Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Can The GOP Get Its Groove Back?

Can the Elephant learn to dance, sing and trample jackasses underfoot again? Maybe. But they're going to figure out what they stand for first.

As far as that goes , I personally could care less if the Republicans ever win another election unless they're willing to embrace the principles that made them worth supporting in the first place - small government, lower taxes, individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, the encouragement of excellence, American exceptionalism and a strong national defense. If they're unwilling to do that and figure on some new whiz bang techno-fart gizmology to revive them or that watering down those basic principles to be Democrat-lite is the way of the future, as far as I'm concerned the GOP elephant can go the way of the mastodon.

The American people will reject that kind of phony stance every time it's presented to them. People line up and pay admission to see the Mona Lisa, but I doubt they're going to do it for a copy. We saw that during the last election, when the crowds and the excitement followed Sarah Palin, while the head of the Republican ticket, 'Maverick' John McCain was so boring. nuanced and off putting that he actually was forced to appear jointly with Palin in order to be able to speak in front a decent sized audience. The dinosaur media followed Palin too, ignoring McCain in favor of doing their best to gun down Palin. They knew where the real danger to Obama lay, and it wasn't in some tired Senatorial creature yammering about how bi-partisan he was or how he'd worked so well with Ted Kennedy.

This takes on particular importance in light of the dinosaur media's exuberance over Arlen Specter's defection from RINO to Donkey.

Specter is an egotistical waterhead who symbolizes precisely why the GOP fell out of favor with the teeming masses. In the end, what he was about was getting re-elected and maintaining his perks, rather than adherence to any kind of principle. He almost symbolizes why the GOP got booted out. But on the other side of the same coin, Maine Senator Susan Collins tersely pointed out that she had won re-election as a Republican in a blue state and nobody from the RNC had ever bothered to come around to ask her how she did it.

And that's exactly the point. Susan Collins understands retail politics and populism in a way a lot of the GOP's leadership has simply lost touch with. And it's cost them. This goes past the labels of 'liberal' and 'conservatism' and back to the Founder's principles.

I might add that President Obama and many of the Democrats don't understand this stuff either. From being the self-announced party of the mythical Little Guy, the Donkeys have morphed into a party beholden to any number of pressure groups and special interests, many with conflicting agendas. They simply have better media coverage, the advantage of having run against a uniquely unpopular incumbent and weak, clueless opposition. All of these factors could very well work against them in 2010 and 2012 - if the opposition changes.

There are a number of voices in the GOP today like Jeb Bush, John McCain, Michael Steele and others who think the problem is that the GOP needs to move beyond the legacy of Ronald Reagan, abandon its base and go more 'big tent'.

In today's New York Times, their 'conservative' columnist, Ross Douthat made the same point in his debut today by going after conservatives:

Watching Dick Cheney defend the Bush administration’s interrogation policies, it’s been hard to escape the impression that both the Republican Party and the country would be better off today if Cheney, rather than John McCain, had been a candidate for president in 2008. {...}

As a candidate, Cheney would have doubtless been as disciplined and ideologically consistent as McCain was feckless. In debates with Barack Obama, he would have been as cuttingly effective as he was in his encounters with Joe Lieberman and John Edwards in 2000 and 2004 respectively. And when he went down to a landslide loss, the conservative movement might – might! – have been jolted into the kind of rethinking that’s necessary if it hopes to regain power.

At the very least, a Cheney-Obama contest would have clarified conservatism’s present political predicament. In the wake of two straight drubbings at the polls, much of the American right has comforted itself with the idea that conservatives lost the country primarily because the Bush-era Republican Party spent too much money on social programs. And John McCain’s defeat has been taken as the vindication of this premise.

We tried running the maverick reformer, the argument goes, and look what it got us. What Americans want is real conservatism, not some crypto-liberal imitation.

“Real conservatism,” in this narrative, means a particular strain of right-wingery: a conservatism of supply-side economics and stress positions, uninterested in social policy and dismissive of libertarian qualms about the national-security state. And Dick Cheney happens to be its diamond-hard distillation.

Let's take a moment to examine Douthat's central premise, that had Dick Cheney been the nominee, Obama would have cleaned his clock and destroyed the evil Right Wingers once and for all.

The fact is, the election turned on two things - the economy coincidentally turning south just before the election when Barack Obama was lagging in the polls, McCain feckless response to it and Obama’s uncritical media coverage versus an all out attack on a marginal candidate at odds with the rank and file of his own party.With all that going for him, Obama beating McCain by 5 points was roughly the equivalent of the Chicago Bears playing a high school team and winning in the fourth quarter by a touchdown.

Based on that, I'm not so sure Cheney would have lost...especially if Sarah Palin had been on the ticket.

