March 6th, 2013

A conservative house divided

I’ve written about this topic before, and will probably do so again. I’m writing about it today because this piece by DrewM at Ace’s really resonated with me:

The internecine fighting we see today on the right isn’t simply on how we should react to what Jim [Geraghty] describes as “swarms of voters who believe that government – the very same government who had disappointed them and failed them time and again – will solve their problems.” Our problem is we don’t trust each other as conservatives. It’s the “grassroots” vs. “establishment” fight were seeing and it predates “fiscal cliffs” and sequestration.

The Gingrich Revolution of 1994 eventually became the Hastert-Bush conservative malaise. Yes, the War on Terror dominated the Bush presidency but from No Child Left Behind to Medicare Part D and across the board spending hikes, many conservative felt betrayed. You can even argue it goes further back than that. The Reagan Revolutionizes saw their hard work to move the GOP to the right rewarded with…George H.W. Bush.

One reason so many on the right are unwilling to allow the governing part of the GOP/conservative coalition any room for strategic retreats is we’ve simply seen that when you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.

Conservatives hear how the GOP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the far, far right, we look at H.W. Bush, Dole, W. Bush, McCain, Romney (along with Lott, Frist, McConnell, Hastert and Boehner) and say, “if only!”.

You can say, well they were elected and nominated by Republicans (including conservatives) and you’d be right. That’s the problem. Most conservatives don’t trust other conservatives or Republicans let alone moderates or liberals.

Until we find a solution to the fractured nature of the center-right coalition (beyond “we hate Obama”), the Obamabots are a secondary problem.

I say, “Hear, hear!” I would merely add that it goes back even further, certainly to Goldwater vs. Rockefeller—and probably even further than that as well; that’s just as far back as I remember.

Typically, posts on this topic here call forth a fusillade of angry responses to the effect of, “I’m not gonna fall for those effing RINO losers any more!” Well, I share the dilemma, actually. I can’t remember the last time a candidate ran for president whom I though was a good one—but I can tell you it was a long long time ago, and that goes for candidates on both sides. If I were construcing the candidate of my dreams at the Build-a-Candidate store, he/she would be conservative, articulate, personable, experienced, feisty, intelligent, wise, a natural leader, likeable—well, you get the idea. And perhaps even those qualities wouldn’t be enough to lead to victory, with the MSM and the left in lockstep, and critical thinking among the populace at such a low ebb.

Perhaps this is as good as good a time as any to try to respond to a tendency I’ve seen recently in the comments section here whenever the 2012 election is discussed, which is that a number of people seem to misremember what I wrote during the 2012 election campaign. The tendency is to recall, wrongly, that I was optimistic about Romney’s chances of winning. Now, a lot of bloggers and pundits were, but I most definitely was not one of them. From beginning to end, I saw him as the best candidate in an unusually weak field of declared candidates.

Perhaps the confusion arises because I most definitely did energetically support him, and strongly, for the above reason, and I also tried to convince my readers that he was more conservative (and a better person) than they had initially thought he was. I continue to stand by those assertions, and I think time has proven me right. He even was a better candidate than I had first thought; he just was not good enough, certainly not to meet what Obama was dishing out. Here’s something I wrote about that back in January of 2012, when the Republican primaries were hot and heavy:

My observation is that people vote at least 75% with their guts, on impressions they have of the candidates. Romney and Gingrich both are unfortunate in that regard, in almost entirely different ways. Romney is bland and goodlooking, and he doesn’t seem to have much fire in the belly or much conviction. Gingrich is quite different, but his personality is offputting to most people who are not already in his camp, and when I say “offputting” I mean it in the most forceful way possible. He repels people on a visceral level. At least, that’s my observation.

The only other president in my memory who won despite a personally repellent quality (although of a somewhat different type) was Nixon. Americans like to vote for people who seem likable. For neither Romney nor Gingrich is that a strong suit, but Gingrich is the more unlikable. Perhaps not to you or to many of the readers of this blog, to a lot of people.

