driving it when it makes its big comeback. The preferred tactic for gaining control of the party involves trying to kick all your rivals out, while loudly accusing them of trying to kick you out. Steele is correct to talk about finding common ground that unites the various bickering factions and personalities, although his performance so far makes me wonder if he’s the guy to do it. He’s also right to insist that his party doesn’t narrowly speak to one segment of the population. The trick is to speak to all of the population, without trying to agree with all of them. Leadership is based on persuasion. You can only make that fabled “big tent” so big… then you’ve got to start inviting people inside.

Republicans would do well to begin by dismissing the other side’s silly caricatures of them, and rejecting their false premises, instead of tacitly agreeing with them. Self-doubt is not an appealing trait to the electorate. The Beta Party isn’t going to have much luck cruising the battleground states, trying to pick up voters by listing its flaws and promising to improve itself. Steele had another grating soundbite along these lines Monday, when he said “How is kicking Colin Powell out, or kicking Dick Cheney out or Rush Limbaugh in going to feed a child who’s hungry tonight?” For one thing, Mr. Steele, Colin Powell kicked himself out. Our children are being bankrupted by the reckless spending of the man Colin Powell helped to elect. He owes Republicans, and Americans, an apology for his betrayal of his ‘dear old friend’ John McCain, and until he makes it, he’s irrelevant, and a Democrat. For another thing, the composition of the Republican Party leadership has absolutely nothing to do with hungry children. The number of hungry children will remain precisely the same if Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh, Olympia Snowe, or Michael Steele leaves the Republican Party. The streets of America are not teeming with starving orphans who lowered their heads and wept helplessly at the news Arlen Specter became a Democrat

The second important step for Republicans is highlighting the fantastic corruption of the Democrat party. This obviously needs to be accompanied by a rigorous cleaning up of their own act, but at least the electoral beatings they took over the last two years have given them a head start. Polls tell us people are increasingly nervous about the titanic deficits and radical expansions of government power under Obama. They need to be reminded how regularly the party that has asserted all this power abuses it. Part of the case for a saner, more limited government must include pointing out the inevitable theft and influence peddling that accompanies the total state. Most people look at the government and see only the President. Steele and his aides should make sure every American knows about Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Rangel, and Maxine Waters. Handing over control of vast funds and private industries to the government is foolish; handing that control to a gang of criminals is idiotic. Part of the case against socialism is that it breeds this kind of criminality. The honesty of a government decreases as its size increases. People like Rangel and Murtha have too much influence to sell, and too many buyers eagerly lined up. Obama’s statist agenda will triple their inventory.

Steele should work to reconcile the differences between fiscal and social conservatives, because they are both important to the Republican Party. Social conservatives are crucial to achieving victory, because they have the passion and energy to make the moral case against socialism. Socialists don’t try to make their case to voters on the grounds of pure efficiency – they’d look like fools, given the history of liberal social programs since the Great Society. They present their programs as a moral imperative. The value of socialist programs is not measured by whether they turn a profit, or come in under budget. It doesn’t do much good to fire up a Power Point presentation showing that big-government liberalism is wasteful and ineffective, when the voter has already been convinced there is no ethical alternative. Obama’s crazed spending binge has made people nervous, but they’re still waiting to be told exactly WHY it’s bad. You can’t get the attention of today’s distracted, emotional, tabloid culture by smacking them on the nose with a rolled-up copy of the Wall Street Journal. Waiting for them to wake up and see the obvious lunacy of a four-trillion-dollar federal budget is not a winning game plan.

Once the Republicans win office, the discipline of fiscal conservatism is essential for keeping them there. The temptation of all that centralized power and money is not diminished just because there’s an (R) after the congressman’s name. It was a mistake for voters and party leadership to forget this in the latter years of the Bush Administration, and it would be a mistake to forget it after 2010. Fiscal conservatives are the institutional memory of the Republican Party, once it gains office. It will never get there without the social conservatives and their moral critique of blind, corrupt government fueled by confiscatory taxation. The two wings of the party need to work together. We need leaders who understand that, and can help to bring it about.

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I posted this in another thread this morning, but, I’ll post it here as well:

Today the GOP’s Michael Steele is supposedly going to give a big speech on the direction of the party.

Keeping with that theme…I’ve got a few things I’d like Mr Steele (and those who care to read this) to know about me, your average conservative who’s still registered “Republican”, but has given serious thought in the last couple of years to changing party affiliation…

To put it simply – I’m tired of the litmus tests. The numerous “factions” within the party have gotten so backed up into their own corners, I don’t think they see it. But, not to worry, because I’m damn sure going to explain it. I’ll only touch on the two “wings” of the GOP that I think need to hear what I have to say.

The so-called “social conservatives” – staunch Republicans and faithful to the end. They are an asset to the party, no question about it. But, when they demand that fellow Repubs and candidates adhere exactly, without question, to what they feel are the most important issues of our time (religion, abortion, same-sex marriage, values), they are basically admitting that they want a party of think-alike “bots”. Well – time to wake up kiddies…It’s never been that way, and is never going to be that way. For example, for a fellow Republican to insinuate that I am not “Christian enough” because I didn’t find Mike Huckabee a politically viable candidate for the GOP ticket,…Well, that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. This crap has to end, or the party will never come together again.

The so-called “moderates” – They too can be an asset to the party, because (at least every now and then) they find something worthy about conservatism that they like, and they vote for the GOP candidate. But, they lack gumption…backbone…and determination to stick to a solid set of political beliefs. These folks tend to tell the rest of us that we’re too “stiff” – we’re too “rigid” – and that there never seems to be room for a “middle-ground”. They probably have a point, but, here’s the thing….EITHER YOU’RE PRO CORE CONSERVATIVE IDEALS, OR YOU’RE NOT. It’s that simple. One does not advance conservatism, or the GOP, by embracing the ideals and stances of your political opposition, all in the name of getting more members into the party. Lower taxes, less government, more individual freedom…Those have been core political ideals within the party, and to suggest that it’s ok to “waffle” on those things and still be a conservative Republican…is simply wrong. Make up your minds. Ante up, or cash out.