For one thing, every time real conservatism based on small government, strong defense, individual liberty and lower taxes with anything like an articulate spokesperson has run against its opposite number, it's won by a landslide - because America remains a center right nation. And for the most part, a Christian one.

To those of you who wonder how Cheney might have fared against a good looking, well spoken charismatic lefty, I can only refer you to the Cheney-Edwards debate or any of Cheney's little sorties against the likes of CNN's Wolf Blitzer. I won't even bother mentioning what he did to Joe Biden. Cheney versus Obama would have been absolutely pitiful as Douthat admits, and there's no way the dinosaur media could have covered it up. The country would have understood that it was a clear choice between a novice and having a grown up in charge. Not only that, but the American people would have seen a very different side of Dick Cheney, one the dinosaur media would have found difficult to distort.

For that matter, I remember watching Cheney and Lieberman debate back in 2000 and saying to myself that the wrong two guys are heading the national tickets.I still feel that way.

Unlike McCain, Dick Cheney would have been unafraid to hit Obama on the issues and would have raised questions about the problems of having someone like Obama as commander-in-chief with his slim resume, questionable associations and stances on the issues. And I doubt Cheney would have made a high profile ass of himself running back to DC in the middle of the campaign to vote for a bailout deeply unpopular with the American people.

With all that, Obama might have still eked out a win, but it would have been razor thin if it happened at all, and it would have been a first in American politics for more than just the fact that one candidate was one third black. It would have been the first time the Left ever defeated a clearly defined, articulate conservative in touch with the bedrock of American values.

Reagan was so effective not so much because he was a by-the-numbers conservative but because he stood for principles, and was able to express them in easily understood terms that resonated with the average American. He wasn't afraid to go out on a limb and present the clear difference between his vision for America and that of his opponents.

Real conservatism always wins out eventually because that's how the rules of life and nations work. All it takes is the ability to speak honestly to the American people and explain that to them.The Left can be counted on to be defeated by history, and moreover to defeat themselves as their arrogance, basic dishonesty and contempt for American values is always shown up by the rising tide of events.

That's the road back for the GOP, if it's going to happen at all - clearly defined, articulately stated principle with the candidates to back it up in word and deed.


B.Poster said...

I think the GOP can get is so called groove back. Unless Obama's policies can succeed where these types if policies have not succeeded before, the Republicans will probably take back the House in 2010, if not the Senate as well. In any event they will probably take back the Senate by 2012, if not by 2010. Then they will control both the House and the Senate.

While I want the Democrats to succeed, to root against the people in power is to root against the country. With that said I simply don't see how the policies they propose can possibly lead to success.

Now to define success. Success -
1.) Defeating America's enemies both foreign and domestic or at least neutralizing them so they don't pose a threat to America. Chief among these foreign enemies are the Russians, Chinese, and the nations who support Islamic terrorists, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela. Chief among the domestic enemies are those who aid, abet, and enable these foreign enemies. 2.) Getting our econmy growing again. 3.) Preserving and expanding American influence in the world.

I felt it necessary to define success so that any reader of this post would understand where I'm coming from, As long as our leaders are working toward these goals, I do not want them to fail. At least right now, I think most people think this is what they are trying to do even if many of them may differ in how best to get there.

If the Republicans stay on the themes of lower taxes, individual responsibilty, limited government, and strong defense they will have a clear message when the next elections happen in 2010. It is unlikely that Obama's policies will succeed. As such, they will be in an excelent position to regain control of the House and possibly the Senate with the 2010 elections.

There are really only three things that I see that might stop the Republicans. 1.) They don't stay on target with the themes of lower taxes, strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government. This President and many voices in the media will try to get the Republicans to do things their instincts will probably tell them not to do but the voices will tell them not to be "unpatriotic" in a time of great challenge for our country. After all, "patriotism" means supporting the Commander in Chief and his team. It is unpatriotic to oppose your government. So we will be told. It will be important to avoid the temptation to give in to this siren song. In other words the siren song tells us to become "Democrat-lite" for "the good of the country." This formula costs the Republicans in 2008. Fortunately most are now catching on and so far are holding firm. as evidenced by almost universal opposition to the last bail out bill by Republicans. Continue to hold firm and the Republicans will retake the House with the 2010 elections assuming the country can survive that long. God willing it will.
2.) The voters will turn out in mass for the 2010 elections to put Republicans in charge but George Soros and other big money Democrats will turn loose the police, the military, and other domestic security services that the powers that be will try to have in place by then on the people. Its worked in a number of places where the government wished to suppress the people. Perhaps this is the plan of the powers that be. Will it work here? I think probably not but I don't know. 3.) Many of the government's curent policies are so problematic that the very survival of the country is problematic at best. These policies are set entirely by the Democrats. The Republicans don't control any thing. Can the country survive until the elections of 2010 or 2012? I pray it does.