There’s been a lot of post-election talk here about what needs to be done before 2016 in order to have even a chance for a resurgence of conservatism. I would wager we’ll discuss that further, ad nauseam. But one thing we cannot do is design a candidate to order; we have to deal with the ones we have who are willing to enter the fray.

I believe a conservative can win on a national level (although only one ever has so far since the 1930s: Ronald Reagan). But not just any conservative; he/she has to have a more universal human appeal in order to articulate the more-harsh-sounding conservative message (as compared to the “I am Santa Claus” liberal message) in a way that can be understood and supported by a majority of people.

I don’t have a solution for the problem, but I doubt that will happen if we remain so divided and bitter—exactly and precisely what the left wants.

[NOTE: Discussions like this also typically engender responses of the “but the Democrats won because they cheated!” variety. On looking at the evidence I have, I actually don’t think that’s what happened, for a number of reasons. But let’s not argue about that now, because the point I really want to make is that, whether I’m right about it or whether I’m wrong, other than passing more stringent laws about things like voter-ID (which I favor, but whose future seems to be threatened lately), there’s not much to be done about it except follow the old Hugh Hewitt adage, “If it’s not close, they can’t cheat.”]

21 Responses to “A conservative house divided”

  1. George Pal Says:

    “Until we find a solution to the fractured nature of the center-right coalition”

    The fracture is tectonic and will change things dramatically. The ‘center’ is not the center, at least not your father’s center nor is ‘normal’ the normal of my youth. Presently the ‘center’ would consent to voting for ‘gay marriage’ for example in, what was it – four, five states? Republican Inc. would have the Right move to that center for the purpose of electoral success – that’s not going to happen. It’s better each go their way separately. It’s better there be no ‘solutions’, or fixes, or compromises cobbled knob, twine, and knot into something nondescript but monstrous. The only solution is the organic solution. Let the fat and oil float to the top and skim it.

  2. southpaw Says:

    Neo – I’m not sure if you include me in the readers who you believe stayed home because Romney wasn’t conservative enough, but that is not the case. Anything would have been better than our current occupant.
    However, you shouldn’t fault those who debate the issue that we need to work with what we’ve got. That goes without saying once we’re stuck with him/her, but voicing concerns over the positions of a potential candidate who’s on record opposing core conservative values shouldn’t be considered anything more than healthy debate. If we cannot debate what our values are, what’s the point?
    It could be just my perspective, but it does seem that the established Republicans have done their best to dismiss the conservative positions because they believe those positions don’t have a broad enough appeal. Fair enough, but complaining that it’s not productive to even have the debates, and insisting that unity behind moderately or mildly consdervative candidates is essential to success, leads you back to the Doles, McCains, GHWB, etc. Which is arguably how we got here.
    I don’t have any answers; however as if on cue, Rick Moran delivers a clunker (my opinion) in PJ Media:
    While acknowledging Jeb Bush has alienated himself from conservatives because of his non-conservative views and open expression of them being unrealistic, Moran lays out the case that he’s electable, which I guess is supposed to enthuse voters. Here we go again.
    Virtually none of the things conservatives are interested are positions that Jeb holds, but he’s a Republican, ergo we support him or somebody like him, or lose again. Those are the only choices, end of debate.
    That is Moran’s position, but I for one resent being told if we aren’t all united to elect a guy who is tells us we’re a bunch of kooks, we are destructive to our own cause.
    The problem is we lose with a guy like Jeb Bush too. We might win the election, but he will not vote for or stand for 75% of the things that a Ronald Reagan would.
    What we will get is lots of baloney about immigration reform, and nothing about government spending, restructuring social security, foreign policy, etc; in other words, nothing about real problems that face US CITIZENS. The narrative the establishment seems to be focused on is based on demographics that win elections, with policy taking a distant back seat.
    Again, the strategy isn’t lost on us simpletons, but if they want to trot out rich, electable, culturally sensitive, moderate re-habs, they could at least offer up a vision of more than immigration reform as a reason we should vote for them. An expert on Cuban immigrants is not the answer to our fiscal problems, because in reality, if we have amnesty tomorrow, we will still be 16+ trillion in debt, will have no coherent energy policy, and no policy or plan to reduce the trajectory of or fiscal problems. Sorry for the tangent into Jeb Bush – but he seems to be a prototypical candidate for the current Republican mindset.

