Skip to comments.Tea Party Wasting Energy Hunting an Extinct Species
Posted on 10/18/2013 7:23:58 AM PDT by Kaslin
"We've got to get the Rockefeller Republicans out of the party," a fellow told me in Minnesota recently. Or was it Arizona? Or Wilkes-Barre, Pa.? Actually, I think it was all three. I hear it all the time as I travel around the country speaking to conservative groups.
For those of you who don't know, the Rockefeller Republicans -- named after the former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller -- were the liberal, mostly Northeastern wing of the Republican Party.
Liberal Republican sounds like a contradiction in terms today, particularly for young people who grew up in the age of strictly ideological parties. But for most of American history, the parties weren't strongly ideological institutions so much as coalitions of interests. There were very liberal Republicans and very conservative Democrats. Occasionally parties were defined -- or indeed created -- over single issues (the GOP was created to fight slavery, for instance), but the idea that you can guess someone is a conservative or liberal just by their party ID is a fairly recently development.
The Rockefeller Republicans were authentic liberals well to the left of Richard Nixon, who would today be considered to be left of the GOP on most issues. They liked the New Deal, or at least grew to like it. Rockefeller Republicans believed in fiscal rectitude, but only to the point where they thought the party should be, in Newt Gingrich's cutting description, "tax collectors for the welfare state." Abortion didn't become a big issue until after they were already in decline, but they were unabashedly pro-choice. In fact, the Rockefellers were among the earliest and most ardent supporters of population control and eugenics.
And guess what? The Rockefeller Republicans are basically extinct, at least among GOP officeholders. Sure, there are a handful of descendants with some Rockefellerian DNA hiding in the woods of New York, Maine and Pennsylvania. But even they are on the endangered species list.
And yet, there's this idea that they control the party. Even Pat Buchanan, who knows this history better than most, recently wrote that the current battle between the GOP establishment and the forces allied with Ted Cruz is essentially a replay of the old fight between Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller.
There are certainly some similarities -- there are familiar contours to every battle for control of a party. But the differences are far more relevant and profound. Pick any three defining issues of conservatism -- say, smaller government, low taxes and opposition to abortion, or a strong national defense, entitlement reform and gun rights -- and you'll be hard-pressed to find the supposedly liberal Republican "establishment" on one side and the Tea Party faithful on the other.
Even on the policies that are splitting Republicans these days -- say, foreign policy or immigration -- the rift does not neatly divide the establishment and the "real conservatives."
Such a statement will no doubt infuriate many conservatives who believe that the establishment is insufficiently committed to conservative principles. And that is an entirely fair complaint. But that criticism is about efficacy and passion, not policy or philosophy. And this is a hugely important distinction that has been deliberately airbrushed out of the picture painted by groups like Heritage Action and FreedomWorks. The inconvenient truth for these groups is that the current GOP establishment is more conservative than it has ever been.
In the recent internecine conservative donnybrook over the government shutdown, the insurgents insisted they were in an ideological struggle with the establishment. But there was precious little ideology involved. Instead, it was a fight over tactics and power. The Republican Party almost unanimously opposed Obamacare, and the Republicans who've been in office far longer than Cruz & Co. have voted more than three dozen times to get rid of the disastrous program. And yet, the latecomers to the battle talk as if the veterans in the trenches were collaborators the whole time.
I have enormous sympathy for their frustration, because I share it.
But the real source of that frustration is not the insufficient conservatism of the establishment; it's the insufficient power and popularity of conservatism coupled with the very real failures of the GOP to reverse conservatism's fortunes over the last two decades.
That's certainly reason enough to be mad at the establishment. But replacing the current leadership with even more ardent, passionate and uncompromising conservatives is far from a guaranteed formula for making the Republican Party more popular or powerful. To do that, the GOP needs to persuade voters to become a little more conservative, not to hector already-conservative politicians to become even more pure as they go snipe-hunting for the Rockefeller Republicans.
A link to share with everyone:
“And guess what? The Rockefeller Republicans are basically extinct, at least among GOP officeholders.”
Yes, they’ve been largely replaced by corporatists. They like to sell the rope that will eventually hang them. There still are some though. Especially with social issues.
Ben Franklin warned that if we don’t hang together we’ll surely hang separately.
John McCain and friends saw a business opportunity, started measuring necks and investing in rope.
Jonah is right about one thing. The Rockefeller Republicans are long gone. They were replaced by the ObamaRepublicans.
and I do think it is one word.
My congressman is strong on all of them. He’s quiet and doesn’t make much noise but he tends to do the right thing.
I'll take this as confirmation that I did the right thing letting my subscription to National Review expire.
Johan = Jonah
What is jonah blathering about?
It’s a lot of words.
Something about republicans needing to convince voters to become more conservative
The republican establishment has shown themselves to be who they are- bought and paid for. Does he pretend McConnell is going to get anything done?
