Skip to comments.Republicans Forgot Reagan's Message
Posted on 11/11/2006 2:42:16 PM PST by Reagan Man
As I write this column, three days after the midterm elections, the Democrats have taken over the House of Representatives and, with the concession of Sen. George Allen (R.-Va.), have captured the Senate as well.
Make no mistake about itthis is Republican loss and not a conservative loss.
Republicans lost because the Bush Administration and the Republican leadership too often cavalierly abandoned the populist conservative message and policies of President Ronald Reagan.
For far too long the American people have come to view the conservative movement and the Republican Party as one and the same. Indeed, they are not.
Conservatives need to re-establish their identity and independence from Republicanism. The Bush Administration has been hijacked by neo-conservatives who believe in big government conservatism. The very phase is an oxymorondesigned to give cover for big government intervention in both the domestic and foreign policy arenas.
The neo-conservatives support open borders, expansion of the education bureaucracy and promoting democracy in the Mideast through military intervention.
Republicans paid a heavy price at the ballot box for their failure over the last few years to live up to the ideals and standards which the American people believed they represented when they took the House of Representatives from the Democrats a decade ago and when Bush won the presidency in 2000.
This election turned out to be just what many conservatives had feareda referendum on the performance of the Bush White House and the Republican Congress, rather than a contest between the two competing partys visions for America.
Republicans lost touch with almost every element of their base.
Economic conservatives could not understand it when the Bush White House teamed up with Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D.-Mass.) on big government legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act and the Medicare prescription drug bill. And they could not understand why conservative leaders such as former Rep. Tom DeLay (R.-Tex.) carried the water for the President on behalf of this massive expansion of government.
Conservatives were perhaps most dismayed with the administrations failure to secure our borders and to deal with illegal immigration. And many conservatives such as Bill Buckley, Brent Scowcroft and Pat Buchanan were skeptical early on about the war with Iraq which they viewed as unnecessary and not a part of the War on Terror.
To further complicate matters, Republicanswho were elected by promising the highest standards of integritywere involved in one scandal after another involving members of Congress, Republicans lobbyists and some members of the Bush Administration.
Exit polls indicated that the American electorate had become more than skeptical regarding the war in Iraq, concerned about the war on terrorism and the scandals in Washington.
One final nail in the coffin of the GOP was the failure at all levels of government in responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (One note: In my opinion this emphatically excludes the leadership by Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi in efforts exhibited in rebuilding his state.)
In shortthe mid term elections can be summed as crisis of confidence in the GOP controlled Congress and the Bush White House.
Sadly, it seems that the Party of Reagan has been hijacked by the neo-cons, the big government crowd and the pragmatists.
The debate for the heart and soul of the Republican Party and the conservative movement has begun. Lets hope we are up to the job.
The question is this: Do we want do the stay the course or do we want to want to return to the Party of Reagan?
[***Mr. Rotterman is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation and a GOP consultant.***]
Easy choice. Return to the Party of Reagan.
Easy choice. Return to the Party of Reagan.
In spades. Easy choice.
republicans need to learn you can't out liberal a liberal
"Easy choice. Return to the Party of Reagan."
Who led the charge that regained the House for Republicans? NEWT did...so as I look back, he may be the man to run for our NEXT President...he was all over fiscal responsibility...balancing the budget, cutting big spending and big government...
The two stalwarts of conservatism over the last 25 years have been Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich. Period. They were great political leaders, advancing a conservative revolution. Newt and Dick Armey built the Contract With America fromv policy speeches given by Ronald Reagan. And with the right leadership, the GOP can have a Reagan agenda once again to build on for the future.
Remember the sign in Clinton's headquarters?..."IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID".
GWB should have posted a similar sign in the oval office reading, "IT'S THE WAR, STUPID".
"IT'S THE WAR, STUPID".
I kind of like
"IT'S THE CONSTITUTION, STUPID!"