  3. Eric Says:

    Neo: “I don’t have a solution for the problem”

    Recommendations I’ve proposed in previous threads:

    Take inspiration from the recent victory of ROTC advocacy in the Ivy League. It can be done.

    Develop and push a competing popular Narrative, complete with context, history, good guys, and bad guys.

    ASAP, up the activism with a 24/7/365 grassroots populist movement that aggressively reaches out to demographics beyond comfort-zone in-groups. Flood pop culture and the media. Do the talking, don’t settle for being talked about. Spread the narrative and work to undermine the Left’s narrative. The 2016 election should harvest the fruit of that movement. If the whole planting-to-harvest process is limited to the election cycle, there won’t be enough fruit (voters) produced. The Tea Party should revive its grassroots populist insurgency.

    Target groups, reach out to them, and flip them. While the talking heads focus on flipping the hispanic vote, and they may ultimately be the difference, I believe the best ethnic demographic to start with are Asians. They’re the low hanging fruit. Generally, their concerns and values should align with the GOP and as recently as the Clinton era, Asians voted majority Republican. Yet in 1 generation, despite no substantial change in Asian concerns and values, the Republicans lost the Asian vote. I don’t blame Asians – I blame the GOP for somehow alienating them. If they learn how to bring Asians back in the fold, they’ll have a working model with which to reach out to other groups.

    Rehabilitate Bush’s legacy, less for his sake than for the sake of reprogramming the premise of popular perception for all Republicans across the spectrum, including conservatives and libertarians. There’s a reason that Democrats who prima facie should be criticizing Clinton based on his spotty, ideologically impure record from a Leftist perspective, lionize him, instead. It’s pragmatic: he who defines history controls the future. By the same token of partisan competition, the Left performed a calculated demonization of Bush. Republicans – including McCain in 08 and Romney in 12 – have committed the fatal error of accepting the demonization of Bush rather than vigorously countering it. The conceded stigma has opened the door on the blanket demonization of Republicans of all stripes.

    Obama gets away with as much as he does because he governs less on the basis of his merits than on vilifying the GOP and discrediting their alternative to him. He’s not held accountable.

    Start by rehabilitating Bush’s legacy, and the Republicans will have the basis to knock out the foundation of the Dems’ chief political weapon of the past decade, thrust a new accountability onto the Obama admin, and switch the GOP from a guilty defensive posture to the strategic moral high ground.

  4. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    The Republican Party could do worse than adopting some of the sayings of Lady Thatcher as a way to draw differences between themselves and the dems.

    “We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.” I think even low information voters might get the gist of that.

    “There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.” Some might say that just being born a citizen or, in the case of illegal immigrants, crossing the border entitles them to government benefits. But that argument can easily be countered with: “Pennies don’t fall from the Heavens, they have to be earned.” Republicans need to be indefatigable in trying to educate people about how wealth is created.

    “The Labour (democratic) Party believes in turning workers against owners; we believe in turning workers into owners.” This is the mantra to use to counter the populist anti-business, anti-wealth propaganda of the progressives. This was one of the revelations of my young adult years. I might just be an employee, but if I saved and invested, I could improve my lot in life. I think many still understand that, but more need to. The Dow Jones Industrials just hit a new record high. Unfortunately, many aren’t participating because they are in fear, with good reason, of a collapse caused by unprecedented government spending.

