Skip to comments.Conservatives, Republicans and Self-Inflicted Wounds
Posted on 03/10/2013 5:51:44 AM PDT by Kaslin
Circular firing squads are about as helpful as they sound, yet they are something at which some Republicans excel. I do my best to avoid engaging in them. To paraphrase President Reagan, my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy. But sometimes my 80 percent friends do something 100 percent stupid, and pretending they didnt could cause more damage than calling them out on it.
Consider Sen. John McCain. Few have honed their circular firing squad skills to the level of the senior Senator from Arizona. McCain fancies himself a lot of things a conservative, a leader, a maverick. But mostly hes an insecure egomaniac more interested in Sunday show bookings and favorable media coverage than adhering to principles.
On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., engaged in an epic 12-plus-hour filibuster to demand an answer on domestic drone use against American citizens while a dozen Republicans, including McCain, dined and played footsie with President Obama. When the filibuster ended, Sen. Paul got from the administration something few Republicans or even journalists have been able to an answer.
Through his actions, Paul not only got the Obama administration to commit something to paper they were reluctant if not unwilling to admit, he also reinvigorated the grassroots and engaged people in a way the party hasnt been able to do with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on campaigns. He got disinterested young people to pay attention, to question a president that largely hasnt, if even for half a day.
For this, Sen. Paul was rightly praised by people across the political spectrum.
But this wasnt good enough for Sen. McCain, who is not known to enjoy sharing the spotlight.
The next day, with the political world still abuzz from Pauls actions, McCain couldnt help but criticize him.
McCain, a man who could be counted on to routinely attack the Bush administration as guilty of torture for pouring water up the nose of three, count them THREE, of the worlds most despicable terrorists, thought Paul ill-informed to think any president ever would use armed drones against Americans on U.S. soil. To think the worst of a president in one case and assume the best of another, and all future others, in another case is intellectually inconsistent, to put it mildly.
But McCain was not alone in his hypocrisy, as he rarely is. His mini-me, presidential dining partner and devout clone in all things critical of his own party, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was right there with him. The next two days saw Sens. Mutt and Jeff avail themselves of every possible opportunity to try to devalue what Sen. Paul accomplished.
They failed, and lowered their stature in all eyes but that of the media, which was their target audience in the first place. So while they attempt to undo smart gains made by a man working from principle, these two will warm themselves in the glow of camera lights. If its good for McCain and Graham, its bad for conservatism. But at least we have a fresh reminder of their self-interest-driven personalities and a stark contrast and an actual leader in Sen. Paul. All in all, its a fair trade.
The Conservative Political Action Conference gets under way again this week in Washington. But why?
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wondered this week what purpose CPAC serves anymore, and I can help but join him.
CPAC was once a must-attend event for conservatives, a venue where new ideas and leaders emerged. Today its a showcase of irrelevancy.
Yes, emerging party leaders are slated to speak, but the panels promise to be lame rehashes. Aside from marquee speakers, many of whom have spoken in the past, theres very little to excite the grassroots or attract new, young participants, and even less to include them. Ive been attending CPAC for 10 years, and if they simply replayed speeches and events from my first one this year, Id be hard-pressed to notice the difference.
This sameness ignores the reality of the dynamic nature of the conservative movement.
Im no policy fan of much of what Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., has done, but to deny his success is, quite simply, stupid. What he can teach activist and politicians alike is his plain-spoken communication skills, something our side lacks like the moon lacks oxygen. Think what you will of Christie, but he knows how to handle the media, something conservatives desperately need. But the CPAC board would have none of it.
Theyd also have none of GOProud, the fiscally conservative gay group. Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder and executive director of the group (and a good guy and friend) is participating on a panel put on by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, but GOProud isnt allowed to sponsor or have a booth. Why? Because it supports gay marriage. I dont because I dont support the redefinition of words based on political correctness, but I support GOProuds right to and welcome its support. Votes, by the way, we need if we are to stand any chance of righting our fiscal ship before we hit the coming Greece-berg were speeding towards.
