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A Not-So-Doomed GOP (The party has overwhelming local success, but is a federal failure)
National Review ^ | 02/01/2013 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 02/01/2013 9:34:22 AM PST by SeekAndFind

The Republicans are doomed. Conservatism is over. President Obama is conducting a mop-up operation at this point.

That’s the basic consensus in places like New York City; Washington, D.C.; and other citadels of blue America.

And let’s be fair, liberals have every reason to gloat — a little. The GOP has its troubles. Long-term demographic trends; often-irrational animosity from Hollywood, the media, and academia; a thumbless grasp of the culture on the part of many Republicans: All of these things create a headwind for the party and the broader conservative movement.

But here’s the weird part. That’s all true of presidential politics, but less so when it comes to state politics or even other federal races. In 2010, the GOP had its best performance in congressional races since 1938.

In North Carolina, a state that is supposed to represent the trends benefitting Democrats — it’s attracting liberal northern transplants, immigrants, high-tech workers, etc. — the GOP now has veto-proof majorities in the state house and senate. Last November, North Carolina became the 30th state with a GOP governor.

What gives?

There are a lot of possible explanations that are not mutually exclusive. Obama is more popular than his party. Mitt Romney was less popular than the ideas he had such a hard time expressing. Presidential electorates are different.

This last one is definitely true when you compare who voted in 2010 and who voted in 2012. The 2010 electorate was older and whiter. The Obama coalition of 2012 included younger voters, minorities, and so-called “low-information voters.”

No matter the merits of these observations, they don’t fully explain why Republicans are doing so well on the policy front. In states as diverse as Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, and a half-dozen others, Republicans have been implementing impressive — even miraculous — reforms.

In pro-Obama Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker beat back a historic attack from organized labor. And Michigan — Michigan! — recently became a right-to-work state, which I’m pretty sure is mentioned in the AFL-CIO’s bylaws as a sign of the end times.

I think an overlooked part of the story is the fact that Americans tend to see federal and local governments differently. At the local level, people seem to have a better grasp that it’s their tax dollars at work. They are far more sensitive to tax increases and more easily outraged by spending boondoggles. They understand the importance of sustainable economic growth.

This fact benefits Republicans, although state-level Democrats tend to be more fiscally responsible at the local level as well. (Rahm Emanuel is far more fiscally responsible as Chicago’s mayor than he ever was as Obama’s chief of staff.)

Meanwhile, what gets Republicans elected at the local level gets them in trouble at the federal level. Again, there are many reasons for this. But I think one of them is that we’ve come to see the federal government as some sort of mystical entity empowered to right all of the wrongs in society. If there’s a problem, there “should” be a federal response, the costs or feasibility of that response be damned.

While Romney’s infamous riff about the “47 percent” was profoundly flawed, the simple reality is that millions of people who do, in fact, pay federal income taxes do not care about those tax dollars in the same way they care about their local tax dollars. This is true of people who get more from the federal government than they pay in, but it’s also true for millions of affluent voters as well.

Our presidents, Republican and Democrat alike, talk about their “visions” for America, as if being a president requires you to impose some quasi-religious vision on the country.

But the Democrats are simply better at talking about government in spiritual terms. Indeed, such testifying is Obama’s one indisputable gift. Democrats talk about the federal government doing things we’d want God to do if God dabbled in public policy. They use the logic of religion, which holds that there is a unitary and seamless nature to all good things, and therefore no good thing government does should come at the expense of some other good thing government might do. And, worst of all, they castigate anyone who opposes more spending on, say, “the children” or “the environment” as morally retrograde and “against children” and “against the environment.”

The challenge for Republicans is to convince the American people that the government isn’t magic, and that all of its money is your money, its debts your debts. I don’t think the GOP is doomed, but America might be if Americans remain unconvinced too much longer.

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute


TOPICS: Parties; State and Local; U.S. Congress; U.S. Senate
KEYWORDS: federal; gop; state

1 posted on 02/01/2013 9:34:29 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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I dunno...maybe it is time to do what the Libs did...take over the grassroots and local, and wear down everything using the Long Game.

The Right has always seemed to think more top down, and the Left bottom up...but in someways the mentality seems to be changing.

You can make a case the Libs won even losing the Presidency during the Reagan/Bush years because they were doing everything at the grassroots. School Boards etc. Even held the House all those years in a row.

It doesn’t take as many votes to win local.

I don’t know what the overall answer is,but its time to get creative.