    “Communist regimes were not some unfortunate aberration, some historical deviation from a socialist ideal. They were the ultimate expression, unconstrained by democratic and electoral pressures, of what socialism is all about. … In short, the state [is] everything and the individual nothing.” There are so many examples of the failure of communism/socialism versus free markets – North Korea/ South Korea, East Germany/West Germany, Communist China/Taiwan,
    and the USSR versus the USA. The evidence is clear, but the Republicans must keep referring to it.

    “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money to spend”
    This is so self evident in the way things are going today, that it should be used everyday in every way to show the course the progressives have charted. Government has no money – it must come from the pockets of the citizens. Shout it from the roof tops.

    “When all the objectives of government include the achievement of equality – other than equality before the law – that government poses a threat to liberty.” There are so many examples of this today they should be pointed out daily by the Republicans. Over regulation, increasing taxes on the rich, increasing social welfare programs, removing the work requirement from welfare, etc. are examples of the government trying to dictate equality of outcomes that strangle freedom of choice and entangles everyone in the tentacles of government.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I believe we need to counter the constant barrage of anti-business, anti-wealth, populist propaganda with our own barrage of constantrly trumpeting the ways in which communism/socialism lead to much worse results than open, free market economies that put private property rights and economic growth first.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    southpaw: no, I don’t include you in that group. I’m not at all sure how large the group was, although it did exist. But I don’t include anyone in it unless he/she claimed to be in it.

  6. Don Carlos Says:

    In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, Pete DuPont (R) used the phrase, “conservatives and Republicans”. As if there is and should be a difference between the two, facing the foe of Leftism by the totally united Democrats.

    Conservatives have two adversaries. Republicans AND Democrats. Good luck with that.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Eric, “the devil is in the details”

    ”Develop and push a competing popular Narrative, Flood pop culture and the media.”

    How do we ‘push’ a competing narrative and what will make it ‘popular’? How shall we accomplish that when the left controls ALL the organs of popular culture and all but one of the major media outlets? Compounded by the fact that the people we wish to reach, don’t watch FOX?

    ”Spread the narrative and work to undermine the Left’s narrative. The 2016 election should harvest the fruit of that movement.”

    The left has taken decades to spread and entrench their narrative, which includes the assertion that conservatives are at the least biased and at worst, evil. Would you even listen to, much less be persuaded by a NAZI’s arguments? Is it realistic to expect that a successful counter narrative can spread widely in just 3 years?

    ”Target groups, reach out to them, and flip them. …hispanic[s} … may ultimately be the difference, I believe the best ethnic demographic to start with are Asians…. Generally, their concerns and values should align with the GOP and as recently as the Clinton era, Asians voted majority Republican. Yet in 1 generation, despite no substantial change in Asian concerns and values, the Republicans lost the Asian vote. I don’t blame Asians – I blame the GOP for somehow alienating them…”

    Why would minority groups give up their status as protected, superior by virtue of not being white, advantages under democrats? What would the GOP offer besides a chance to fail or succeed on their own merits? Why would minorities give up their ‘right’ to stand upon the shoulders of whites and get a leg up on the competition? The GOP didn’t alienate minority groups, minority groups like the stacked deck in their favor. Especially as they’ve been sold the excuse that Republicans support a system that is already stacked against them.

    Yes, the Left did perform a calculated, comprehensive demonization of Bush. They have also been demonizing republicans, conservatives and the conservative principles we support since Eisenhower. How do you propose to ‘rehabilitate’ Bush’s legacy, when it is perceived to be, by the people you wish to reach, a convenient scapegoat for everything that they believe to be wrong and, a convenient excuse to avoid blame for whatever may yet go wrong…How do you propose to awaken people deeply entrenched in circular reasoning?

    It’s somewhat true that Republicans accepted the demonization of Bush by following his lead, rather than vigorously countering it. But the conceded stigma did not ‘open the door’ on the blanket demonization of Republicans of all stripes. The door was already open, again, that process has been going on since Eisenhower. The conceded demonization by republicans simply deepened that perception.