But the CPAC board doesnt want those votes or that money. I, for one, didnt realize we were flush with both to the point we could cast off some without concern, but then Im just going by the 2012 election results.
That a group of people who agree with the CPAC board 99 percent of the time would be excluded over an issue the federal government should have no role in is absurd. Inclusion of GOProud, which has happened in the past, is not an embrace of the areas where there are disagreements; its an embrace of the areas where there is agreement. If people arent interested in the support and votes of a group because they are bothered by what they do with their genitals, they have too much time on their hands and need a hobby.
They also need a brain.
The only time CPAC has made the news this year is through the stupidity of its actions. Headlines about refusing to invite Gov. Christie and excluding GOProud, but inviting progressive MSNBC host Chris Hayes (who garnered more headlines by rejecting it over GOProuds exclusion) and Donald Trump (a great businessman but more of a self-promoter than noted conservative) exposes the CPAC board as an organization in need of some new blood.
Im happy to wage the battle between the various factions within the conservative movement, but not until we vanquish liberalism. We, and the cause of liberty, would be much better served showcasing that which unites us than that which divides us. Continually reloading our opponents quiver with arrows is folly. Unfortunately its also something at which we excel.
A fact of life is: When republicans engage in acts of torture it is wrong. When democrats engage in acts of torture is is OK. Got it?
Gay voters will follow the money. Our traditionalists do not vote for Republicans if they perceive that the party, or a major part of the party, has gay leadership. With the traditionalists making up the majority of the party's supporters, and also making up most of the various Conservative coalition partners, there would seem to be no reason whatsoever to bring Christie or the gay crowd onto the stage for a round of applause.
You are so right with that. The problem is that our side is so divided that we do not have a chance.
The only way we can win is when we are united. This is something I have been preaching for several years, but no one wants to listen :(
I suspect that Mutt & Jeff were getting ready to announce some great compromise/surrender with Obama when Paul stole the spotlight.
This is quite an accomplishment...to be so right and so wrong simultaneously.
What has been missing since George Bush last ran is a major Republican voter registration drive.
I gather the fear was the leftwingtards thought we'd get all these new Conservatives registered and vote down their boy in the primaries, so it didn't happen.
The new registrations have to be gotten in the Spring during the primaries when there's a lot of public interest in politics or you just don't get them. Screwing around with the primary like the Mittbots did in Virginia makes it look like the Democrats have taken over anyway and that tends to discourage voters.
Teach the people there's no sense showing up for a primary and they'll not show up for the general election either ~
I like that quote from Reagan about the 80% friend not being my 20% enemy. It succinctly describes our problem.
We need to get over judging who is 100% "true conservative" and who is just a "RINO". Ever since the wordsmiths at democratic troll central introduced these concepts, we have been at war with ourselves.
Conservatism is a process of evolution and some people never get to the 100% mark. It's no reason to exclude them.
No, no, no. Didn’t mean muawiyah’s post. Meant the article.
Right on mccain and graham, VERY wrong on the rest. In fact, mccain and graham are prime examples of what you get when the second half of his article comes to pass.
I certainly agree with you The only way we can win is United.
My only problem is uniting behind a POS aint my bag.
Abe Lincoln himself had been a Whig ~ and a railroad lawyer to boot ~ and after the Civil War several more former Whigs were Presidents.
McCain and Lindsay know the young Turks are rising. In order to hang on to their perks and power, they would rather side with those on the opposite spectrum than give an inch to those who can (and will) make a difference.
We need to get over judging who is 100% “true conservative” and who is just a “RINO”. Ever since the wordsmiths at democratic troll central introduced these concepts, we have been at war with ourselves.
So, from a conservative perspective, where do we draw the line for withholding support from a potential Presidential candidate?
Which issue, combination of issues, or number of issues are you really willing to sacrifice for a win?
2. Gay Marriage?
4. Limited, constitutional Government?
If we strictly adhere to number four, all the rest will take care of themselves.
