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.***]
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.