Quotes of the day

“The fact is that the GOP has been doing precisely what it claims it wants to do now – helping moderate and liberal Republicans it sees as more electable, at the expense of conservatives. Cornyn’s plan is nothing new. It has been tried and it has failed.

It is non-conservative Republicans who have gotten the party to where it is today. It is the massive spending and government enlargement that have forced a significant part of the base to abandon the GOP. It is the pork projects and the related corruption of ‘moderates’ that have dragged down the Republican brand. The people who have decidedly not been the downfall of the Republican Party are its conservatives.”

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“What Limbaugh fails to understand is that any successful political movement is built of both true believers and evangelizers. True believers, like Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, fire up the troops. They tell their followers exactly what they want to hear, and they instinctively resist any compromise of their hallowed principles. As a general rule, true believers live and work and worship among other true believers, and they like it that way…

It should hardly come as a surprise that true believers aren’t always fond of evangelizers. After all, evangelizers tell true believers things they don’t want to hear. Just as devout Saudi Muslims are quick to question the Islamic credentials of Bengali and Malay and American Muslims who mingle freely with nonbelievers, Limbaugh is enraged by the likes of David Brooks and David Frum and Jim Manzi and Ramesh Ponnuru, conservatives who consort with the liberal enemy. Though all of these writers and thinkers disagree amongst themselves about a great deal, they share a basic belief that the party needs to do more than just promise tax cuts we can’t afford. And they recognize that a healthy political movement is always open to new ideas, and to questioning old convictions.”

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“Rush knows what he is doing. The worse conservatives do, the more important Rush becomes as leader of the ardent remnant. The better conservatives succeed, the more we become a broad national governing coalition, the more Rush will be sidelined.

But do the rest of us understand what we are doing to ourselves by accepting this leadership? Rush is to the Republicanism of the 2000s what Jesse Jackson was to the Democratic party in the 1980s. He plays an important role in our coalition, and of course he and his supporters have to be treated with respect. But he cannot be allowed to be the public face of the enterprise – and we have to find ways of assuring the public that he is just one Republican voice among many, and very far from the most important.”