Which of those issues you listed do you think will be improved when you lose?
Are you saying that unless you can have it all, you don't want any of it?
I personally would settle for limiting the government to it's constitutionally mandated authority. That is the root of all the other excesses.
The marxist have been slowly deconstructing the constitution since the 1930's. One small piece at a time, one government agency at a time, one educational institution at a time, one newspaper at a time, until the control most of the levers of power. Their symbol is the turtle.
I agree with all of the items you listed and many more. I don't think we can achieve them all at the same time.
I have said on several thread that I have never criticized Lindsey Graham and John McCain, but this time they were both wrong. and if I were a citizen of South Carolina, or Arizona I would especially remember this in the next elections when either one runs for reelection. Graham btw is up in 2016 and McCain in 2018
So, from a conservative perspective, where do we draw the line for withholding support from a potential Presidential candidate? Which issue, combination of issues, or number of issues are you really willing to sacrifice for a win?
2. Gay Marriage?
4. Limited, constitutional Government?
There are some thoughtful posts here. Really, we need to bring the infighting to a screeching halt.
Unite or die. That should be one of the two fundamental principles of the Republican Party for the next four years.
The other is that we must become the Latino Party. Not the Amnesty Party. There's a difference. The Latino vote, and the Latino community, are not monolithic. We must be the party of LEGAL Latinos.
With a few exceptions (the ones who have family members who are here illegally and want to become citizens), legal Latinos aren't very happy about the idea of amnesty. When a Latino immigrant comes here and is willing to work for a lower wage, someone who's working for a higher wage usually gets displaced. And that person is usually a legal Latino. The legal Latinos see illegal immigration and amnesty as threats to their livelihood.
The problem here is that a handful of Republicans choose to discuss this issue in an extremely insensitive, almost racist way. Latinos have a very finely tuned radar for that and it turns them against us. In my opinion, when Romney said the word "self-deportation," he lost the election. The Democratic Party has thousands of operatives who speak Spanish fluently, and are telling Latinos that Republicans are racists. Remarks like "self-deportation" hand enormous amounts of free ammunition to those operatives.
Similarly insensitive and bona fide stupid remarks about rape and pregnancy by Akins and Mourdock cost us two Senate races that we should have won. Always remember that when a Republican candidate says something stupid and insensitive about women or minorities, that remark is going to be put on the air on MSNBC more often than Rachel Maddow's smirk, from that moment until the election.
I think we can afford to give one inch on abortion and amnesty. On abortion, allow exceptions for rape and incest. On amnesty, allow people to apply for citizenship if they have been here for at least 10 years, if they've never been convicted of a crime, and if they're working. Compromises like these aren't really compromises, because they'd still get rid of about 95% of all abortions and 80% of illegal immigrants. But they'd gain us enough votes to win instead of losing.
I would rather win than lose.
Find a banner, a cause based upon principles that people will hold up in the air, rally around, follow and fight for, and go from there.
Plenty of causes, but finding principles that enough can agree upon is the harder chore. That's always been the republican challenge, but a much more difficult one today for some reason.
Perhaps it's because they've let everyone else define them instead of doing it themselves and then just went with that. Now, they don't really stand for anything.
So the devil is now on the dance floor. Will you dance with the devil to ‘win’?
“Refining” a message doesn’t mean you give up your principles. The day you do that, you become the enemy within.
Who said anything about giving up our principles?
Dancing with the devil isn’t the same thing as sleeping with him. And during the dance, we stomp on his toes really hard, kick him in the shins a few times, and finish with a steel toed boot to the groin.
By giving one inch we’re still getting rid of 95% of all abortions, and 80% of all illegal aliens. Those would be enormous victories if we can unite and pull it off.
I’ve said this before: at the rate we’re going now, George W. Bush could be the last Republican president of your lifetime. But if we can get a few million legal Latinos and a few million women to come over to our side, Barack Obama could be the last Democratic president of your lifetime.