    ”Obama gets away with as much as he does because he governs less on the basis of his merits than on vilifying the GOP and discrediting their alternative to him. He’s not held accountable.”

    True but incomplete. Nor will he be held accountable. Obama gets away with it because his lap dog media protect him and because a slim majority of the public agrees with his vilification of the GOP. Those on the right are perceived to support ‘the evil rich’ by a public that has been fully indoctrinated into the left’s meme of the greedy, selfish, uncaring rich and, they buy into that meme because it absolves them of all responsibility.

    ”switch the GOP from a guilty defensive posture to the strategic moral high ground.”

    Yes, a “guilty defensive posture” confirms that characterization to others. Unlikely as it is to happen, there would be great value in republicans embracing conservative values and presenting a united front. How do you propose to convince the McCain’s and Jeb Bush’s to do that? How do you propose to get the wealthy contributors to republicans to place liberty before profit?

    Wresting “the strategic moral high ground” from the left however will be impossible until hard reality visits us. Just as Churchill before 1939 spent years as ‘a voice crying in the wilderness’ and even then was only turned to by a liberal British public because Chamberlain had given “peace a chance”. This time however, we will be asking liberal Americans to accept that the left has led them astray and that they must reject much of the world-view in which they have believed. That’s a tall order for anyone to swallow.

    dialog from the movie, “The Wild Bunch”
    Pike Bishop: A hell of a lot of people, Dutch, just can’t stand to be wrong.
    Dutch Engstrom: Pride.
    Pike Bishop: And they can’t forget it… that pride… being wrong. Or learn by it…

  8. parker Says:

    The republican establishment made a big mistake in 2008 when they left Palin to twist in the MSM wind. They have an inherent knee jerk reaction to real conservatives which p*sses off the base and then they whine about the base not supporting their efforts to water down the message.

    BTW, filibuster in the senate. Email your senators and demand they join the filibuster.

  9. SGT Caz Says:

    The emphasis on the characteristic of being “likeable” is telling of just how far our notions of leadership have fallen. Reagan was a fluke who started the trend of huge budget deficits, and I would not expect another like him to fix the current situation. If there was ever a time in this country’s history when we need a candidate who sacrifices likability for competence, it would be now. But a politician who pushes his charges to solve their own problems and presides, instead of being activist-in-chief, DOESN’T sell when expectations are high and unmet, and this is precisely why I’m so cynical about democracy.

    This isn’t about ideology; we have no stable ideology, and we will continue to have no stable ideology except the excessively-flexible gut notions of individualism. This isn’t about internal divisions when both parties are, at the end of the day, coalitions. The waves of history simply aren’t moving as if there’s a conspiracy afoot; they’re moving as if we have no idea what the hell we’re doing, because we don’t. This is really about tactics, a day-to-day thing, where we respect neither tradition nor genuine leadership so we can only squabble to keep the worst of all significant evils from manning the alter. It is, frankly, disgusting. We aren’t getting anywhere again until this society gains an appreciation for authority and fashions a yardstick for measuring legitimacy.

  10. parker Says:

    “The waves of history simply aren’t moving as if there’s a conspiracy afoot; they’re moving as if we have no idea what the hell we’re doing, because we don’t. ”

    We are moving towards insolvency, barbarians in the streets, drones, and after that all bets are off.

  11. expat Says:

    I certainly hope we don’t get into the flavor of the month game again. What we should be doing is allowing our brightest and best to propose solutions to problems and then through discourse hone them into policy without annointing a messiah. As this goes on, we can observe who has the best overal grasp of issues and who can best present our ideas to a wider public.

    We should also be going local, not just telling people why we have the best ideas but also asking them about their own ideas. NRO has a piece up today about private initiatives to clean up Detroit. We should engage with such locals and see whether conservative private organizations can contribute to their effort in any way. We should not try to win votes right now. We should try to show people that we aren’t money-crazy monsters, so they might give us a listen down the road.

