Thursday, July 31, 2008

How to Take Back the GOP

Yesterday, I wrote about how the Republican party has gradually drifted left, and how conservatives were in part responsible for letting that happen. It’s hard to disagree with the idea that nonconservatives have taken control of much of the party—the de facto Republican position on the proper role of government, immigration, and spending is at odds with the conservative one. But what’s done is done, and conservatives must now take back the GOP.

Before conservatives “take back” the GOP, however, they should realize that it was never very conservative to begin with. With the exceptions of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, the Republican party has never nominated anyone for president who was a true ideological conservative, and the GOP Congressional leadership has never been particularly strong from a conservative standpoint. (The 1994 Congress had some good conservative ideas, but it mostly squandered whatever promise it may have had). It would probably be more accurate to say that conservatives must “take over” the Republican party.

The first step, and the most obvious one, is to support conservative candidates at the grassroots level. There are a great many Republican Congressmen who are not conservative (Arlen Specter), or corrupt (Don Young, or the Ohio state government pre-2006), or both. It seems obvious the conservatives should oppose them in the primaries, but that really hasn’t happened, at least not enough to make a difference. (One exception is the attempt by some Pennsylvania conservatives to unseat liberal Republican Arlen Specter in favor of Pat Toomey in the primary. George Bush undercut them by endorsing Specter).

This does seem to be changing. There are now grassroots movements such as The Next Right and Down the Ticket that actively promote conservative GOP candidates. This is a necessary step, and the first phase of remaking the GOP.

Another, less obvious answer is ensuring that the Republican leadership is conservative. The key leaders of the GOP are not always politicians—some of the most influential people in the party are the directors of the Republican National Committee. The RNC is very powerful—it organizes the party platform, helps with fundraising, and decides which candidates get funds. The ideology of the RNC goes a long way towards deciding the ideology of the party as a whole.

Mike Duncan is the RNC head right now, and I honestly don’t know how conservative he is, and Google doesn’t have many answers. He was head of the Committee during the whole amnesty fiasco, though, which might tell us something. I imagine that he is a Republican first, and a conservative second; the GOP position will always be his.

Pre-Duncan, the RNC did both a very good and very poor job. Very good, because it really was quite good at such things as micotargeting and message delivery to help get its candidates elected, but poor because those candidates weren’t always worth helping. For years, the RNC basically ignored pork fiends like Ted Stevens—had it cracked down on corrupt candidates, perhaps the Republican party would be stronger today.

There are some people who feel that the best way to turn the Republican party back to its conservative ways is to throw the 2008 election. This, they feel, will so alarm the Republican leadership that they will instantly move the party to the right. Actually, there is a fifty-fifty chance that the leadership would just give up conservatives as a lost cause and move left to attract center-left moderates, but no one ever thinks of that. And anyhow, Obama is far too liberal, and the damage he would do too the country would be too great. He would withdraw precipitately from Iraq, would appoint at least one and probably two Supreme Court justices, and would increase federal spending maybe almost as much as George W. Bush. It’s not worth it. (Although given the incompetence of the GOP, I can understand the temptation).

Taking back (or taking over) the Republican party won’t be easy. But it is necessary—if conservatism is to remain a functioning political philosophy, it will have to be represented by the GOP. And since the country needs conservative principles now, changing the GOP is an essential task.


At August 1, 2008 at 3:58 AM , Anonymous Ricky said...

This American is sick and tired of the perpetually aggrieved black victim industry screaming racist at the drop of a hat. This path of Team Obama will infuriate enough people to be sure to kick this half-black, half-white, Magical negro Marxist back to the Senate. He could be as white as Heidi Klum -- I'm not voting for his far-left, one-world happy talk. I will be voting for John Mccain.
I don't care what Y'all, call him. Call me a I am a chauvinist, a racist or what erver you want to....No one but the dems have played the race card and they know it. Maybe its time for the GOP to get in the gutter with them and let it flow. If Obami gets elected, does anyone(except the bright, articulate dem voters) think that race will go away?. My opinion is that it will get worse if dumbo gets in. This is a high stakes election where character, experience and ideology matter. Obama's constant harping and whining about 'attacks' is getting old fast and is just further proof that he is not ready for prime time. McCain has every right to point out the flaws in his opposition. Obama (and his wife) became fair game the day they started campaigning for this. For me McCaine is the man for the job.