The only thing that can be done is to keep the train from wrecking, and the GOP tries to destroy the protector
I will have absolutely no problem remembering those who bloviate in defense of the obstructers. Of course they are worse than liberals. They are Trojan horses
The devil would love you to believe he doesn’t exist either.
Remember Reagan used to talk about the Republican party having a “big tent”?
I would suggest that, there is a need for a big tent so that conservative Republicans can get enough support to win elections.
I’m also concerned that we’re seeing more and more identity politics, what with increasing numbers of ethnic minorities. The liberals have lambasted the GOP as a party of older whites. And suggest that any minority should find their political home in the Democrat party because the GOP is somehow racist and bigoted. We have to fight these stereotypes.
Off the top of my head, I can think of numerous minority and minority women Republicans:
Brian Sandoval, governor of Nevada
Mia Love, past and maybe future congressional candidate from Utah
Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico
Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina
Tim Scott, Senator from South Carolina
Alan West, former congressman from Florida
Marco Rubio, Senator from Floria
Ted Cruz, Senator from Texas
All of these are prominent members of minority groups and are Republicans. Yet somehow the GOP is racist, per the media and the liberals. Part of a big tent for the GOP has to include getting more minority voters in this America in which white voters are a declining proportion of voters.
We have to stress to minority voters that GOP issues such as taxation, smaller government, etc. are issues in which the GOP reflects their values.
This is horse blank, in my opinion, the idea that if you are some minority group, you need to vote Democrat because Democrats will protect government programs and protect you from the evil GOP.
Look into my eyes. You’re getting sleepy. Your eyelids are feeling heavy....
No Jonah, they've just learned that if they want to keep their power and cushy jobs that they have to campaign as Reagan conservatives before they go on to govern as Rockefeller Republicans. Like chameleons they change their colors at will to survive in whatever environment they find themselves.
Is he trying to say that John McCain and Mitt Romney are conservatives? Sorry, I am not buying it. I used to have a lot of respect for Goldberg, but not anymore.
Complete, utter and bald-faced BS. The votes to 'get rid' of Obamacide were votes that Republican leadership knew would never, ever see the light of day in the Senate. They were safe political votes, simple gamesmanship intended to show the folks back home that yeah, the Republicans really are standing up to Dear Leader.
Only, they weren't. The time to actually get rid of Obamacide just passed and when the Republican Party had a chance to stand up on its hind legs and actually take a stand that meant something, they folded like a house of cards.
When the chips were down, the establishment Republicans that Goldberg is trying so hard to suck up to had retreated once again. Leaving the base left holding the bag -- once again.
Conservatives are not fooled. It's now open war.
I was educated in Germany and no where in our religion studies that we had in school did it refer to Jonah as Johan, Neither in the bible nor in the catechism. Johan or Johannes actually means John
Grrrrrrrr....why you I oughta.....
Overthinking - he spelled Jonah wrong and was correcting it.
Thanks for that link!
It’s time to start “demonizing” America’s WORST President ever...
What is Goldberg talking about?
I seldom hear reference made to Rockefeller republicans. I hear reference made to RINO republicans, moderate republicans, unprincipled republicans, sell-out republicans and so on.
Rockefeller republicans? Extinct? Yeah, maybe. Who cares?
The RINO republicans are in effect democrats, they vote with democrats, follow democrats, ‘reach across the aisle’ more frequently than taking bathroom breaks.
We have got to get rid of the democrats who have infiltrated our republican party and who masquerade as republicans, the RINOS.
Are RINOS extinct? Hardly. So what is Goldberg going on about?
You don’t understand.
Every one of those people you mentioned are insane, and race traitors. Just ask anyone in the non-Fox mainstream media about this.
The examples of them, or anything they say, simply isn’t legitimate, and can be ignored out of hand.
Such is the world we allowed to be created.
And what did these so called conservatives do when they were a majority in the house, a majority in the senate and held the White House/ Tell me about the debt reduction and the spending cuts, tell me about what they did to shrink the government.....it’s a really small list....matter of fact it’s zero!!!! We need to primary them if possible. Be prepared for the Liza Murkowski shuffle!!!
Jonah Gender: Boy; Origin: Hebrew; Meaning: dove
John Fender: Boy; Origin Hebrew; Meaning: "God is gracious".
It's hard not to get passionate when you see the country going into the toilet.
It hard not to get frustrated when "our" leaders keep ceding ideological ground to the Marxists behind closed doors.
He misspelled the damn word. And then corrected himself. What do you want?
I think the Johan was a mistake.
Wrong Jonah! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! The frustration comes from the fact that most of the GOP in DC care more for their personal power, perks and priveliges than they care for this country. They always talk a good game at election time and on the Sunday shows when there's nothing on the line but as soon as push comes to shove they turn tail and run to the left!