2 posted on 02/01/2013 9:44:32 AM PST by Crimson Elephant
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To: SeekAndFind

Because the GOP leadership are nothing but east coast liberals with lots of money. Stupid is as stupid does. and they does keep doing it the same way-turn left turn left! run from conservatives (you know theones that cling to their guns and bibles) and embrace the likes of Mitt Romney. Good man but much much too liberal.


3 posted on 02/01/2013 9:46:24 AM PST by dirtymac (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Indiana, a rust belt state with a lot of union employees, now has a very conservative governor and veto proof R majorities in both branches of the state legislature.

I just think the country is dividing up into red and blue enclaves.


4 posted on 02/01/2013 9:47:46 AM PST by nascarnation (Baraq's economic policy: trickle up poverty)
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To: nascarnation

Pat Bauer and his childish antics and Democrat overreach helped bring that about.


5 posted on 02/01/2013 9:55:12 AM PST by digger48
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To: SeekAndFind; cripplecreek
Ping for your interest Cripple.

6 posted on 02/01/2013 9:59:36 AM PST by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.-Sarah Palin)
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To: Crimson Elephant; All

“... take over the grassroots ...”

Well, while most elitest repubs weren’t listening or paying attention, as well as being overrun in the 2010 election and then refusing to acknowledge it, the grassroots are already organized and ready to clean house .. and the repubs currently in power are going to be dumbfounded. The main reason nobody’s talking about any of it is because they’re hoping we’ll just go away. And .. the other reason nobody’s talking is because that’s how grassroots operate - close to the vest .. something the repubs rarely do.

The reason for the grassroots resurgence is .. we’re fed up with all their go-along to get-along .. not realizing that going along means you agree with those who want to totally destroy the foundations of this country.

We’re done waiting around for them to get the message.


7 posted on 02/01/2013 10:04:39 AM PST by The Final Harvest ("America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth".)
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To: KC_Lion

The water is rising around the ankles of the good ole beltway boys.

He’s from the next district over from me but I see that tea partier Kerry Bentivolio who took the McCotter seat has come out swinging like a veteran in the house.


8 posted on 02/01/2013 10:08:10 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek
The Unions are liking this push back.

They will start striking back in someway.

Have they tried to cancel the Bridge the Canadians are building for you?

Or does it use Union Labor?

9 posted on 02/01/2013 10:12:25 AM PST by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.-Sarah Palin)
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To: KC_Lion

The unions are crying that they’ll use “foreign labor” to build the bridge with Chinese steel but anyone with half of an operational brain knows that everything is built with Chinese steel and the “foreign workers” will be largely Canadian mixed with Americans.

Good John Stewart video on the issue on the page.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130110/ENT10/301100444/1478/rss


10 posted on 02/01/2013 10:25:02 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek
Half the reason the USA Steel Manufacturing is in such the pathetic state that it is in is because of those same DAMN UNIONS!!

Geez, those people are stupid.

I guess as long as it isn't Chinese people building it they won't go on a racist tirade.

11 posted on 02/01/2013 10:32:39 AM PST by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.-Sarah Palin)
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To: SeekAndFind

Pennsylvania also has large Republican majorities that controls both houses and a Republican Governor.

But they have not done sh*t.


12 posted on 02/01/2013 11:20:36 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: 2banana

RE: Pennsylvania also has large Republican majorities that controls both houses and a Republican Governor.

But the entire state went Obama in 2012. Go Figure.


13 posted on 02/01/2013 12:06:00 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Power has become increasingly consolidated in the federal government. Any small “victories” at the state or local level are at most mere speedbumps in leviathin’s path. States simply don’t matter in the national picture. Their decisions don’t alter the course of the federal government, which can easily wait out the occasional state tantrum.

So what if Colorado legalizes pot? Will that stop the National War on Drugs with its ever-increasing militarization of police? No, Colorado PDs will still accept federal funds for SWAT teams and the APCs to “carry them into combat.”

Those who wield influence over our politicians want the power concentrated. The states lost this battle 100 years ago when we gave the federal government the ability to fund itself through direct income tax, and thereby allowed politicians to sell us as annuities to the highest bidder.

“The states? Why sure, let the Republicans have their little triumphs. States are no longer permitted at the grown-ups table anyway.”


14 posted on 02/01/2013 12:11:48 PM PST by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: SeekAndFind

GOPe


15 posted on 02/01/2013 12:21:06 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Of the government, by the government, and for the government.)
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To: Crimson Elephant

>> I dunno...maybe it is time to do what the Libs did...take over the grassroots and local, and wear down everything using the Long Game.

Hold on there... that’s exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, and what has been done to elect TP/Cons to Congress.


16 posted on 02/04/2013 2:46:16 AM PST by Gene Eric (The Palin Doctrine.)
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