Skip to comments.Time to Grow Up, GOP
Posted on 01/16/2013 6:42:50 AM PST by Kaslin
It's hard for a lot of people, particularly on the right, to recognize that the conservative movement's problems are mostly problems of success. The Republican Party's problems are much more recognizable as the problems of failure, including the failure to recognize the limits of that movement's success.
American conservatism began as a kind of intellectual hobbyist's group with little hope of changing the broader society. Albert Jay Nock, the cape-wearing libertarian intellectual -- he called himself a "philosophical anarchist" -- who inspired a very young William F. Buckley Jr., argued that political change was impossible because the masses were rubes, goons, fools or sheep, victims of the eternal tendency of the powerful to exploit the powerless.
Buckley, who rightly admired Nock for many things, rightly disagreed on this point. Buckley trusted the people more than the intellectuals. Moreover, as Buckley's friend Richard Weaver said, "ideas have consequences" and, consequently, it is possible to rally the public to your cause.
It took time. In an age when conservative books make millions, it's hard to imagine how difficult it once was to get a right-of-center book published. Henry L. Regnery, the founder of the publishing house that bears his name, started his venture to break the wall of groupthink censorship surrounding the publishing industry. With a few exceptions, Regnery was the only game in town for decades.
That's hardly the case anymore. While there's a higher bar for conservative authors at mainstream publishers (which remain overwhelmingly liberal), profit tends to trump ideology.
And publishing is a lagging indicator. In cable news, think tanks, talk radio and, of course, the Internet, conservatives have at least rough parity with, and often superiority to, liberals. It's only in the legacy institutions -- newspapers, the broadcast networks and most especially academia and Hollywood -- where conservatism is still largely frozen out. Nonetheless, conservatism is a mass-market enterprise these days, for good and for ill.
The good is obvious. The ill is less understood. For starters, the movement has an unhealthy share of hucksters eager to make money from stirring rage, paranoia and an ill-defined sense of betrayal with little concern for the real political success that can only come with persuading the unconverted.
A conservative journalist or activist can now make a decent living while never once bothering to persuade a liberal. Telling people only what they want to hear has become a vocation. Worse, it's possible to be a rank-and-file conservative without once being exposed to a good liberal argument. Many liberals lived in such an ideological cocoon for decades, which is one reason conservatives won so many arguments early on. Having the right emulate that echo chamber helps no one.
Ironically, the institution in which conservatives had their greatest success is the one most besieged by conservatives today: the Republican Party. To listen to many grassroots conservatives, the GOP establishment is a cabal of weak-kneed sellouts who regularly light votive candles to a poster of liberal Republican icon Nelson Rockefeller.
This is not only not true, it's a destructive myth. The Rockefeller Republicans were purged from the GOP decades ago. Their high-water mark was in 1960, when the Goldwater insurgency was temporarily crushed. Richard Nixon agreed to run on a platform all but dictated by Rockefeller and to tap Rockefeller's minion Henry Cabot Lodge as his running mate. When the forebears of today's tea partiers threatened to stay home or bolt the party in 1960, Sen. Barry Goldwater proclaimed, "Let's grow up, conservatives!"
It's still good advice. It's not that the GOP isn't conservative enough, it's that it isn't tactically smart or persuasive enough to move the rest of the nation in a more conservative direction. Moreover, thanks in part to the myth that all that stands between conservatives and total victory is a philosophically pure GOP, party leaders suffer from a debilitating lack of trust -- some of it well earned -- from the rank and file.
But politics is about persuasion, and a party consumed by the need to prove its purity to its base is going to have a very hard time proving anything else to the rest of the country.
Good axiom. No two people are going to agree on every single thing, since we're all different.
However, the core principles of conservatism shouldn't be up for debate within the party claiming to represent conservatism. Today's Republican Party can't even spell the word.
It's sad when the lines are so dumb they're rankable, isn't it?
It was those who decided to be purists, those who had this dumb Axelrodian fixation that Romney was as bad as the worst, most radical, most divisive, most anti-American, anti-capitalist, pro-Marxist, pro-Muzzie administration ever; they were the ones (the 2% idiots) that reelected Bambi by staying home, and they are the ones that will forever be to blame with each new weekly travesty the Kenyan performs to destroy America.
Do you like the new gun control laws this man is about to force on America by executive order? Look in the mirror..... Don't kid yourself, it was the idiot Axelrod driven purists that gave us what we have.
However, the core principles of conservatism shouldn’t be up for debate within the party claiming to represent conservatism. Today’s Republican Party can’t even spell the word.
The beltway GOPs near total silence on gun control is very telling. At this time they are only out for personal gain and to take care of campaign contributors. We The People and our constitutional rights are nothing to them. The GOP elites feel we are not worth fighting for apparently.
I'd far rather have gone down fighting to the bitter end with a Perry, BAchman, Cain, Santorum, or Gingrich (Palin?), than suffered through the embarrassment of that non-campaign by mittens the mild.