    We should also show respect for people who despite good values and hard work don’t make it to the top. It is the Dems who put so much value on serving wagyu beef, wearing designer clothes, and getting their kids into an Ivy. They are the snobs, and they are far worse than the Republican country club set ever was. At least the country clubbers didn’t tell the poor that they should max out their credit cards on status symbols.

  12. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    There is no conspiracy being directed from on high but there is a conspiracy of means being employed by those on the left.

    The left is moving America toward insolvency, through all the machinations we have discussed many times. The left is using today’s barbarians, the covertly militant Muslim, who are even now infiltrating through the gates. And we are being acclimated to the use of drones in the sky, should they be needed by the left at some future date.

  13. rickl Says:

    [i]parker Says:
    March 6th, 2013 at 5:48 pm
    The republican establishment made a big mistake in 2008 when they left Palin to twist in the MSM wind. They have an inherent knee jerk reaction to real conservatives which p*sses off the base and then they whine about the base not supporting their efforts to water down the message.[/i]

    The Republican establishment kneecaps Tea Party conservatives whenever they can. Then they insist that we must vote for the RINOs no matter what or else we’re supporting the D’s.

    That song-and-dance is getting pretty old.

  14. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I watched Ann Coulter on Hannity tonight. She brought up a point that is very true. She pointed out that going back to the Clinton impeachment days, the dems have coordinated their messsages as if they are all singing from the same song book. It’s true. Watch any number of talking head shows on TV. When a dem appears he/she always uses the same words, phrases, or talking points. Which, I aver, have been poll tested by their communications specialists and released for the use of all those who are in the public eye. This is advertising 101 or maybe Dr. Goebbels 101. The Republicans, being individuals and not easily guided into group think, continue to offer disjointed, often dense policy statements that convince only the already convinced. Notice how all the dems were on message about sequestrageddon. Until the Republicans catch on to this and begin countering it, (By copying the technique or learning to effectively mock them all singing from the same songbook, or?) the dems will continue to win the war for the independents and thus, the elections.

  15. Baltimoron Says:

    We’re always going to have a certain amount of infighting in the Republican party because there really is no such thing as a Republican, or conservative, political ideology. Republican voters have different ideologies, the party just has a platform to get people to vote for them. And if you want to build a majority coalition for your party, you’ll have to appeal to a lot of people with distinctly different ideologies. That’s how democracy works.

    Now for all the people who consider themselves “true conservatives” (whatever that means) I’d say you have every right to try to convince more people to accept your point of view, but don’t get upset if you have to make compromises. We’ve created a system where we’re supposed to make compromises.

  16. Curtis Says:

    Watch please the filibuster and especially Cruz’es speech at about 10 hours into it. It is stirring, powerful, brilliant, indignant, subtle, paced, packed and laced with powerful knockout punches. I had no idea of the Texas case, which Cruz expanded upon at length, where the world court attempted to subvert American sovereignty.

  17. Curtis Says:

    Who do you agree with: Ted Cruz and the Tea Party or the RINO crows.

    Can you believe that headline: Grandstanding or something worse? Like what’s worse? His own agenda?

    Isn’t that what Rove and Powerline maybe protecting?

  18. Don Carlos Says:

    Read Victor Davis Hanson’s article at PJMedia today and despair.

  19. Mike Says:

    Obama was not a good candidate. He is not an accomplished person. He has no resume of success at anything except being an affirmative action dark-enough skinned person who has a baritone voice.

    He won because a very large segment of America fits into one of three categories: 1) The Brainwashed, 2) The Privileged Victims and their Bureaucratic Minders (every public employee everywhere), 3) Legacy Dems who are too egotistical to admit that they are damaging the country almost to extinction.

    They are the enemy. We will never defeat that enemy unless we engage and fight. Never.