At August 1, 2008 at 7:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, for the McCain doubters here, I don't think he will call for all Americans to perform mandatory community service. Neither do I think he will call for a National Civilian Police force.
I do believe he'll fight the Jihadists, and Obama won't. I think Obama would most likely make deals with them. Appease them. We can see how well that's working in Europe!!

If you think the war can wait four years, don't vote for McCain. Unfortunately, the Jihadists no doubt have a different schedule.

IMO what McCain has to do is contrast Obama's downer of a message. Can you think of anything about America Obama likes? His speeches are nothing more than glib versions of Jimmy Carter's malaise speech.

McCain would do well to read some of Reagan's speeches and diaries, to get a flavor of what we want to hear. That we are a noble country with good, generous people, who work hard and earn respect and trust from our leaders.
Messages of love for this country, lifting up, not putting down, and he doesn't even have to mention Obama's name.
I think it's about time that McCain takes the gloves off and leave them off.

At August 1, 2008 at 7:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I came back here just to write this one last post hoping that you people will try to understand me and my position a bit better.
I’ll try and be polite as I write this post, also, I would encourage most of the people who have posted here, as well as those who make similar vitriolic, personalized attacks on liberal blogs to consider what you are doing to further real problem-solving and conversation
This country will move forward no matter who we elect as the next president. But the wounds we create by the kind of words I’ve seen posted here are inexcusable and unnecessary. Our goal should be to seek common ground - find the place, however minuscule, where we can agree and start there. It’s not a naive approach - it works, and both Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama are known for their ability to understand and model this concept. I see them trying to have a civil conversation - it is their surrogates and people like those who post here and on other sites that can’t seem to step out of personalized attack mode.
It’s not conservatives but conservative leaders such as Rush and Ann Colter and Sean Hannity and the rest of that bunch of loud mouths and i can’t forget Mike savage who is truly a savage who have caused the problems. I’ve seen liberalism hijacked by incompetent leaders and watched the resulting rejection by voters. I know you all think liberal leaders are still not competent, but that’s not the issue. It is time for conservatives to do some soul searching and find new leaders. Believe it or not I wish you well. But the bunch that I mentioned above will only do harm to your movement. Just like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have done for the Black’s.
You know what’s sad? Most conservatives I meet are nice people. Even those of you who attack me with your comments are probably decent people who believe your political agenda is the right one. For many of the preceding three decades most Americans agreed with you. I believe you love your country and are patriots,. Just as I am. I can disagree with your politics but not do it disagreeably.
So what is sad is that I feel compelled to write this because some of you refuse to grant me the same understanding. I believe in a liberal political agenda. I have a right to believe what I believe without you calling me a commie. I am NOT a COMMIE and it hurts big time to be called one. I also love my country so please don’t call me unpatriotic. I’’m a Mother who loves her family so please don’t accuse me of being “anti-family” as some of you have.
This time around my side will win and I believe by a big margin. You don’t have to like it, but perhaps you might refrain from “hating” my side. In all the years of Republican control I never accused anyone of being unpatriotic, or fascist, or bad people. Maybe you would grant my side the same courtesy.
And just one thing in addition, I just don’t understand the infighting among you.
And Beth, you complain about the few abusive messages. I think that you are being extremely one sided and blind when it suits your cause.

At August 1, 2008 at 8:32 AM , Anonymous hawkgrrrl said...

Daniel said; Taking back (or taking over) the Republican party won’t be easy. But it is necessary—if conservatism is to remain a functioning political philosophy, it will have to be represented by the GOP. And since the country needs conservative principles now, changing the GOP is an essential task.

Danial, I don't think that will ever haven, at least not in our life time.
The conservative party is dead. We have seen it very clearly in this years primaries, not one conservative stood a chance.
The Great Fred Thompson who was the the king of the conservative's went down fast.
If they couldn't nominate him, then who's left?
No one. Without Fred, there was no one left. Rudy, McCain, Romney, and even Huckabee to some extent are moderates and Ron Paul is a Libertarian.
So in sumation, the conservative's will have a very hard time in the future. If at all.

At August 1, 2008 at 2:58 PM , Anonymous hawkgrrrl said...

Before conservatives “take back” the GOP, they have to learn to agree with each other.
Right now the conservatives and the republicans are fighting with eachother more thatn they are fighting with the liberals and democrats.
Many conservatives have said Sen. John McCain is not conservative enough to suit them. That sounds like they have no intentions of getting along

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