Sorry, not conservative enough for the folks here, Reagan and Gingrich are downright socialists according to the prevailing purist standards.
Gingrich did the "drunken sailor" thing and backed the socialist Medicare D.
Reagan would never make it to the White House... as governor he raised taxes, passed gun control and signed abortion law that caused the number of abortions to surge in CA. And forget immigration, as President Reagan signed a massive amnesty for illegal aliens.
I'm not quite sure who is perfect ENOUGH to meet the standards around here anymore, but Gingrich and Reagan wouldn't survive any purist primaries nowadays. Too pragmatic, and that is just "selling out" and "no principles", ya know.
Darn right! And make it plain to the liberals that they're welcome to go right back to the Democrat ranks from whence they came.
So true. And isn't it funny that, while our side was trying to out-liberal the Liberals, the liberals were portraying themselves as conservatives...and winning.
But if you ask the many RINO-coddlers around here, we lost because we weren't liberal enough.
Bears repeating ad infinitum.
Mine is that so many of the electorate are ignorant so that any informed vote is overwhelmed by an avalanche of democrat biased noise. As exhibited by Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity in their man in the street interviews - typically the "victims" cannot identify people below the office of president in government - but will identify themselves as democrats - I guess it is just cool.
I wouldn't consider the results of close elections as very meaningful, at least of the voter intention. Of course, it will be very meaningful for the future of this nation.
I guess I'm just cynical, I laughed at the old, miserable people who complained about their confusion about the butterfly ballot in the 2000 election. Idiots! Who wants to hear from you anyway!
BUMP the dumbing down of too many American voters.
We would do well to remember that President Reagan's legacy is based on the whole 8 years - the way he was viewed by the general public after 6 years and after 8 years is/was quite different.
I like Newt - but he has been so trashed by the MSM that he wouldn't stand a chance.
And his Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."
Its violation helped defeat Goldwater in 1964, and assured our loss of both House and Senate in 2006.
>>I like Newt - but he has been so trashed by the MSM that he wouldn't stand a chance.<<
Not just the MSM. But Presidents have been elected before without being MSM darlings.
Thanks for the compilation to FreeReign:
Republican Incumbents Who Lost in the House:
Jim Ryun (KS) - ACU rating 98
J.D. Hayworth (AZ) - ACU rating 98
Richard Pombo (CA) - ACU rating 97
Chris Chocola (IN) - ACU rating 95
Gil Gutknecht (MN) - ACU rating 94
Charles Taylor (NC) - ACU rating 92
Mike Sodrel (IN) - ACU rating 92
Melissa Hart (PA) - ACU rating 91
John Hostettler (IN) - ACU rating 90
Don Sherwood (PA) - ACU rating 87
Anne Northup (KY) - ACU rating 86
Clay Shaw (NC) ACU rating 82
John Sweeney (NY) ACU rating 77
Jeb Bradley (NH) ACU rating 71
Charles Bass (NH) ACU rating 71
Curt Weldon (PA) ACU rating 70
Sue Kelly (NY) ACU rating 65
Mike Fitzpatrick (PA) ACU rating 60
Nancy Johnson (CT) ACU rating 47
Jim Leach (IA) ACU rating 43
Vacated Republican seats lost
DeLay (TX) ACU rating 95
Beuprez (COL) ACU rating 93
Green (WI) ACU rating 88
Nussle (IA) ACU rating 86
Ney (OH) ACU rating 86
Foley (FLA) ACU rating 78
Koly (AZ) ACU rating 74
Boelert (NY) ACU rating 40
Democrat Incumbent seats lost
Republican Incumbents Who Lost in the Senate:
Burns (MT) - ACU rating 91
Allen (VA) - ACU rating 92
Santorum (PA) - ACU rating 88
Talent (MO) - ACU rating 93
DeWine (OH) - ACU rating 80
Chafee (RI) - ACU rating 37
Democrat Incumbent seats lost
I see no ~sarcasm~ references in your post, so you must be serious. I'd have to disagree with you. Most FReepers give Newt Gingrich high marks in recent FR poll questions on candidate support for 2008. Newt's Contract With America was a stroke of political genius.