2. Gay Marriage?
4. Limited, constitutional Government?
You left out a couple of items where some compromise is being discussed. On the issues of (5) gun control and (6) bringing back sanity to the budget/deficit/national debt debate, I say NO COMPROMISE.
We don't need to wrap our arms around them ~ they need to learn from us and put away their silly superstitions and nonsense about los caudillos on white horses.
I"ve proposed a fix in the immigration system ~ a return to national origins. This time we give the Mexicans 90% of the legal quota for the next decade ~ but they've got to get rid of all the illegals here first ~ including illegal Mexicans.
At the end of that time we eliminate national origins ~ and do not reinstate family reunification ~ which amounts to the same thing.
America's single member district system necessarily forces us all into two major parties ~ else we'll never get the 50%+1 vote needed to win.
Jefferson was the first to observe this and you should take a look at the vote totals he got!
Then, as like clockwork, the disaffected and disaffiliated began to coalesce into the 'other party' and away we went ~ nip and tuck.
Jefferson's party created its own opposition with internecine battles.
Over time the communities of interest began to form and full bore coalition politics on something other than geographic distribution began.
That's where we've been since about 1850.
If you want strong parties with a single ideological and economic focus like they have in Europe you need to eliminate single member districts! Else, all coalition politics in America will continue to occur prior to elections and separate from the legislative bodies.
Do not imagine the apparent disarray in the Republican ranks is dangerous ~ that's just the way we do it.
A party is at best a loose collection of groups who can agree on, if not an ideology, then at least agree on enough to WIN THE ELECTION.
While everyone can agree that winning the election is a goal, it is not the goal of those individuals in those individual goals per se, merely the means to those individual goals.
Trouble is, there are so many competing goals each at odds with one another that you have no party, no banner and will win no elections, not until they raise something principled to rally around and fight for.
It's been done before and easily could be done again. On paper, the republicans should clean house in any election against an obama, especially after four years of his policies.
Like I said, there is no shortage of issues and problems, just agreed upon principles. Regan found them, stayed on message and won two landslides, so it can be done.
True but Reagan did not export the jobs of the working man. He won with Reagan democrats.
George W. Bush got over 40% of the Latino vote in 2004 and if you think he was advocating socialism, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy.
We cannot get a lock on the rest for a wide variety of reasons, most of them having to do with economic outlook. They are socialists at heart and whatever it is you are using to pander, it's gotta' be something they really want or like.
I don't know if mine was an originalthought, but my modelworks.
Goldwater, one of a handful of good political theoreticians in the last couple of centuries also convinced Johnson of his view so instead of LBJ going to the middle for voters, he lurched all the way over into Republican territory and picked up a faction, to wit, the 25% of the black vote Democrats hadn't gotten during the Depression ~ kept it too! He realized that you didn't need to go after broad masses with ideology, just specific factions with policy decisions.
Nixon took that to heart and did the same ~ he went after a major Democrat bulwark ~ white male Democrats in Southern states ~ and brought them permanently into the Republican party.
Ronald Reagan did just about the same with church going Roman Catholics!
Obama didn't quite do that, but the Democrat party pushed big time for voter registration ~ risking violating the law wholesale ~ and got enough new legitimately registered voters to beat McCain like an old rug!
No factions moved!
Currently we have an unemployed 'faction' that's up for grabs. Mitt ignored them ~ he lost. Obama also ignored them ~ he lost several million voters. The Democrats saw that. What are we doing about it? This is a core FDR constituency and it's ours to grab with nothing more than a promise of employment!
In the political spectrum, there are two poles of thought, if you will, each more or less represented today by our two parties.
The intensity of belief vs the number of membership of each can be represented by the Bell curve, with the peak middle of each curve representing the majority of members and either end the respective curves representing min/max extremes of that party.
At some point you're so far right as a demonrat that you're a republican and at some point you're so far left in your thinking as a republican you're a demonrat. Most of us live in this middle ground and self-identify with one or the other, accurately or not.
