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November 09, 2009

The Road Ahead

John Hawkins has a fantastic, must read interview up with Conor Friedersdorf on the way forward for the Republican party.

John's 2 cents:

In some ways, the conservative movement is in better shape than it has ever been before. We've got a larger media presence, more intellectual firepower, better organization, and a mass movement in the streets, in the form of the Tea Parties.

But, we have some structural weaknesses that need to be addressed as well....

Conor's reply:

Think back on Election 2000. As President Clinton’s tenure ended, the GOP and the conservative movement united behind a favored candidate, George W. Bush, even before the primary season began. His candidacy garnered support from folks who now scoff at one another’s political judgment: is there any choice for the 2012 Republican nomination who Rush Limbaugh, David Frum, Dick Cheney, George Will and Colin Powell would all rally around? Financial support for the Bush campaign encompassed elite donors, the grassroots, and the party establishment. Soon after Team Bush secured the White House, the GOP succeeded in controlling both houses of Congress. Folks on the right mused openly about a permanent Republican majority.

Ask a conservative Republican today about how his government performed during the Bush Administration, and you’ll hear complaints about profligate spending, the prescription drug benefit, the early management of the Iraq War, No Child Left Behind, the financial industry bailout, the Harriet Meyers nomination, attempts at foolhardy immigration reform, rising deficits, a GOP establishment that lost touch with the grassroots, official corruption, etc.

How should the right respond to its recent history? How can it succeed in the future?

What do you think?

Posted by Cassandra at November 9, 2009 12:40 PM

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More cowbell?

Just a haphazard guess, at...this.... juncture.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 9, 2009 01:44 PM

Well, as a former conservative Republican, I awoke one day and smelled the coffee. That is, I became a Conservative. The problem now is to get the Conservatives to speak under a unified umbrella. As for the what is left of the Republican Party, they can make the New York Times very happy and merge with the Democrats.

Posted by: RIslander at November 9, 2009 03:57 PM

Once again, a flawed analysis by someone who thinks George Bush was a conservative. It's been the lesser of two evils for too long to bear. I'm hoping we can give the whole conservative governance theory a test before I die. Stop voting for parties and start voting for yourself.

Posted by: Metzger at November 9, 2009 06:13 PM

Well gents, the point is to win elections, and that means that unless you can guarantee that 51% of the electorate is really conservative, you gotta compromise on some things. Or else you might as well be a Libertarian; they have some admirable ideas, but I don't think they have any real political clout.

Pandering, favoritism, pork-barrel politics, cronyism and the greased palm are all much older than This Old Republic. Human nature hasn't been repealed; that wasn't in the Health Care Bill that was just passed, I think. Maybe next year?

Mr. Bush was a very flawed vessel, as was John McCain. So the alternatives were Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama. Man, have we ever rolled craps like that before?! Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis in the '80's, I guess.

I would like a little more idealogical purity, but I would settle for some old fashioned integrity and honesty in office. There is NO ONE on the near horizon that I think will be THAT appealing for Republicans/Conservatives/ right-wing Obama rejectionists, come 2012.

Hobson's Choice, anyone?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 9, 2009 09:11 PM

I've been saying for a long time that I wish we had more viable choices in the voting booth. As has been said, too often it comes down to "the lesser of two evils"; the ability to vote for someone, rather than against their opposition, would be a refreshing change to the status quo...

Posted by: camojack at November 10, 2009 12:28 AM

"...I would like a little more idealogical(sic) purity, but I would settle for some old fashioned integrity and honesty in office."

That would be nice, yes - but Bush '43 had both those qualities (despite what the left and the Demonrats ranted about for 8 years); he just came up, in the end, pretty woefully short on that "ideological" thingy. Too much effort at being "bipartisan" and a "statesman" and "exporting/building democracy", and too little effort at being economically conservative domestically and running a hard-core, hard-nosed foreign policy without fear or favor.

Maybe it's time to start promoting and running candidates for office that are a little less interested in being "uniters, not dividers" than they are in actually representing, in every way possible, the core values the Republicans like to say they espouse, but don't seem to actually demonstrate anymore: Smaller government, less control of people's everyday lives, fewer "entitlements" and less "sharing the wealth" driven by taxing everyone and everything in sight.

"...There is NO ONE on the near horizon that I think will be THAT appealing for Republicans/Conservatives/ right-wing Obama rejectionists, come 2012."

Then your "near horizon" must be at your own chin - start to extend your vision a bit farther than the end of your own nose. Good candidates are available - but you have to look a bit beyond the RNC's apparent fixation on "Electable = Moderate (i.e., Democrat-Lite)", in order to see them.

Stop focusing on the "gotta be bipartisan" meme - grow a pair, hitch up your big-person panties, and start concentrating on running people who are more interested in Gubmint having less control over people, and less interested in adding to the voracious, ever-bigger monster that is Gubmint today.

Do that, and the votes will be there.

Posted by: J.S.Bridges at November 14, 2009 07:09 PM