And what Reagan did as Governor of California was trumped by what he accomplished as POTUS. The abortion bill Reagan signed into law as Governor was limited to rape, incest and the health/life of the mother, or about 5% of all abortions. Reagan never supported abortion on demand as a birth control option.
Reagan didn't support open borders. Reagan said: "A nation without borders is not a nation." Reagan did sign into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 that granted amnesty to 2.7 million illegals. It specified prosecution and punishment for employers who hired illegals. If that law was enforced, the IRCA of 1986 would have turned out to be what it was meant to be, a one time amnesty deal. Instead, the Feds lack of enforcement led to a ongoing series of liberal immigration policies under Bush41, Clinton and Bush43, that has led to the 10-15 million illegals we have living in the US today.
I think the Reagan agenda from 1976,1980 and 1984 would be embraced by cosnervatives today. Just like it was back then. Strong defense, tax reform, limiting the govts welfare state and support for pro-life issues still stand out in the minds of conservatives. And having made an error in judgment on immigration refrom in 1986, I seriously doubt Reagan would make that same mistake again.
What the pubbies have to do is nominate Tom Cruise for president. (Get with it pubbies!) That would blast away the pathetic Michael Moore standard bearer of the donkey party. They might have to enlist Babs (over Lurch) for president.
"Sadly, it seems that the Party of Reagan has been hijacked by the neo-cons, the big government crowd and the pragmatists."
Reagan increased the size of government, grew the deficit spectacularly, raised taxes -- and signed off on amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.
He also "cut and ran" from Beirut.
He had bigger fish to fry, which he did -- which made him the greatest President in generations.
The author is an uninformed buffoon.
Of course using the expression "neo-con" is a dead giveaway of buffoonery.
Of course they did. He's DOA in a national election. You must have forgotten that MSM shredded him years ago. Sorry, but that is a fact.
Yes, still works... it's why we voted "RINO" Bush in again in 2004, big successes in all those areas except couldn't pull off his Social Security reform... not enough American voters seem to want it.
It's just hilarious seeing folks here rant about Bush's guest worker program and then demand we "get back to Reagan".... and then they rant about Medicare D and demand we "get back to Gingrich".
The doublespeak and memory hole are classic Orwellian.
No credit is given to the president who beat a sitting vice president and who won relection and kept the GOP congress for 6 years while being the subject of 365, 24/7 pounding by MSM in collusion with the democrats !
No credit whatsoever. He's a sell out! Everything is Bush's fault. They sound like democrats.
The "R" used to stand for Republican. In the 80s it stood for Reagan Conservative. Leading up to this election it stood for Reelection. The latter is best evidenced by the party's support of Lincoln Chaffe over a more conservative candidate in the Republican primary. When they get back to the principles that Reagan stood for, they will become a relevant party again. Until then they deserve election results like they just received
Someone needs to tell Dick Army, Danforth, christine todd whitman, and the other moderates to stop ragging on the conservative base.
1) Wealthy NE suburban and exurban districts where moderate Republicans and independents threw the GOP overboard due to social liberalism and opposition to the war in Iraq. This explains the losses in CT-02, CT-05, NH-01, NH-02, NY-19, NY-20, NY-24, PA-04, PA-07, PA-08 and PA-10. The GOP was wiped out in the North East. These losses were an explicit denunciation of social conservatism and the Iraq war. This thesis is further supported by the fact the GOP support among economically successful and wealthy males fell from 60% in 2004 to 46% in 2006.
2) Mid-Western (upper South) districts populated by Reagan Democrats who wanted more economically liberal policies (opposition to free trade etc.) and were opposed to the Iraq war. This explains the losses in IN-02, IN-08, IN-09, KY-03, NC-11 etc.