We're also sick of the so called conservative press who don't mind flooding my email inbox and my mailbox with non stop pleas for my money so that they can continue 'our' fight. Ha! What a joke. Don't think we didn't notice who's side you were on Jonah when Ted Cruz needed the conservative press on his side in his fight against obamacare. The same press who for the last three years has been calling for the end of obamacare attacked the first real man who took any concrete action at all. And you were right there up front Jonah! That's why we're frustrated! As for me I'm not frustrated. I'm effin pissed off and can't wait to turn my guns on phony conservatives next year!
Yes, “Rockefeller Republican” is a epithet from yesteryear.
But Goldberg knows full well what is meant by the term today: an establishment, statist, “me too” Republican who is always more than happy to “reach across the aisle” whenever it means stabbing the conservative base of the party in the back and giving the Democrats and the MSM everything they want.
The kind of Republican Jonah Goldberg is, in fact.
No, Jonah Goldberg, the liberal Rockefeller Republicans are still around. They are the face of the national GOP establishment statists/socialists/Marxists that collude with the Donkey Party statists/socialists/Marxists. We call them RINOs because they are indistinguishable from Donkeys. The RINOs and Donkeys are a one party cabal that seeks to rule over America.
Note to Mr Goldberg.
A Republican can campaign as a Conservative, and even talk like a Conservative when in office, but, whether or not they really are a Conservative is determined by what they do, what they will fight for, what they WILL NOT COMPROMISE ON and what they don’t do. If they act like a “northeastern esatablishment Republican” then all else they do is irrelevant to whether or not they are a Conservative - they’r not.
For instance, the establishment Republicans (and one of their new friends) want to deliver the Democrats promises for amnesty just to say they are “bipartisan” as if the business of Conservatives is to “do something” and not, based on our principles, preventing from being done that which should not be done.
Goidberg is wrong in failing to understand (or admit) how some in the GOP get to Washtington and fall madly in love with being part of the establishment, in love with the power, in love with passing laws for the sake of passing laws - as if passing laws, even bad laws, is what they are SUPPOSED TO DO, and G-d forbid they stand on the principles of the Conservatives who voted for them and act to STOP laws from coming into force that should not come into force.
Goldberg is wrong. Conservatives don’t need to conspire with the Democarts to help make the growth and expansion of federal power “work better”. They need to reverse that course, downsize Washington D.C., return masses of decision making and masses of dollars annually back to the states and the people.
The GOP leaderrs should not be there to go along and get along. If that obstructs the Democrats and gets nothing else done, it is alone an achievement worthy of the effort. Until the GOP leasers start fighting like the Dims do - no compromise - they will never do the job they were elected to do. They will never be a true opposition party. They will always be a “well O.K.” party that gets NOTHING that those who vote for them want done.
They "folded" in the same sense that the Japanese "folded" at the end of WW2 when, entirely defeated, they acknowledged their defeat rather than having their country destroyed.
They "folded" in the same sense that, at the end of a football game, the losing team walks off the field, rather than stomping their feet and insisting that the game continue until there is a different outcome.
What does "not folded" look like, in this definition? I'm reminded of this scene from the movie "Trading Places":
“But the real source of that frustration is not the insufficient conservatism of the establishment; it’s the insufficient power and popularity of conservatism coupled with the very real failures of the GOP to reverse conservatism’s fortunes over the last two decades.”
I can easily concede that we haven’t the numbers anymore - the twentieth century was an ideological catastrophe simply because every movement except conservatism was judged superior - all of the worthless and dangerous ism’s arrayed against the truth of limited government and the solidarity of a unifying American ideal. Even the greatest generation had the Democrats under FDR and a lazy intellectual class to despoil our heritage, poisoning liberty at its roots. To concede is more of the same intellectual laziness.
That he is. I’ve been poking his rino tail on twitter for weeks. He is an annoying arrogant little pos.
His snarky comments about Cruz and Lee, reveal where his loyalties are.
Tell this little twerp to come out of the closet already.
You can paste the comments from RINO’s and Democrats without attribution and see if anyone can tell the difference.
Another Vichy Republican heard from.
That is the damn truth!
So disgusted with all this chatter, they live in a freakin bubble!
They’re far from extinct, unfortunately.
National Review has been taken over by the homosexists...
He already has, he supports marriages of his kind...
Consider the perilous times, then substitute the words “patriots” and “Tories” and see how it reads.
Not THAT closet! He parades as a conservative and spends his time snarking at real conservatives. He is an annoying little sh**
I’m thinking “the lady doth protest too much.”
You really should get out more, Jonah. I'm serious. DRIVE cross-country instead of flying. Talk to people who live somewhere between the East & West coasts. Conservatism is alive and well out here, everywhere except on the two coasts and between your ears.
Just shut up and scroll up to #14.