Most of all – I’m sick of of a few key things that I must now detail:

*Being told that being conservative means you must also behave a certain way, when it comes to religion. The last time I checked, there was this thing called “freedom OF religion” in this country, and it is MY choice as to whether I wear a cross around my neck or not. It is MY choice as to whether I speak 24/7 about my religious beliefs, or not. It is MY choice as to how I use my religious beliefs to gauge potential political candidates…or not. Being politically conservative means alot of things, but I’m tired of being told that being politically conservative comes with a mandatory list of religious methodology that one must follow, if they are to be accepted as “conservative” or “Christian enough” to even be considered “conservative”. To suggest that a person must believe a certain way when it comes to religion, all because they are politically conservative…Isn’t smart. This is where that “individual freedom” comes in. Respect it, or it will eventually become an albatross around your neck.

*Being told that I’m a “jew lover”, and don’t love my own country, because I believe we must maintain our alliance with Israel. The people who say things like this need a swift kick in the ass, as far as I’m concerned. Take a look at the middle east, and name for me all the countries we can call “ally”. And don’t give me the “U.S.S. Liberty”/”Powerful Jew Lobby” BS. There are other countries besides Israel who’ve done as much, or more, and I find it funny we never hear you people standing up and crying about that when it happens. It’s always all about Israel and the Jews. Get a life…and put down the copy of “Mein Kampf”.

*Being told that I must “give a little” when it comes to core conservative ideals. No, I don’t have to “give a little”!
I don’t find that embracing the political opposition’s ideals or stances does anything to further the conservative movement or cause. It only makes things politically “murky” and indistinguishable. That creates confusion, and we have enough of that already. Pardon me for having a backbone and sticking to those core ideals. I don’t plan on waivering on those things, ever, and if it means that I re-register as “Libertarian” or “Independent”, then so be it. My advice to these folks – educate yourself on what conservatism TRULY is, and go from there. Start fresh, because you’re thinking as been muddied by a liberal media hell-bent on brainwashing you.

In the end,….Individualism seems to have flown out the window within the GOP. They seem not to respect the fact that PEOPLE are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights….Not “political parties” are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”.

My advice to the party as a whole? Decide whether you still believe in the core conservative ideals (lower taxes, less government, more individual freedom).
If you do, make those things the only litmus test that matters, because in the end, those things that most so-called “moderates” want to be flexible on and the things that most so-called “social conservatives” believe are more important would ALL fall under the “individual freedom” category. In my book, that’s how it should be.

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM

and conservatives cannot afford the time it would take to haul the old GOP jalopy into the chop shop

Since we are hurtling down the road to an authoritarian socialist state, how could things get worse?

I wouldn’t envy the new Conservative Party president in 2020, striding into Congress fresh off a miraculous electoral victory

So Ronald Reagan had a republican congress? I don’t seem to remember it that way.

The Beta Party isn’t going to have much luck cruising the battleground states, trying to pick up voters by listing its flaws and promising to improve itself.

The party leadership is made up of beat males, conservatives are leading nearly every corner of the private sector except Wall Street, which is manned by the spawn of the ivy league.

Fiscal conservatives/ social conservatives

Show me a “fiscal” conservative who is a social “moderate” and I’ll show you someone who parties with barry on wednesday nights. I’ll show you a republican who voted for tarp.

peacenprosperity on May 19, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Instead of starting a third party guaranteeing the donks a free reign how’s about we fix the party we have by forcing the libs to aid the donks by joining them and granting them total ownership of the looming implosion?

sven10077 on May 19, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Red states (mcCain) Blue States (O)

20% higher unemployment in states that voted for the purple lipped one.

nondhimmie on May 19, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Steele needs to cancel his rah-rah speeches, and focus entirely on party-building and fundraising. He’s an awful excuse for a pundit.

OhioCoastie on May 19, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Listening Tour,I suppose!

Define the tent,and its parameters,so
everybody is happy,then,get a nominee,
who can take on the Liberals,and a
clear direction of the party’s future
and git er done!

canopfor on May 19, 2009 at 12:37 PM

The party leadership is made up of beat males, conservatives are leading nearly every corner of the private sector except Wall Street, which is manned by the spawn of the ivy league.

Let me clarify that. The republican leadership is made up with beta males who are concerned only with protecting their piece of the pie. They are professional politicians that do not have a sincere conservative bone in their bodies. boehner, blunt, mcconnel, kyl, cornyn, cantor, ryan all were in control when we had a republican president and a republican controlled congress. All the problems that are coming to a head now, were problems then and nothing was done to fix them. They use the excuse that the democrats blocked everything they wanted to do, well the democrats don’t seem to have any problem doing what they want now. The entire congressional leadership has to be removed because they are only concerned about themselves, not conservative values and not about America.

peacenprosperity on May 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

I didn’t get through this whole post but… I agree I think.

I want to know why some people assume they get to decide who are the “RINOs” and who are the true believers. Aren’t we all Republicans In Name Only? I mean Republican is just the name of our party… not our identity.

I’m pretty tired of the name calling and back biting. Too bad we lost some elections. Now lets get over the anger and figure out how to make our government leaner and more effective. I suggest Weight Watchers… and exercise…

petunia on May 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

We can stay in the Republican party and be insulted and ignored.
Or we can start a new party that for a few years will be insulted and ignored.

Really tough choice there.

MarkTheGreat on May 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Steele needs to cancel his rah-rah speeches, and focus entirely on party-building and fundraising. He’s an awful excuse for a pundit.

OhioCoastie on May 19, 2009 at 12:35 PM

+1…his job is a silent hard one he is SUPPOSED to be building the infrastructure to offset ACORN…

sven10077 on May 19, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I shall NOT come back to the Republican party unless and until;

A) They become the party of true small government again. This means low taxes and small government…PERIOD!
B) They become the party that can clearly and plainly articulate freedom from the tyranny of government and the reliance on it!
C) They become a party dedicated to the defeat of Democrats once again rather than one that feels it necessary to “cross the aisle” as often as possible to “get things done on behalf of the American people”… We don’t want things done on our behalf! We will do them ourselves!
D) They become a party that isn’t afraid of faith in God and can articulate this freedom to America and they aren’t ashamed of it or their members who share this faith as part of their daily walk.

Until the above conditions are met, I shall remain a Conservative but no Republican!

sabbott on May 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM

I’m thinking if I remember right that at one time it was supposed we were stuck with Parliament, too-back in, oh say 1760ish.
It took a little more than a decade, but those crazy radicals did finally get pi$$ed off enough to mount some major change.
I resent being forced to stay with this defunct, corrupt, RINO Republican ‘leadership’.
Sometimes when you own a crappy car, no amount of BLEEP-rigging is going to get it going.
Sometimes it’s time to get another car.

Badger40 on May 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM

In the end,….Individualism seems to have flown out the window within the GOP. They seem not to respect the fact that PEOPLE are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights….Not “political parties” are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”.

My advice to the party as a whole? Decide whether you still believe in the core conservative ideals (lower taxes, less government, more individual freedom).

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM

+100
That’s the ticket.

Badger40 on May 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

With all the smoke and mirrors of Obama,
Newts ‘Contract with America’ might be a
an idea to revive,jus sayin!!!

Honesty,Ethics,Integrity,needs to return to
government!!

canopfor on May 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Steele will quit in the next few weeks and leave you guys to destroy what’s left of the party.

Dave Rywall on May 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Doctor Zero, FTW!

Steele himself is not the issue with the GOP. The issue is not moderates, or social conservatives, or crunchy conservatives, or neocons or any other ridiculous label associated with single-platform pachyderms.

The issue with the GOP is that it has abdicated that single animating principle that drives ALL of the various “-con” platforms: responsible freedom. Whether a fiscal, social or defense-centric conservative, the single tie that binds is the value that every person ought to be free to prosper or to fail, to live as they see fit, provided they do not harm or hinder anyone in their pursuit of happiness.

A people must be free, and be held accountable when they cross the line. THAT is the only “moral” issue facing the GOP. It is also the only platform that can satiate the single-issue wings. Anything else is just noise.

Flyover Country on May 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Until the above conditions are met, I shall remain a Conservative but no Republican!

sabbott on May 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Amen!

trs on May 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Steele will quit in the next few weeks and leave you guys to destroy what’s left of the party.

Dave Rywall on May 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM

so you should be happy Drywall….well happier if you were an American moonbat instead of a Canuckian posuer

sven10077 on May 19, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Dave Rywall on May 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM

And we care what a Canadian thinks about American politics because……?

Badger40 on May 19, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Steele will quit in the next few weeks and leave you guys to destroy what’s left of the party.

Dave Rywall on May 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Why are you worried Dave? You have quite a few “conservatives” being elected in Canada… doncha know!

upinak on May 19, 2009 at 12:51 PM

I’ve been saying for awhile that the next big political groundswell will be Fiscal Con/Libertarian.

Problem is the current GOP Leadership is neither.

The whole “Big Tent” thing is distrusted by the electorate… they want to know what the politician and party stand for… and to be able to trust that they will hold to those views….

A Party of Smaller Government, Personal Liberty, NO GROUP INDENTITY POLITICS, and Rule of Law…. would rock the electorate.

Romeo13 on May 19, 2009 at 12:51 PM

so you should be happy Drywall….well happier if you were an American moonbat instead of a Canuckian posuer

sven10077 on May 19, 2009 at 12:47 PM
——–
Teeny tiny worldview. You’ve got one.

Dave Rywall on May 19, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Why are you worried Dave? You have quite a few “conservatives” being elected in Canada… doncha know!

upinak on May 19, 2009 at 12:51 PM
——
I have very few complaints about our conservative gov’t.

Dave Rywall on May 19, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Listening Tour,I suppose!

Define the tent,and its parameters,so
everybody is happy,then,get a nominee,
who can take on the Liberals,and a
clear direction of the party’s future
and git er done!

canopfor on May 19, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Nope. Listening tours are for political prostitutes offering to sell their overused… souls for the going rate.

Let the trivialists, losers, snakes, and men and ladies of the evening waste time with intra-party sniping, media propaganda, and listening tours. We need people who speak the truth as they understand it, as clearly, fearlessly, and honestly as they can, to as many people as will listen, with the faith that right makes might. If they don’t have that faith, then they should find some other game to play than republican democracy.

CK MacLeod on May 19, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Teeny tiny worldview. You’ve got one.

Dave Rywall on May 19, 2009 at 12:56 PM

You know Drywall I voted for McCain last november….how’d you help Me$$iah the lightworker again?

sven10077 on May 19, 2009 at 12:59 PM

I have read and re-read this entire string with some fascination. There seem to be a lot of us who actually understand what clear, concise, moral & ethical conservative principles/talk points are. Why the hell is it that the GOP/RNC DO NOT GET IT?? It’s straightforward and to the point: lower taxes, increased capital activity and incentive, reward entrepreneurship and risk, fuel innovation through incentive, and penalize sloth (liberal agenda), government expansion, tax hikes, socialist thinking. ENFORCE the laws of our country. Give illegals an “amnesty” to leave – and come back in the RIGHT way. Assimilate into OUR culture, don’t change it. PROTECT and DEFEND the Constitution at all costs! Okay, how hard was that? Why is it that our GOP elected representatives DO NOT get it?

HomeoftheBrave on May 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM

What’s going on now is a battle of the titans. These are the people who wield power or who owe their livelihood in some way to the GOP. They all seem to think they are battling for a fiefdom of sorts and we, the registered voters, are their serfs. They get to decide who runs and they assume we will slavishly follow. This is why we are hearing them dumping all over potential candidates who are the supposed favorites of differing factions. If the GOP or any party wants my vote they will stop dumping on me and my preferences and run candidates I can support — if not they can go fish, as will I!

littleguy on May 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Amen, Brother.

Subsunk

Subsunk on May 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Subsunk! Good to see you!!! :-)

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Pretty good rant Talisman but for one issue: Gay marriage. With gay marriage I really want the advocates to state what the costs will be. One of the biggest advocates for gay marriage is the guy that hooked up with US Rep Gerry Studds and he is openly admitting he takes his stance to be allowed to recieve Mr. Studd’s generous government pension. I have a cousin who says the same thing about wanting to be included in his state college tenured professor’s benefits package. The financial implications of opening up the existing actuarail tables to accomodate gay marriage should at least be a talking point in the debate. To keep getting hit with the moral argument of fairness while knowing the other side is angling for benefits is ludicrous.

I am conservative on the core princables and I can accept that abortion is here to stay but I should not have to promote it by paying for it. As a politician in Pennsylvania recently said, if the service can be found in the phone book then the government doesn’t need to be competing with it. Let’s put out something like the contract with America that is simple, in direct opposition to liberal policy where warranted, and advocate leaving the minor stuff to the locals.

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 1:08 PM

The streets of America are not teeming with starving orphans who lowered their heads and wept helplessly at the news Arlen Specter became a Democrat.

Doc Zero – my new hero! I might add something – the starving orphans are there precisely because their mommy was a false moderate. She didn’t get the abortion that some on the left claimed. But she still listened to the liberals who said it was perfectly fine to raise a child without a family. The Left’s choices are simply evil vs. bad. They even couch their straw men in such terms: “We don’t want to regulate coal companies out of existence, but the alternative is destroying the planet”. “We don’t want to take over industry, but it’s better than a global economic collapse”.

I think a good way to highlight the differences between us and the Dems is to ask “what are the real choices?” Is there really no option better than a global economic collapse? Perhapse it’s really gov’t control vs. a short period of market correction. Or less jobs forever vs. less money for unions.

hawksruleva on May 19, 2009 at 1:13 PM

It was so bush league when Steele thanked Obama for the shout out the other night.

marklmail on May 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

My advice to the party as a whole? Decide whether you still believe in the core conservative ideals (lower taxes, less government, more individual freedom).
If you do, make those things the only litmus test that matters, because in the end, those things that most so-called “moderates” want to be flexible on and the things that most so-called “social conservatives” believe are more important would ALL fall under the “individual freedom” category. In my book, that’s how it should be.

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Conservatism could actually be reduced to 1 principle: limited government. To me, lower taxes is a happy result of less government. And greater individual liberty is the reason why we want less government. Though maybe having a strong national defense should be a plank, I note that America has done pretty well when it’s created armies in response to crises, as opposed to having an army just laying around.

hawksruleva on May 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Defining conservatism, big tent, small tent, this is counterproductive. A man is what he does not what he says.

Plain and simple, Steele’s RNC supports Crist and would have supported Specter.

Actions backing fiscal liberals speak louder than words backing fiscal conservatism.

Therefore, I oppose Steele’s RNC, regardless of what he says tonight.

Angry Dumbo on May 19, 2009 at 1:19 PM

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Like you Dan, I’m politically conservative but…I believe issues of morality should be left to the states, if anything at all. Abortion, gay “marriage”, and other same-style issues are all moral issues, and whenever the federal government attempts to rule on those things, they usually get it wrong.

Think Prohibition here….

Those issues, in my mind, are best left to a person’s own judgement and reasoning. Often times, persons seek out their faith or other moral lessons for guidance on those things, and if government is serving in the place of those things, the morality comes out of it all messed up. I.E. – a thing which is not moral itself, shouldn’t be ruling over moral issues.

Government being put in place of church (for example) for lessons on morality is a grave mistake. Churches, religious leaders, life experiences…all those play a part in guiding individuals on moral issues. NOT government.

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 1:21 PM

hawksruleva on May 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Good perspective.

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Therefore, I oppose Steele’s RNC, regardless of what he says tonight.

Angry Dumbo on May 19, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Well, it’s not tonight but right now. Fox is carrying it and Steele is beating up the Precedent pretty well.

Knucklehead on May 19, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Abortion makes the transition to ethics once we consider the question of “What is human?”

Someone linked the Libertarian argument against abortion – it deals with that issue.

I think it should be a core conservative issue. I’m not a culture warrior, but abortion ties into some fundamental ideas about respect for life – without that, the party means nothing.

TheUnrepentantGeek on May 19, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Bravo. Brilliant post, Doctor Zero. I´d just like to add two points.

First, “fiscal conservatism” is too narrow a plank. It also sounds ugly. You can rig markets and regulate businesses, workers and consumers into poverty without spending a dollar. And sometimes it is entirely appropriate to spend more – a deficit of 2-3% of GDP is not outrageous in times of war or in a recession. I prefer “free-market conservatism”. It´s broader and leaves room for sensible governance where government, like it or not, has to play a role.

Also, getting social conservatives and especially Christian conservatives on board requires us to be more pragmatic and inclusive in some areas: appeal to minorities who share some of our values and formulate policies that help young families, e.g. provide better (free-market) solutions in education, health care, social security, energy.

This is where the GOP largely dropped the ball after 2004. These sectors are not free market now; they have been highly regulated for decades and it´s no use to pretend otherwise. Better to be activist and improve them than to pretend everything is fine. Pure fiscal conservatism doesn´t work here. If you don´t want to govern you won´t govern.

GOP governors from Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin to Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels understand that, which is why they give me hope for the future.

el gordo on May 19, 2009 at 1:38 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek on May 19, 2009 at 1:37 PM

I agree…but, when I give the federal government the power to define what “life” is, and when it begins (legally), I also give them the power to take that definition back whenever the opposition is in power.

In my view, the best way to influence issues of morality and ethics is for regular citizens to use whatever “yard stick” they highly value and vote for candiates who they believe hold those same stances on morality and ethics. Then, that elected official will go on to use their good judgement in voting on those moral and ethical issues.

But – the federal government as a whole, telling me what is moral or ethical and what isn’t….seems to be an oxymoron. The federal government itself isn’t moral or ethical, so how can I expect it to approve of or push a moral or ethics agenda (as a whole) and get it right?

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 1:45 PM

Talismen at 1:08
Okay, as long as we can get that “individual freedom” to mean individual accountability then we are on the same page. As far as the religious intolerance you experience…I guess I’m out of touch on this too. I just don’t see it on the conservative side and no republican I know of runs on religion as a campaign platform. We need to quit allowing those on the other side that mock religion to paint us as intolerant for embracing it. I don’t give a dang what anybody’s religion is and I’ve never been challenged about mine. Where is this meme coming from that we’re religiously monochromatic but from our political opponents who are typically agnostic? We should not allow ourselves to be pilloried for recognizing the religious aspects of moral issues in any discussion of federal policy simply because they are founded in religious concepts. We need turn it around on them and cite the empirical data provided throughout history that shows the results of abandoning basic virtues and the resulting consequences.

We’re okay but they have the power right now. That the dems through the media tells us everyday that we need to moderate tells me we’re quite okay.

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 1:50 PM

There are only two core principals of the Repub party from which everything else flows in many different directions–fiscal restraint and small government bias in all things.

All the other secondary issues are being trumpeted by the media, Dems and even many Repubs as the core issues when they not. This done so that spending and bigger government is not threatened.

This is what the tea party movement is all about. Going forward, as Obama and crew spend us into poverty, more and more independents will rally to the core principals previously mentioned and espoused by the Tea parties. The only question going forward is will there be a Repub, akin to Reagan, that can lead this vast group of Americans to finally end the tyranny of big government with unchecked runaway spending–even Ronnie could not do this.

Right now there is not because we are wasting our time talking about secondary issues. Worse still we are letting the opposition define our debate.

The quote “rhinos” are getting blasted not because they are pro this, anti that, but because they all have two things in common– their big government and their ever bigger spending, by them and for them. That is why Crist is currently under attack and rightfully so.

patrick neid on May 19, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Conservatism could actually be reduced to 1 principle: limited government. To me, lower taxes is a happy result of less government. …………… America has done pretty well when it’s created armies in response to crises, as opposed to having an army just laying around.

hawksruleva on May 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Good pints overall, but I’d suggest that having a (larger than we have now) army just laying around has a huge dterrent effect in a very eveil world. Given our current deployments in Afghanistand and Iraq, and committments of troop levels in Europe, S Korea, what do we do when China moves on Taiwan, or Russia ‘liberates’ ethnic Russians in Georgia or the Ukraine?
I’d like to see an analysis of how often actual shooting wars erupted when the other side had a strong, well trained deplyable military, comparing those events to the times when totalitarians have moved on innocent neighbors and foundnothing but vocal resistance from nations with weak or undermanned militaries.

Red State State of Mind on May 19, 2009 at 1:59 PM

We’re okay but they have the power right now. That the dems through the media tells us everyday that we need to moderate tells me we’re quite okay.

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Agree with you. Personally, I’ve never been in any competition in my life where my opponent was nice enough to give me advice on how I could be more competitive. I don’t listen to the advice from the Liberals.

Red State State of Mind on May 19, 2009 at 2:01 PM

One more time.

The republican party at the moment has far too many (one is too many) pseudo conservatives that do not practice what they preach when they preach conservatism, especially fiscal conservatism. Off to the left they go as soon as there’s money to be had.

I’ve commented this already too, that the GOP needs to define itself as conservative and follow through with that, do what they say they are going to do, not change to placate the masses that want the GOP to change so they can vote for something other than a liberal progressive socialist pack of pigs. In other words, no Meghan McCain.

There is nothing wrong with being called the party of “NO” when ‘no’ means no socialism, no marxism, no fascism, no fiscal irresponsibility, and no more saying one thing to get elected then act like a damned liberal.

This is what Steele needs to understand. Changing the GOP to fit the moderates wants is wrong. Let the moderates decide what is more important, liberal horsecrap socialism and fiscal irresponsibility, or conservative values with the social issues put on the back burner. If Steele goes through with pushing the moderate (aka: suck up to the lefty lunatic policies) agenda, then I, along with many many others, will vote Libertarian or something decidedly not republican or democrat.

Spiritk9 on May 19, 2009 at 2:05 PM

As de Tocqueville observed almost 200 years ago, and as remains as true now as then, there are two natural parties in the US – the party of more centralized power and the party of less centralized power. This has been true since the very beginning and is true today (though the particular parties can trade places or seem to do so, and the underlying definitions can get fuzzy and contradictory).

Big government Republicanism is in this sense a contradiction in terms until and unless there are small government Democrats. Clinton tried to fudge the difference, as did Bush after him coming from the other direction. That’s what de Tocqueville also anticipated would happen during periods of relative calm and consensus – the parties losing track of the big issues and instead trying to appeal on the basis of minor matters.

In the present, critical period, it’s the job of conservatives to make Big Government Republican as laughable and counterintuitive as Small Government Democrat. If the world’s just gotten too difficult for American democracy and democratic capitalism, then the pendulum won’t swing back – but it always has, sooner or later, usually sooner.

CK MacLeod on May 19, 2009 at 2:08 PM

I listened to the majority of what Steele had to say today. The only sticking point for me at the moment is his definition of “being relevant in our time”. For me, when Steele and others speak of the here and now, they want to discard the lessons of old and of history, for some new shiny, twirling object. Sure, we need to address 21st century problems with 21st century solutions learned from all the centuries that came before!

Tossing out Reagan, or the same old ways of defending the individual, this is much like the old saying of, “tossing out the baby with the bath water!” It does not make much sense, and no problem is solved. The absence of common sense approaches to solving any issue is abandoned for trying to appear advanced in thought, and worst of all, dressing in the robes of “Hope and Change”! UGH!

The answer my friends is not just blowing in the winds, but is found in most of our Founding Father’s writings. For many Americans, and the Base, the real concepts of the Constitution will be NEW because most Americans have not the first clue as to what the Founding Fathers really said about the foundation they built for our nation. Some GOP spokes person, like Steele, could be found to be extremely popular and revolutionary by sheerly going out there and preaching the Constitution. There is a reason American History is not taught in most public schools, and why if it is taught, it is taught by some screwball Leftists! Can you imagine what would happen in America if suddenly Americans realized what Obama is doing is illegal, and unConstitutional? They are not going to know until someone begins speaking some factual truth to the Obama fiction. The GOP on a regular basis demonized those who do speak the truth and in historical terminology, and so the weakened party will keep saying, “yes I can, yes I can, yes I can chug up this hill!” when in reality, the engine is missing.

freeus on May 19, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Back atcha Red State, I kind of like a big army laying around too. Isn’t that like, er supposed to be one of the basic functions of our governemnt? Not Duke Cunningham or Jack Murtha big, but imposing and ready is a good thing.

Very succinct patrick neid, well said.

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 2:11 PM

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Agreed 8-)

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 2:12 PM

freeus on May 19, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Steele thinks he can draw moderate and left leaning moderates by changing to meet their expectations. It’s exactly the opposite and shows how poor of a leader Steele is.

First, GOP needs to define and stick to conservatism, that’s job #1. Second, it’s Steele’s job along with all in the GOP to convince people that conservatism is the way to go, especially now.

Steele does NOT want to do that…too much work I guess, he’d rather be a liberal republican. It isn’t going to work, it’s been tried (McCain, remember?) and failed.

The only thing Steele will do is ensure another GOP loss(s). If Steele wont get with the program he needs to get the hell out. He’s no leader if this is the way he wants to go.

Spiritk9 on May 19, 2009 at 2:16 PM

But – the federal government as a whole, telling me what is moral or ethical and what isn’t….seems to be an oxymoron. The federal government itself isn’t moral or ethical, so how can I expect it to approve of or push a moral or ethics agenda (as a whole) and get it right?

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 1:45 PM

If we define the unborn as human, killing them is murder. Seems a simple enough line of reasoning to me.

From the Libertarian take, the unborn did not choose to be conceived and did not choose to be unable to take care of themselves. Thus the mother, who had sex knowing the possible consequences, owes them protection and care.

I see the pro-choice movement as an assault on agency and individuality in favor of group-think and identity politics.

TheUnrepentantGeek on May 19, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Sheesh, our two party system hasn’t worked in 80 years. why expect different? What is the definition of insanity?

Remember this when you quote the founding fathers on liberty and government, they said a two party system would be the death of us. No check and balance on the political system. That is why we have three branches of government. That is why we need three strong parties.

eaglesdontflock on May 19, 2009 at 2:34 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek on May 19, 2009 at 2:33 PM

If we define the unborn as human, killing them is murder. Seems a simple enough line of reasoning to me.

Yes, I agree.

But – there is a very large mentality within the country that believes the federal government should be the one to do the “defining”. If that be the case, we must also make room for the fact that the definition they set can and most likely would be changed. That only brings about social unrest.

Electing persons who we believe mirror our own beliefs (in this case, pro-life beliefs), then when it comes time to vote on this issues, our candidates will vote as we would have them vote. (Or at least, that’s how it SHOULD work.)

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Electing persons who we believe mirror our own beliefs (in this case, pro-life beliefs), then when it comes time to vote on this issues, our candidates will vote as we would have them vote. (Or at least, that’s how it SHOULD work.)

That first line should say:

If we elect persons who we believe mirror….(etc)

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Republicans should stop calling themselves conservatives. Conservative is a horrible label. Noone under 30 would voluntarily call himself conservative, unless he’s a masochist or policy wonk.

Historically lower taxes, less government, more individual freedom etc. are NOT conservative values. They are elements of classic liberalism, the founding ideology of America.

Socialists/Dems coopted liberalism. Longtime Socialist Party of America presidential candidate Norman Thomas in the 1940s:

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”

Republicans got stuck with conservatism and as a result social conservatives and mushy “moderates” like Huckabee, who have no principles at all, dominate the party.

The Republican Party needs to provide a capitalist/democratic alternative to Obama’s socialism/fascism!

Republicans need to expose the Dems as socialists. Name names! Republicans need to reclaim liberalism and the center of American politics as its own.

For example, don’t let Obama coopt Lincoln!

And it’s not just about lower taxes and smaller government. This is about the defense of the Constitution, seperation of powers, rule of law, freedom of speech.

By being the party of the Constitution, defender of capitalism, self-reliance and the American Dream, the Republican Party can win over anti-socialist Dems, libertarians and independents.

The Republican Party should NOT try to meet the Obama regime halfway. Be the party of NO!

Study your history!

Thaddeus McCotter’s five principles are a great starting point:

1. Our liberty is from God not the government.
2. Our sovereignty rests in our souls not the soil.
3. Our security is through strength not surrender.
4. Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector.
5. Our truths are self-evident not relative.

modifiedcontent on May 19, 2009 at 2:46 PM

modifiedcontent on May 19, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Agreed!!!

Talismen on May 19, 2009 at 2:52 PM

“Republicans should stop calling themselves conservatives.” We’ve wrung this bell too many times. Liberals ran from that tag and now prefer to be called progressives. Let’s not be as paranoid, we know what the classic terms were and the contemporary terms mean. I am a conservative that typically votes with the republicans. Lately they have abandoned me and that has resulted in no cash, no volunteering and little motivation to support them socially. I know I am totally typical. I will always vote my best interests as will anybody that gets off the couch to be counted.

That said, I will bet that the volunteers and paid staff making the calls for donations are getting an earful and the ship will correct course. When a guy in Texas has to hunt places like Pennsylvania, New York or Georgia to find a motivated conservative candidate he will donate to, believe me they notice.

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 3:03 PM

@DanMan, I’m not saying you should water down your principles; I’m saying that “conservatism” is just a horrible label for those principles that will never attract people.

Liberalism resonates with liberty.

Progressivism resonates with progress.

Conservatism resonates with…what?! Canned food? Anxiously holding on to what you got? Trying to stop time?

It’s a horrible brandname that can only drag the Repubican party down. Trying to defend it, like saying you’re a “proud conservative”, automatically makes you sound bitter and ideological to anyone who is not a conservative.

modifiedcontent on May 19, 2009 at 3:14 PM

FYI, read the full McCotter article (Now, Seize Freedom!) here. Notice that he uses the word conservative only once, in the dismissive phrase ‘…so-called “conservative leaders” …’! He consistently uses the word Republican. McCotter gets it.

modifiedcontent on May 19, 2009 at 3:24 PM

So Ronald Reagan had a republican congress? I don’t seem to remember it that way.

peacenprosperity on May 19, 2009 at 12:32 PM

I think the salient point is that Reagan didn’t face a Congress with no Republicans. The first President of a third party would arrive in a Congress filled with people who bitterly hate him for destroying their party, and people who would love nothing more than to stoke that hatred for their own purposes. It would be very impossible for even the most compelling President to get anything done under those circumstances.

We can stay in the Republican party and be insulted and ignored.
Or we can start a new party that for a few years will be insulted and ignored.

Really tough choice there.

MarkTheGreat on May 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

I really think you’re underestimating the time it would take to effectively replace the Republican party. It’s an interlude that would be measured in decades, not years. Looking at how much damage Obama has done in a month, I’m not confident you would find anything resembling the America of 2009 waiting for you when you finally got that third party fully up and running – a process that would necessarily involve overwhelming and absorbing what’s left of the old GOP, since you’re not going to have much luck in national elections as long as they’re around to siphon off the non-Democrat vote. An awful lot of things would have to go right for that cycle of destruction, creation, and ascension to conclude in less than one generation – and that’s an awfully long time to leave the playing field to the socialists, effectively uncontested.

I don’t like the way the GOP has handled itself since 2004, or for that matter, since 1988. I’ve daydreamed about building that conservative hot rod as much as anyone else. I just don’t think it’s going to mature into a winning strategy fast enough. I believe our energies are better directed at whipping the Republicans into shape, even with the memory of past disappointments haunting us. The party apparatus is a group of people, a pile of money, and a brand name. The money and the brand name are worth having. The people can be replaced, or inspired to perform better.

The defining characteristic of the RINO is political opportunism, after all, and they’re not unwilling to hitch their wagons to a conservative leader, if they think it’s their best chance to stay in power. If the Republicans stand for a strong conservative philosophy, expressed to the voters in a coherent and compelling way, the party can afford a few cranky blue-bloods and media whores. It cannot afford to let those blue-bloods and media whores run the party, or monopolize its media time, and that’s exactly what will happen if the conservatives sit in bitter silence, or head off to create a new party that might just blossom in time to help their children clean up the wreckage of America.

I don’t blame anyone for feeling angry or disillusioned with the Republican Party. The odds of finding a leader who can repair it are better than the odds of finding a leader who can replace it. If Michael Steele isn’t that leader, we should let him know we expect him to provide able assistance to that person when he or she appears. If he can’t do that, he needs to go.

Doctor Zero on May 19, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Go ahead and run with that liberal capitalist/democratic theme and see how it works out when it gets transmogrified through the media. I’ve read Goldberg’s book, I agree the terms have changed, but I’m not going to get blinkered by the other side because they can’t call themselves what they are which is of course socialist/fascists. Not all of them I suppose but surely the ones in power which are old radicals except for their standard bearer, who is a young radical. That is not progress my friend even if they say so.

We need resolute action, not labels, not sayings and not a slower and more deliberate advance down the same path that liberals take. That is what costs us elections.

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 3:52 PM

peacenprosperity on May 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Term limits as a major plank would resonate…
1 for the Senate and two for the House…lifetime…jmho…

jerrytbg on May 19, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Doctor Zero on May 19, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Uh, the Whig to Repbulican change took ONE Presidential Election Cycle…

Perot and the Reform Party gained 15% of the vote in ONE Election, and that at a time when most people were still loyal to one of the two major parties.

History does not show that it would take DECADES for a Party changeover.

Romeo13 on May 19, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Conservatives have a rocky relationship with the Republican Party.

Look, I will just say this.

I live in a RED STATE and the GOP runs CONSERVATIVE candidates down here. I’m a Conservative – so no problem – I vote GOP at the moment because they are running Conservative candidates. And by “Conservative”, I mean “Conservative” – the kind of guys who are not afraid to take Obama on. The kind of guys who OPPOSE Socialism – all aspects of it. These are NOT “Colin Powell” Republicans. Did I mention they are PRO-LIFE and PRO-GUN too?

So no problems at the local level.

Where the problems arise – are twofold …

FIRST … When the GOP Senators get together and endorse Charly Crist for Florida Senate – just right from the hip – and no “by your leave” to a more Conservative candidate when the election is over a year away – that clearly tells me that the GOP Senators don’t give a damn about Republican voters in Florida – and that upsets me folks. They should get their knickers out of that election.

SECOND … When they nominate a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE … He or she won’t get my vote unless they are PRO-Gun, PRO-LIFE, PRO Defense, ANTI-Socialist, and ANTI-Illegal immigration.

Now … I’m willing to give a bit on PRO-LIFE – why, if the GOP comes up with a candidate who can explain to me exactly when LIFE begins, then I’ll support Abortion up to that point. Otherwise – they don’t get my vote because anyone who doesn’t know when life begins but still supports abortion isn’t a very intellectual person. It’s not too much to ask that – hey, if you’re for destroying an embryo – then please logically explain to me why YOU ARE SURE it’s not HUMAN LIFE.

So the GOP can do whatever it wants.

But if it runs a RINO again – like last time …

Then we’ll be pulling on Sarah Palin’s skirt to have her make an INDIE run for President. And we’ll throw our dollars and our votes at her. And the GOP will get na-da.

So g’head GOP and Steele – berate Conservatives all you want. We don’t care. We are the ones that hold the power and your political destinies. We’ve already lost – the worst has happened. We can easily go into a third party and free you guys up to compromise ALL your values and get all the votes you want from whatever riff-raff constiuency you wish to.

And Good Luck with that – but you won’t be the “Party Of Lincoln”.

Nuff Said.

HondaV65 on May 19, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Thanks for link modified. I can’t see where Mr. McCotter and I differ. I take the dismissive “so-called conservative leaders” is a slap at the people he is refering to, not the concept. Bush is a good example. If you cruise the blogs in our local paper, the libs go on and on about how they used to be republicans but…and then list the litany of grievances against republicans. It’s bs. There is no way they can be mad at republicans for deficit spending and embrace four times as much from the other guy and tell me thats what drove them out. Labels have no meaning in reference to that dishonesty.

DanMan on May 19, 2009 at 4:14 PM

I don’t live in a 2 party paradigm.

And I am not voting for anymore Republican candidates, whom I can’t stand and who oppose most things I am for and are for most things I oppose, simply because the Democrat candidate is worse.

The Republican Party can rot until it re-captures the core values it espoused in the 1980s and the 1990s.

The Republican Party stands for nothing more than trying to get elected, and it isn’t very good at that.

The RINO train has left the station without me on board.

molonlabe28 on May 19, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Uh, the Whig to Repbulican change took ONE Presidential Election Cycle…

Perot and the Reform Party gained 15% of the vote in ONE Election, and that at a time when most people were still loyal to one of the two major parties.

History does not show that it would take DECADES for a Party changeover.

Romeo13 on May 19, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Do you really think the Whig dissolution is an applicable model to the current situation? I mean that as a sincere question, not a sarcastic rejoinder. I see some fairly significant changes in the political landscape since 1856 – it’s not just the same game being played in a different era. The requirements of funding and media access needed to run a successful campaign are radically different. The level of indenture held by the opposing party over the citizens is an order of magnitude worse than anything the first Republicans faced when they took over from the Whigs. Andy Jackson’s Democrats didn’t seize control of a vast health-care system that effectively doubles the life expectancy of the American citizen.

The Reform Party is an even less inspiring historical parallel. Granted it would have done better if its leader wasn’t quite so… eccentric, but it was still the result of a unique set of political conditions, and its history does not provide a road map to electoral success. Even if Perot had won, he still would have been the one Reform Party official standing in a Congress full of bitter opponents. Remember what the defining issue of the Reform Party was? Deficit spending. (Sounds rather quaint from a modern perspective, doesn’t it?) Do you think Perot actually would have controlled the deficit if he’d managed to squeak past Bush I and Clinton? We’ll never know, but I think it’s rather more likely that he would have ended a single term in frustration, muttering bitter curses at the other two parties on his way out.

If the Republicans are intent on turning themselves into the Whigs, they’ll suffer the same fate eventually, but I just don’t see it happening in a single election. A third party would have to triple the 15% of the most successful third party in modern history to get anywhere near the White House, and even that probably wouldn’t be good enough. I’d be delighted to be proven wrong, but I don’t see that happening in less than two or three election cycles at a bare minimum… which, in the current climate, means we would be talking about electing the paramedics who clean up the wreckage, not the guys who prevent the crash.

Doctor Zero on May 19, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Doc:

Beautifully written and reasoned. I especially appreciate the point about not accepting the premises of our opponents – when so-called “moderate Republicans” are using the same “Here’s what’s wrong with the GOP” talking points, there’s something wrong going on inside the Republican Party.

“Moderate” Republicans can’t win without “Conservative” Republicans (and vice versa). The party goes nowhere if it can’t establish itself as a reasonable alternative to Democrats – that it presently isn’t is a testament to the ineptitude of the past decade, not the “icky social conservatives.”

Reagan Republicanism was about economic growth, strong defense and the defense of traditional values. In the past decade, Republicanism has been about reckless spending, vigorous (but too frequently inept and sorely undefended in the public arena) defense and, where “traditional values” are concerned, tolerance of public corruption combined with “in name only” support for the values themselves (and even that gives the “moderates” vapors).

While it’s easy to blame the current situation on Bush 43, it wouldn’t be accurate (or fair) – he had plenty of help from the House & Senate Republican caucuses … just for a few examples, Mark Foley wasn’t a member of the Executive Branch, the “campaign finance reform” bill wasn’t called “Bush/Feingold” and none of the “Gang of 14″ were named “Bush.”

The Republican problem going forward isn’t “what it believes” – it’s that, to a great extent, voters doubt elected Republicans truly believe (or know how to do) anything beyond pursue their own reelection … that, and criticize their own more stridently than they ever criticize any Democrat.

BD57 on May 19, 2009 at 10:49 PM