3) Districts with incumbents connected to scandals and corruption; FL-16 (Foley), AZ-05 (Hayworth), CA-11 (Pombo), TX-22.
These examples constitute a bulk Republican house losses. Frankly, I'm most concerned about the loss of Republican support among successful, wealthy upper-middle class males (small businessmen, professionals etc.) who have traditionally been the backbone of Republicanism and provided much of the grass roots funding for the party.
Again, nobody wants to talk about the backlash against social conservatism, an issue which Armey brought up just before the election.
They are still counting about 100,000 votes in his district, so the fat lady hasn't sung...yet!
The reason that social libertarians 'ragged on' the so-called conservative base was due to the fact that they are unhappy with the direction the GOP has taken. This unhappiness resulted in a truly massive loss for GOP in the North East.
I think a more telling reason may be the Reagan Democrats abandoned the GOP ... or should I say the GOP abandoned them.
Since you believe social conservatism was our downfall, I appreciate it if you would tell us what you think the GOP should stand for.
Bump. Gutless wonders who cut and run when the going gets tough.
The election was solely about the war. The electorate blinked not Bush.
Now all the so called conservatives hoist their pet peeves as the reason for "Bush's downfall". Utter BS.
We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the Party over to the so-called moderates wouldnt make any sense at all. --Ronald Reagan, 1965
Join me in a dream of a California whose government isn't characterized by political hacks and cronies and relatives--an administration that doesn't make its decisions based on political expediency but on moral truth. Together, let us find men to match our mountains. --Ronald Reagan, 1966
I believe Ronald Reagan, btw, would also support the war in Iraq.
It will be wonderful to hear and see our leaders again set an agenda which would obtain a smaller government. Immigration both legal and illegal is way, way out of control and must be totally revamped.
A return to the conservatism of President Reagan and away from the so-called "compassionate conservatism" of President Bush is an absolute necessity, if Republicans as well as conservatives wish to regain power.
Thank you for the post, Reagan Man.
Yep. Thread after endlessly nauseating thread. They're terrified that folks will take a good look at everyone who lost and realize that their "all you have to do is run solid conservatives and they will win every time" is pure Fantasyland.
I, for one, never thought they were.
Opposition to social conservatism, or rather successful association of incumbent Republicans with it, was a key reason for GOP losses in the North East, not necessarily anywhere else. However, GOP wooing of blue-collar Reagan Democrats with promises of social conservatism is starting to badly hurt the party among libertarian conservatives. When at the same the Democrats have begun to diffuse the 'culture war' issues by running social conservatives in these districts, I see bad times ahead for the Republicans.
IMHO, the Republicans should embrace old-fashioned Main Street conservatism with emphasis on moderate, small enterprise free-market economics, positive family values conservatism and a realist foreign policy.
An American Life (his autobiography) | 8/7/03 |
"When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining in Sacramento, a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn't like it.
"Compromise" was a dirty word to them and they wouldn't face the fact that we couldn't get all of what we wanted today. They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don't get it all, some said, don't take anything.
"I'd learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: 'I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.'
"If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that's what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it.
Terrific news, thought he was a goner! I'll cross my fingers that she be singing happy news when she does :-)
They tried hard.
I voted for him. You "centrists" were voting for Pat Brown and Jimmy Carter.
Yeah, cuz Reagan led us to two resounding defeats and two resounding wins. Bush led us to three wins.
I'll take Bush over Reagan anyday. And in terms of the Senate, Bush's 2006 performance is still a million times better than Reagan's 1986 performance.
Take heart. Based on historical precedent, the Perpetually Angry Faction of conservatives will be using Bush's name to attack the current sitting Republican and demanding that we get back to the days of Bush Conservatism LOL
Just wait for it... I predict November 11, 2030 there will be a FR thread entitled, "Republicans Forgot Bush's Message" ;-)
I doubt I'll be around to see it.