Combining those two bell curves for the parties should create the bigger picture Bell curve of our entire political spectrum, and the middle in between the two poles is the political battle ground each election. (I think you see this combined graph as a bi-modal saddle shape instead of a bell curve?)
For a host of reasons, that entire bell curve (or bi-modal saddle) depicting the spectrum of political thought seems to move in whole like a pendulum, slowly swinging between the two political poles.
Sometimes we as a society are more liberal, sometimes we're more conservative, but the overall bell curve stays the same.
That's why Reagan could always be Reagan, but honestly start as a democrat, say that he didn't leave the party, the party left him, and be elected as a Republican and pull the pendulum's swing. That concept seems supported by life and history, whatever the shape of the graph might actually be.
Those who best map and census that middle ground's issues and frames them in a relevant way wins elections, regardless of the overall spectrum's swing to one pole or the other.
I also think that, if done well, like with Reagan did on one pole or like obama has done on the other, one can move the entire spectrum as a whole and swing the pendulum to the polarity of your choice. Those people change society.
One changes society either by being a beacon and drawing those to you and lighting the way or by being a stirring stick, churning things up, muddying the waters and taking advantage of the chaos.
Luke warm just won't cut it.
There you could have something like MEDICAL INDUSTRY with every player understanding what every issue is about, but also recognizing that some policies will benefit them more than others.
That might lead dentists to be Republicans and Internists to be Democrats, with Nurses tending toward a more even split depending on whether or not they needed union affiliation to work in a particular state. Manufacturers would be a secondary faction ~ depending on the others, in general, but more targeted to one party or the other depending in expressed preferences for one type of technology versus another (after all, if it's a regulated industry and you make a device that's not prefferred, you are dead in the water).
This leaves a hinterland around each mode which is best described as a thin fringe! Shooting for that 'middle' yields no votes. You must identify a broad faction, and find policies that appeal to the greater numbers within a faction.
Then, you get them registered to vote and get them to the polls and they vote for you rather than the other guy.
Campaigns should classically focus on why your guy is good and their guy is evil.
McCain and Romney both lost on the same issue ~ and said what a great guy Obamagoober was ~ GAD!!!
On that, we have total agreement. McCain and Romney both struck out on that same T-ball pitch. I think that's the technique they teach in the GOPe spring training camp.
Graham in 2014; McPain, in 2016
You don't have to, but you do have to wordsmith the message properly.
For example, the mantra for years has been that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. We can talk about the "rare" part without getting into trouble if prefaced with the notion that it should be "safe, legal, and rare". Its the opposition's phrase. They can be held to it.
Everything else can be handled in a similar manner. It took a ratchet effect of slow, small, and steady changes to get us to where we are now.
It will take a ratchet effect of slow, small, and steady changes to get us to where we want to be.
One of the major problems WE have is that we want it all, right now, immediately, on the table, and ready to eat.
That isn't reality. It took a long time to get here and it will take a long time to dig ourselves out.
How we do that, however, is up in the air.
There are no words; that will ever convince mass serial killers of babies, to change their nature. None.
You don't need to get them to change their nature. Leave that for the preachers. Your goal is different and requires a different action plan.
Your lack of understanding truth, just lost- the last election for President of the United States. At least you, are not alone. Congrats.
What you propose, is a not a good idea.
I understand the truth. Here’s the truth.
Republican candidates need to stop giving Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and the rest of the Democrats’ media whores perfect little sound bites of themselves sounding stupid, racist and misogynist.
How in the world, are sane folks, going to overcome the socialist fascist blather? How do we do it? High officed Republicans are fully complicit. How do we do it? I know you understand truth, it is simple. The hate you feel, is just frustration, at media. Learn some skills. Life sustaining skills. Quit watchin’ the tv, asap. You’ll do well. Heck, you already are on FreeRepublic.
Why not? I'm curious as to how using peoples' own rhetoric in reverse is not a good idea.
Okay. Stay curious.
Describes McQuig perfectly for the last 30 years. He's been stabbing conservatives in the back since he first walked into an office in DC. He's had it handed to him on a silver platter ever since.