Other things to consider. The performance of George W. Bush was absolutely horrendous and the media was very successful in linking the entire Republican party to George W. Bush. George W. Bush was probably easily the worst president in American history. Also, I don't remember the exact numbers, but, as I recall Republicans were defending about 20 Senate seats and the Democrats were defending about 10 Senate seats. In addition the Democrats had and continue to have a vast money edge over the Repubicans. Throw in the horrendous performance of the Republicans and the Democrats should be controlling about 70 seats right now. Also, Mr. Obama only got about 52% of the vote. Given the horrific performance of Mr. Bush he should have gotten about 85% of the vote. This would seem to suggest that the voting public is not entirely enamored with Mr. Obama or the Democrats.

In summary, if the Republicans will stay on the themes of lower taxes, less Government intervention, strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, and personal responsibility, they will retake the House and possibly the Senate with the 2010 elections. That is if the country can survive that long. I pray that it does. Lower taxes and less government intervention are the keys to getting our econnomy moving in a positive direction. The Republicans seem to be finally getting this. They need to stay on theme.

louielouie said...

for the record, i remember saying the same thing back in 2000 during the veep debate.
however, i think i'm on the opposite side of ff during the 2004 veep debate. just to be a little OT here, as i remember it, right before the debate, the jackass party started to make a lot of noise as to the sexual orientation of one cheney daughter. i remember a particular point where edwards, in an attempt to speak down to cheney, congratulated him on his support of his daughter. i remember cheney as being shell-shocked and sort of knodding his head up and down in a sort of thank you motion. if ever a politician should have knocked the hell out of a political opponent, that should have been that moment. it would probably have set off cheney's de-fib.
for the rest of that debate, i just didn't get the impression that cheney went after him on anything. i think he was playing to shrub's philosophy that you can't win a political debate, but you can lose one. my recollection is the debate was a toss-up.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Poster,
I don't see the GOP retaking the House or Senate in 2010, but making significant inroads if they get their act together.

Steele was a huge mistake, and one they're going to have difficulty rectifying. About the only thing thay can do is sit him done an dhave a heart to heart, then get him the help he needs backstage.

Hi Louie,
I saw it differently, with Cheney scoring points on Edwards all through th edebate. When his daughter came up, Cheney glared at Edwards and I think everyone knew what was going through his mind. The curt nod was probably the best thing he could have done, short of punching Edwards out.

Cheney was a great man whoformed a lotof covert stuff behind the scenes an dlogged a lot of air miles that arguably shortened his life. There was no talk about pakistan's nukes being unsecured while he was on the watch...

The Dark Lord indeed...G-d I miss him..

Anonymous said...

I'm not looking for 'flash'. I'm not looking for place the race card or gender card. I'm not a liberal. But I'll vote Republican over Marxist Democrat every time. If all the third-party "Republians" would have ignored all their trendy arguments against Republicans and voted for McCain, Obama might not be tearing down our country right now. Politics is not a game, it's not American idol. I wish politics would become boring again to young trendy people and nonAmericans. This is our way of life we're talking about here and politics have become nothing but a reality show.

rachel said...

Anonymous said: [[[Politics is not a game, it's not American idol.]]]

Clearly it is now. It's going to take a wild pendulum swing to the right to bring it back from the pop-idol abyss. We have a very dumbed down electorate..and that's not going to change any time soon...if ever. Remember the left is firmly in charge of our education system. They WANT an ignorant and misinformed electorate. Otherwise they couldn't be elected dog-catcher.

Right Truth said...

Just picture a Cheny-Palin ticket, yee haw. But it will never happen.

Most of the Republicans on this 'talking tour' are re-run presidential candidates and I want somebody NEW.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Freedom Fighter said...

I tell ya, Deb..the Dark Lord and the Huntress would have swept all before them.

Cheney's out of the picture, but I also have to tell you that there was an awesome Reagan Republican who would have made an excellent candidate and president but didn't get the time of day from the party or the media - Duncan Hunter.

If that crusty old ex Army Ranger was in Da House, things would be way different. Voted against the bailout too, BTW.

I think Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney will all be in the mix. Palin learned a lot from the way she was mishandled by the media and 'Maverick's' people, and she will be formidable this time around.

Giuliani would be a great president, but women may not vote for him because he dumped his wife - as opposed to say, Mr. Bill, who's wife made the decision to cover for him.

I like Romeny as Sec Of Treasury, but I dunno about president.

None of it will mean anything if the GOP doesn't decide on what it stands for.