Thursday, May 7, 2009

DeMint Was Right

Senator Jim DeMint created a lot of controversy when he said that he “would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” Liberals pointed to this comment as proof that the Republican party is effectively marginalized, while conservatives sighed sadly and tried to distance themselves from DeMint. Virtually no one agreed with him.

They should have. Because he’s right.

Everyone, at least everyone outside the conservative movement, thinks that the best way for the GOP to become relevant again is to expand the party’s base to make it attractive to every voter. The defection of Arlen Specter is seen as a major problem for the party—if moderates like Specter continue to leave, the thinking goes, who will be left?

One problem with this line of thought—it ignores the fact that not so long ago the Republican party was in a situation very close to the one DeMint rejected. The Republican party didn’t have sixty Senators, but it did have fifty-five, and while those Senators were not wholly without principles, they didn’t have very many.

That didn’t work out. The Republican government was fairly moderate—they threw the occasional bone to their conservative base, but mostly spent their time on moderate projects that weren’t so different from what the Democrats would support.

And they got voted out. Moderation wasn’t the only reason the GOP lost Congress, and later the presidency. Corruption was an issue, and President Bush was oddly incapable of effectively communicating his plan for Iraq. And Republican fatigue was an issue too—after ten years of Republicans running the government, many voters wanted something new.

But a large part of the GOP’s decline arose because it didn’t have any real message. You can’t play the social conservative card forever, especially when you deliver as little in the way of results as the GOP did. And Bush’s confusing management and constantly shifting rationale for the Iraq War negated foreign policy as a viable issue for Republicans. Bush’s huge deficit meant that fiscal issues weren’t an option. The Republican party sold its soul for immediate electoral success—and it hurt them in the end.

Right now, the GOP’s situation is very close to the first one described by DeMint—they have more than 30 Senators, but not many more. And they have two possible ways of staging their comeback. The first is the popular choice, that they need to open the party up and make it attractive to the sort of voters who vote for Arlen Specter. The second is to try to build a strong foundation for the party on solid conservative principles.

American politics are usually pretty cyclical, so either strategy would probably work eventually. The question is which one would build a stronger, more enduring base for the party. And I think it obvious that the second option—using a small, ideologically consistent base to form the new shape of the party—would be healthier for the party in the long term.

That doesn’t mean that every Republican candidate has to be at least as conservative as (and preferably more conservative than) Rush Limbaugh. Moderates should have their place in the party. For example, Tom Ridge and Charlie Christ (both very moderate) will probably run for office again soon; both men are useful and should be encouraged. But Republicans should try to find strong conservatives to run whenever possible, and make it clear that the Republican party exists to advance conservative principles.

This approach will be difficult, and will require that the GOP change its basic way of thinking. It will also lose some voters, but will hopefully gain many more. If the Republican party doesn’t follow this prescription, they will become little more than Democrats Lite, and if they do that, they are ultimately doomed to irrelevancy.

12 Comments:

At May 8, 2009 at 2:57 AM , Blogger Steve B said...

Have to disagree on this one. All politics is local right? What about the regions of the country that are simply more liberal minded as a whole? The northeast, where I am from for example?

Take Maine, if they don't elect a moderate like Snowe (and yes I know we can debate the definition of moderate all day, but for the sake of argument lets say Snowe is moderate) who are they more likely to replace her with? A true blue conservative, or another John Kerry?

So while I see your point, I just do not think that the real hardcore conservative message speaks to a majority and therefore they will always be a minority party.

 
At May 8, 2009 at 5:34 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Charlie Crist? No thanks Daniel. The Republican party would do well to give that guy the boot. And Governor Terminator out in Cali as well.

You don't win in politics by courting the middle. You win with your base and by convincing people that your vision is the proper course to take.

 
At May 8, 2009 at 10:41 AM , Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Can't help much, coming from the 'other side'..but, by all means continue the purge..Rush has identified Colin Powell as another who should be drummed out. I greatly favor a tiny inconsequential far right. :)

 
At May 8, 2009 at 12:09 PM , Blogger Daniel Ruwe said...

Steve, I probably didn't make this clear enough, but I think that moderates have their place in the party. (Ridge and Crist are examples I used, though Snowe or even Specter work). I just think that the GOP should make its conservatives the center of the party, rather than allowing the party's moderates to define the party's center.

 
At May 8, 2009 at 1:11 PM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

"I just think that the GOP should make its conservatives the center of the party, rather than allowing the party's moderates to define the party's center."The problem with that Daniel is that those moderates are still a member of the group. And because a group is nothing more than the whole of its individual members, said members will have their voices heard within the group and those words, while not serving as the desirable "center" of the party's ideology, will nonetheless be attributed to that group.

This is the problem at present. When this happens, the group (or party rather) is not speaking with one unified voice.

Now, it is my preference that we do away with parties entirely and just get down to the real crux of issues rather than paint with a broad brush and employ the generality which comes with a party.

 
At May 9, 2009 at 3:25 AM , Blogger Steve B said...

Ok Daniel- I guess I missed your point. I can agree that the conservative message should drive the party while still allowing center right moderates a home.
Soapbox- don't you think a purist party would be too small to be effective in anything? I know it is appealing to imagine a true "conservative" party, but if it means only having 25-30 Sens., what is the point?

 
At May 10, 2009 at 4:17 PM , Blogger Im Here To Say It said...

Sorry Daniel but you are an example of a “conservative” who helped a narcissistic socialist get elected President. I can say that I voted for a war hero and not a handout. But what can you say? That you and others like you are so “principled” that you would not vote for a fiscal conservative whose knowledge of foreign policy, military matters and national security was heads above every other candidate of any party?

Tell me, what would possess you to sit out the 2008 election? Was it McCain’s market oriented approach to health care that is the opposite of the Democrat socialist approach? Was it McCain’s condemnation of out of control federal spending? Was it McCain’s support of choice in education? Was it McCain’s performance at the Saddle back forum showing him to be a man committed to life and fighting evil? