Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on February 20, 2013 by Allahpundit

Why should RINOs hang their heads in shame and be relegated to the fringes of their party? The party is the fringe. Isn’t it time to reclaim the salt lick? RINOs need to be defiantly proud, aggressively centrist and unapologetically sane.

There are a couple of obstacles to this obvious course. First, sane people are too busy Being Normal to organize. No, “normal” is not a relative term. We all know what normal is, and it doesn’t involve carrying gigantic photos of aborted fetuses to political conventions. For example.

[W]hat has become glaringly clear is that RINOs need to stop being so normal and grant their better angels a sabbatical. Forget taking back the country. Start by taking back your party. Do it for your country.

RINOs: The Strong. The Proud. The Many.

***

Why is Rush Limbaugh batting one for six in presidential races? Why is Fox News one for five? Perhaps it is because two decades later, what many of us once considered to be an important balance to left-wing media bias have become the only outlets conservative politicians and thought leaders consider legitimate. That has proven to be a terrible calculation.

This assumption has now become so widespread on the right that any news analysis or media poll that runs counter to Republican interests is dismissed by the right as biased and irrelevant. This mindset took firm hold in 2012 so that the echo chamber syndrome that once made fools of left has now come back to undermine the right. Not only does this approach distort political reality by only reinforcing pre-existing worldviews, it also stifles intellectual debate inside the party. This in turn creates the kind of stale political environment that has been criticized of late by conservative thought leaders like Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz and Pete Wehner. Mr. Wehner wrote a column today in “Commentary” calling for the “intellectual unfreezing” of the right.

Conservatives should celebrate the gains they have made in the media world over the past two decades. But their greatest challenge moving forward is to begin breaking down the walls they have built that keeps them locked inside a comfort zone that distorts political reality and cedes great advantages to Democratic candidates. What conservatives must do instead is dare to think different, apply eternal truths to current realities and then start spreading their gospel of conservatism to the swing voters who have rejected them in five of six presidential races.

***

The other point that the reaction to my Rush comments proves is that conservatives continue to view criticism (even the constructive kind) through a lens of ideological suspicion. Even though I defended conservative principles as right, strong and popular, and explicitly said this isn’t about casting strident conservatives out of the party but reworking our messaging, Rush’s fans still decided that my conservatism was discredited. Disagreeing with him, or merely offering that we should feel comfortable disagreeing with party leaders now and then, suddenly made me an untrustworthy, sell-out liberal.

I care deeply about the conservative movement, which is why I regularly put myself in a position to defend it in hostile territory, on liberal media outlets where I am usually outnumbered. It’s why I am my party’s biggest cheerleader when our leaders do the right thing. And it’s why I travel the country telling as many people as possible why conservative policies are better for them than liberal ones.

But it’s also why I risk friends and fans by calling out Republican elected officials, operatives like Karl Rove, the Republican National Committee, and conservative pundits when necessary. It’s no profile in courage, but merely common sense. We’ll never win credibility with new voters if we insist everything that every conservative says or does should be defended and justified.

***

In the states, the Republican focus on cost containment and efficiency works best when it is combined with a commitment to providing high-quality government services and an understanding that government can and should be useful. Republican governors’ talk about improving their states’ governments contrasts with national Republican rhetoric, which tends to cast government as an impediment to freedom and growth.

Such a balanced approach is the reason that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has approval ratings in the 70s, or that governors like John Kasich in Ohio and Susana Martinez in New Mexico did the math and accepted Medicaid expansion funds that will benefit their constituents, instead of dying on the hill of opposition to Obamacare.

***

Why would Glenn Beck or the other right-wing talkers be impressed with a guy like Chris Christie? Hell, he only cut business taxes by $2.6 billion and created 100,000 new jobs over two years in his one state. Oh, yeah. He is also the first pro-life governor to serve in New Jersey since Roe v. Wade passed in 1973.

Why would any member of the Conservative Entertainment Complex want anything to do with a RINO who carries around that kind of conservative record in a blue state that hasn’t gone Republican in a presidential contest in 25 years?…

Glenn Beck must be infuriated. Why, this Chris Christie character has created a new kind of gender gap in this Democratic state that has him actually winning the female vote by 23 percent. Numbers like that have to enrage talkers like Glenn Beck, who have spent most of their adult lives working to make women voters run AWAY from the Republican Party faster than you can say “government-sanctioned vaginal probe.”

Why would Glenn Beck or any self-described conservative like Chris Christie?

***

Like Rubio, Christie is being touted as a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. But the Garden State’s tough-guy governor, whose combativeness once drove me to call him a chest-beating “bully,” is no phony. And unlike Rubio, he’s also not a rabid right-winger.

For all of his bluster, Christie has modeled a kind of bipartisanship that has won him the highest approval rating of any governor in the country. He now enjoys the support of nearly half of the Democrats in New Jersey — a state whose voters backed the Democratic nominee in each of the past six presidential elections…

Christie … is betting the American people have tired of the intransigence of the political right and left. He’s hoping that in a tug of war, mainstream Republicans will regain control of the GOP presidential candidate selection process and clear the way for him to become the party’s standard-bearer in 2016. Christie is a greater threat than Rubio to chip away at the coalition that twice hoisted Obama into the White House.

***

Today’s Republicans are very good at tending the fire of Ronald Reagan’s memory but not nearly as good at learning from his successes. They slavishly adhere to the economic program that Reagan developed to meet the challenges of the late 1970s and early 1980s, ignoring the fact that he largely overcame those challenges, and now we have new ones. It’s because Republicans have not moved on from that time that Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, in their responses to the State of the Union address last week, offered so few new ideas…

Conservatives should retain their skepticism about government intervention, the preference for letting markets direct economic resources and the zeal for ending government-created barriers to economic growth that they inherited from Reagan. In his first Inaugural Address, Reagan famously said that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” The less famous yet crucial beginning of that sentence was “in our present crisis.” The question is whether conservatism revives by attending to today’s conditions, or becomes something withered and dead.

***

Last night, Glenn appeared on The O’Reilly Factor and discussed the influence that the Tea Party will have in the country moving forward and the continuing struggle between the establishment GOP and advocates for small government.

In the interview, Glenn told O’Reilly that he was done dealing with the big government establishment GOP, and that they have betrayed their values for too long. Glenn said that the GOP have worked against the Tea Party for too long…

Glenn did not agree with the trend for some in the GOP to become more “moderate” on issues, and said the most moderate position would be to cut spending.


***

This is why I cannot take the RINOs any more ladies and gentlemen. I cannot take the Republicans anymore. And I will be absolutely straight with you. If I believed that a third party would be viable, if I believed a third party wouldn’t elect generation after generation of Barack Obamas and Nancy Pelosis and Harry Reids, I’d go third party. I really would. But I can’t. Because I know what that will do.

Click the image to listen.

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