I get angry every time I think about that clown NOT engaging on Benghazi. There wasn't a thing in those damning investigative reports that wasn't known within about a week of Benghazi Burning.
Mr Timid apparently has been on a conflict deferment since the Vietnam era.
In other words, the GOP exists today to ensure the GOPs continued existance tomorrow. To that end they would gladly sell their souls. Or throw their conservative constituents under the bus.
We've gotten about as far as we can with politics and politicians.
I believe the GOP needs to be at least 85% conservative leaning as a whole which means we need a hell of a lot more 95% + individual conservatives.
Don't let all the defeats, surrenders and sell outs fool you.
Do you like the new gun control laws this man is about to force on America by executive order? Look in the mirror..... Don’t kid yourself, it was the idiot Axelrod driven purists that gave us what we have.
Why are you trying to fight the last battle? I voted for Romney. He lost. Get over it.
Romney, his pathetic GOTV plan or whoever stayed home does not give Boehner/McConnell and the rest of the beltway GOP a free get out of jail card. It is no longer good enough just be not a democrat. These GOP men and women were elected to represent us and provide credible opposition to Obama.
When I googled “Boehner” and “gun control” yesterday the hits I got were from LAST MONTH.
Do you find that acceptable?
Is it conservatives fault that these beltway guys have no stomach to do heavy lifting and fight for our constitutional rights?
The beltway GOP are failing miserably in every political skirmish and could not lead a troop of scouts. Stop blaming conservatives for their failures.
Fortunately for us a hard reset within the next decade is likely. Unfortunately whatever it is it will bring suffering like no living American has ever experienced. But it is what we have asked for by elevating spoiled children to rule over us.
Hi, there, Sooner!
We have been so badly burned by the GOPE, and we have discover American voters can be bought by a sugar daddy, made into a majority electorate, that it is painful to entertain some intellectual posit that it is we conservatives, the base, who are conceivably cramping the style of the Republican brand with our rigidity.
I just don’t understand why the Constitution is barely give a hat tip, public schools are camps for Marxist curriculum, the tiny union behaves like thugs that they are, Hollywood despises Americans but loves America so much they want us to equally distribute poverty and opportunity. No one must excel on merit or in prosperity.
I can’t change on those counts, but apparently we’re going to anway, against my wishes. ;,/
It was when Newt was ascending, and looked like the nominee. The group assembled was from all wings of the right, each one had their pet candidate, and was shilling for them.
He looked at everyone there (this was waaaaay before Romney won, no way anyone thought he would win back then), and said to work like Hell for the candidate you want now, but whoever wins, whoever wins, you have to coalesce around that candidate because: If you don't, you will be responsible for allowing the most monstrous, anti-everything you claim to love administration ever to have another term effectively destroying America.
I understood immediately that he was right. I was for Newt (after Palin didn't run), and would have accepted heartily the ones you mention, even though I didn't think they were as good as Newt. Romney was barely my second to last choice behind Ron Paul.
Now that the 2% have gotten what they want, Breitbart was correct, they are responsible for each week's travesty the monster will do. Anyone who actually believed the Axelrodian invention that Romney was as bad as the Kenyan and stayed home or voted third party as a result, they're the ones at fault for each new disaster.
Sorry, it's simply true.
I agree, for conservatives, the GOP is a ruined brand.
Time for a new party.
Pointing out how the Axelrodian purists reelected the monster is hardly fighting the last battle........
Saying the 2% lost the election is the same as saying that Romney failed at reaching out to the 2%.
It is evident now that the numbers of voters were down across the board. It’s also evident that Romney maxed out on those who did go to vote. He did NOT get blacks, Hispanics, the “he doesn’t care about me” vote.
So, all his efforts to win liberals & moderates were to no avail. They figured, “Why vote for lite when you can have the real thing?”
In sum, Romney lost because he refused to reach out to conservatives. Instead he made stupid remarks about gay couples adopting, about health of the mother abortions, about bi-partisan gun legislation being the kind he likes. He refused to engage over Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and the Arab Spring.
He lost enough conservatives in doing so that suggests he could have won if he’d simply backtracked and reached out.
Given Romney’s past comments on guns, I’ve no doubt he’d be leading the charge at Sandy Hook to ban guns. It’s just the kind of squish that he was.
Key thinking there, for sure! We shall unlock no doors but with a single key! Not five.
Without a drop dead date ESTABLISHED in ADVANCE for coalescing, we cannibalize our candidates ourselves.
This, Chaplain. Well said.
And you know, in the final analysis, it wouldn't really have mattered to me in which order those names you listed might have appeared. I was never a Gingrich fan during the primaries (and am even less so now) but had he prevailed he'd have been a much better option.
The wagon-circling by the establishment (and yes, Jonah, you are part of the Republican Establishment) is telling.
Yep. Demographics is destiny.