    Brainwashing is now standard fare. We have one full generation of the brainwashed (from K-University in schools, via leftist control of the media, and such seemingly innocuous things as PSAs on the radio.) Until we call these mindless robots what they are, and truly expose education for the absolute failure that it is, we will not win this battle. We do not even engage. When is the last time you heard conservatives fighting about getting Plato and Western Civ back into the curriculum and all the completely ludicrous smarm that is now in there, like women’s and race studies?

    The Leftists (they are Marxists) have thrown out a heritage built over two millenia in lest than 50 years. We are now, collectively, stupid.

    So-called “public employees” are our new “priestly class” in the old Medieval Pyramid (see Victor Hanson’s column in PJ Media for explanation). The actual Medievalists at least built an ontologically dense culture. This lot gives us regulations, soda bans, and birth control pills for free. These people are not public servants. They are public tyrants. We should show them no respect at all, ever. Rather we should seek to undermine them at every possible turn – all the time, in every way, with almost zero exceptions until they are put back in their proper place and function.

    The Legacy Dems, full of pride, and afraid to admit the truth that is right in front of them are perhaps the ones we can convince, and cajole, and even coerce into coming to their senses. If we could get more of these suckers to take their own side in a fight, we might stand a chance.

    In all three cases, conservatives need to grow up and cultivate the virtue of courage above all else. Aristotle said somewhere that it was the one indispensable virtue – such that without it none of the other virtues could truly develop or be effective.

    We are fat, lazy, cowards. We care about what rotten despicable people – of the sort noted above – think and say. We should not care one iota what they think and say. We should tell them all the time they are either brainwashed, or ignorant, or malicious. There is no 3rd option for that lot. It is one of those three things.

    Never should we as conservatives tell that one essential lie that allows the self-styled Progressives (who are truly regressive and reactive and as ancient as Ball and Moloch) to escape guilt – that, well, “both sides do it”.

    I think I hate that lie – told almost exclusively by conservatives – more than even the liberal lies. It’s not true. We love freedom and liberty and prosperity. They hate those things. The “both sides do it” lie is the equivalent of saying that “both sides” were fighting World War II. Yes, one side was Hitler and the other side was the Band of Brothers and their leaders who liberated a half a continent from Statist Dictators of the exact same soul as resides in every liberal there is practically.

    The Marxist-Dems do fight. So did Hitler, and Stalin. So do all the bad guys today.

    Our choice is whether we defeat evil liberalism the way we defeated evil Naziism (they are cut from the same philosophical cloth) or they defeat us.

    There is not a third choice. If we don’t fight these bastards they will have us completely in chains in ten years max.

    For charges of extremism I refer you to the Goldwater quote as my defense. he was right.

  20. Eric Says:

    Geoffrey Britain: “the devil is in the details” … How …

    How? You do it by doing it. Get the ground game underway ASAP.

    The Republicans and the collective Right who are fluttering their hands in despair at the impossibility of it all haven’t even tried. Not trying guarantees the impossible.

    Start by bringing in genuine activists like Horowitz, sit down together and map out a soup-to-nuts comprehensive strategy for the ground game, fill in the details, and then give the plan what it needs to come to life. Adjust enroute when reality hits. And keep going when you hit obstacles. Don’t stop. Go through them, change them, or go around them. As Sun Tzu said, opportunities multiply as they are seized, and it’s true, they do. But they don’t if you don’t act in the first place.

    Better get a move on because the hour is late, the clock’s ticking, and the competent opposition isn’t still. But if you wait until the next POTUS election cycle to start the ground grame, then it *will be* too late.

    Again, it can be done. I refer again to the inspiration of the recent victory by Ivy League ROTC advocates, especially the ROTC advocacy at Columbia University. In 2005, the Columbia University Senate – as most everyone expected, including the advocates – voted a lopsided 53-10 against ROTC.

    In 2011, largely the same CU senate voted 51-17 *for* ROTC reinstatement at Columbia.

    (Note: Those of you familiar with the “Spirit of ’68” may recall that the student and faculty controlled CU senate was created in order to protect against ‘reactionary’ changes to the University, such as the return of ROTC, that might be imposed via fiat by the trustees and university officials, which indeed happened at Harvard. It was an article of faith that ROTC return would never be passed by the CU senate gatekeepers. Yet it and they did.)

    When the CU ROTC advocates started their campaign, they were told their goal was quixotic. But the movement included student activists (kids! amirite?) who believed they were the chosen ones to defeat the status quo and 30+ years of living history, and remake Columbia. They decided they would play the same activist game that got ROTC booted, except they would play the game to get ROTC back. And they did.

    The Republicans and the Right need the same activist attitude and persistence as pro-military Columbia students. They need dedicated activists who’ll play to win the same ground game that’s been defeating them.

    I understand commenters on this blog focus on principles and ideology with only occasional passing mention of the ground game. But the center of gravity in the political arena right now is with action, not with ideas. The ideas are fine.

    The best way for ideological libertarians and conservatives to grab the initiative is *not* to complain about the presidential candidates fielded by the GOP. Their way to gain power and influence and guide the direction of the GOP and American political landscape is at grassroots. The Tea Party started there and showed good early promise, but then stopped. They need to go back to their original promise, go populist, go beyond their comfort zone, go into the cities, and actively grow and spread. Confront and knock down the Left’s shibboleths. Again and again. Repetition matters. Keep growing and gather momentum. Don’t stop.

    As far as minorities, the Right is psyching itself out, just like for 30+ years, CU ROTC supporters psyched themselves out before the winning group of pro-military Columbia student activists arrived on campus and busted the myth.

    That said, it’s a process and I understand how that daunting the process looks right now. That’s why I recommend beginning with the first step of reaching for the low hanging fruit of the Asian vote. Asians are called upon to stand in solidarity but are otherwise marginalized in minority advocacy. Their economic status, concerns, values, and recent history of voting Republican tell me that flipping the Asian vote should be a reasonable goal. I expect the rest will be harder, but Asians are the foot in the door. The 1st tangible flip will put everyone on notice that the times, they are a-changing.

  21. Eric Says:

    Add: The beauty of making the rehabilitation of Bush’s legacy a focused goal for the entire Right is the process that would require and the domino effect therein.

    Geoffrey, all the change challenges you outlined would need be addressed in rehabilitating Bush’s legacy. That’s a feature of my recommendation. A focused goal is a more effective organizer than an unfocused goal. Rehabilitating Bush’s legacy is not a 1 step process. Think about the internal reforms an honest pursuit of the goal would require from those on the Right. What steps would need to be taken in the public campaign to change the public mind. What would be needed to convince the media.

    Since Obama and all the Dems have positioned themselves as the anti-Bush, when Bush is transformed from the bad guy into the good guy, then does not the self-defined anti-Bush then automatically become the bad guy? By making Bush a bogeyman effigy standing in for the entire Right, the Left gift-wrapped the opportunity for the Right to discredit the whole Left and empower the whole Right by rehabilitating Bush’s legacy.

    In other words, every step needed to rehabilitate Bush’s legacy empowers the entire Right and weakens the entire Left.

    Of course, there’s a timeliness factor. This giftwrapped opportunity has a shelf life. Rehabilitating Bush’s legacy 20 years from now would only be an obscure academic exercise that wouldn’t help the Right anymore than a campaign today to rehabilitate Nixon’s legacy.

    It has to be done now. If, in the present, the Right can achieve all the changes, including internally, needed to rehabilitate Bush’s legacy, the Right will gain the upperhand.

    You’re right that 3 years isn’t a lot of time. It’s prudent to choose tactics, like rehabilitating Bush’s legacy, that will deliver more bang for the buck.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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