Skip to comments.Federalism Could be the Solution to GOP Branding Problem
Posted on 12/14/2012 4:27:58 AM PST by Kaslin
To understand why Republicans have a "branding problem," you first need to understand how the system is rigged against conservatives.
Such is the schizophrenic dysfunction of our politics: We constantly demand "conviction" politicians who will "do what's right" and then condemn them, often in the same breath, for being unwilling to put aside their conviction and their sense of what's right.
But such condemnation does not fall equally on conservatives and progressives alike. For the progressive's principle is, at its core, more. Do more. Spend more. Spend more doing more. Any compromise of progressive principle in this regard is seen as "pragmatic." Hence, the progressive's heart is always in the right place.
The conservative, however, who says the federal government is not the right tool to fix the problem at hand, or that it is not Washington's job to fix said problem, or that such a problem is itself not fixable and taking money from taxpayers to try is despotic folly: This conservative's heart is never in the right place.
In other words, the progressive wins entirely on the principled question of direction. The conservative (or libertarian) loses entirely on principle but gets concessions on how fast we'll go in the wrong direction. The progressive says, "Let's move to Mars." The conservative says, "Earth is fine." They compromise by moving to the moon. And, before the first lunar dawn, the progressives start agitating about how Mars would be so much better.
When the classical liberal philosopher Friedrich Hayek famously said that he couldn't call himself a conservative because "It has ... invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing," he had this dynamic in mind, and you can see it on full display as progressives respond to the unfolding disaster of ObamaCare by arguing for a single-payer system.
This gets to the heart of why the Republican "brand" is in such terrible shape. Over the 20th century, progressives erected a system and culture where the government in Washington is the agency of first and last resort for all of our problems. When government is expected to say yes to everything, electing the Party of No makes as much sense as hiring a priest to run a brothel.
So what is the answer? Many conservatives argue that what the GOP needs to do is start saying "Yes" to things. This was the idea behind George W. Bush's compassionate conservatism. Americans want an activist government, so conservatives should find things they can be activist about, too. If the government is going to meddle, it might as well meddle in conservative ways.
While individual policies may be advisable, as a general proposition I think this is the wrong way to go. Not only does this do violence to the constitutional order conservatives are supposed to conserve, it forever puts the right in a bidding war with the left about what government can and should do. Conservatives will lose that fight -- and possibly their souls in the process.
What's the alternative? Well, if the game is rigged against you, continuing to play the game is the very definition of idiocy. You have to change the rules.
My own view is that conservatives should recommit themselves to federalism and states' rights. The Party of Lincoln should protect core civil rights, but beyond that, states and localities should be given as much freedom as they can handle. If California wants to become Sweden with better weather, let it. If Texas wants to become Singapore on the Rio Grande, great, go for it. And the same principle goes for cities and towns within those states.
Of course, conservatives already say they believe in federalism, but they rarely demonstrate it save when convenient. Which brings me back to the question of fidelity to principle. In principle, Republicans should look at the monumental clutter in Washington like a boat with too much ballast to stay afloat: When in doubt, throw it overboard.
In practice, Republicans should be more strategic and discriminating. That means taking positions that are right on policy, but also, when possible, highlighting issues that run counter to the (unfair) caricature of Republicans as prudish moneybags. Personally, I'd start with federal marijuana laws. The tide has turned on pot, and states are going to keep legalizing it. Why should Washington stand in their way? The beauty of federalism is that you don't have to condone legalization in one state or prohibition in another. It's just not Washington's fight.
This can't happen overnight, but the system didn't get rigged overnight either.
That's their problem.
Exactly. Our nation does not need a 2nd Democratic party.
This would have been the winning formula this year. Base the election on DC growing while the rest of the US declined. Use the lawsuits in state after state, the boeing overreach. Use the governors success in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin to recover with conservative solutions. Contrast California and other states and say Obama is going to turn us into California.
I got a good laugh at the use of “Party of Lincoln” and “Federalism” in the same paragraph.
Lincoln destroyed the 10th Amendment.
Individual sovereignty passed with the 16th. It will not return either.
It's difficult for us to imagine how much headway Progressives had already made a hundred years ago. Those two amendments showed the extent of what had been forgotten in only 125 years since the Framers sat down to design a more perfect union.
Jonah Goldberg giving Conservatives “pointers” is akin to Vidkun Quisling giving Norwegians tips on how to stop the Nazis
Lincoln has his share of the blame, but it began long before his reign turned the Republic into a democracy.
It began in the USSC finding in Prigg v. Pennsylvania [41 U.S. 539 (1842)], which destroyed the concept of "stare decisis" buy going directly against a previous USSC APPEALS court finding which set the legal precedent of the Constitutionality of the fugitive slave act. [See- Jack v. Martin , 1835]
The Founders carefully placed the 'persons of labor' clause NOT under the powers of Congress, but under Article IV - The States. What did the Priggs decision say about this?
Nor does it matter that the rule to which I have adverted as being exclusive of the right of the States to legislate upon the provision does not appear in it. It is exactly to such cases that the rule applies, and it must be so applied unless the contrary has been expressly provided.
Saying an authority can operate 'unless the contrary has been expressly provided' turn the entire purpose of enumeration on it's head. Instead of proper 10th Amendment operation - those powers not included are therefore EXCLUDED, we get -
If it doesn't say we can't.....then we CAN!
Americans don't want another democratic party, and the GOPe doesn't care, because they know we have no where else to go...
Once they coined “For The Greater Good” to fool the public, it is a foregone conclusion.
Absolutely. That was the end of the Founders’ republic.
I heartily agree with it, but the problem is that power is the mother’s milk of politics and asking national party leaders in Washington to voluntarily cede power is a nonstarter. It should definitley be the position of the grass roots and the Tea Party though.
We used to have people like Ann Coulter who would bring up Obama’s systematic sexual molestation and harassment of women at the airport to fight against his claim of being the caidates for women.
Ann has gone brain dead and we need some new conservative spokes people. Rinos like the “security” fascism. Conservatives are for the constitution, decency and respect.
Libertarians are pro-abortion and fully for the homosexual agenda, yet he thinks that they are not of the left, and anti-conservative?
I'm starting to think that conservatism is finished, and that now, two democrat parties will run against each other, based on taxes and money issues.
Is the future of presidential elections going to be Romneys and Obamas now?
You follow the exact same attack methodology as the Left. Label someone, attack the label, and create false notions of the label no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. Pathetic.
Our goal now maybe should be to take this golden knowledge and either find a place with such a population, or make such a place. Forcing it on a gaggle of Hedonists is simply annoying the Hedonists, and frustrating and confounding us. Just sayin'.
That is absolutely a fact, they fight for it, it is a part of their platform that names their agenda.
Don't get into the lying game brother.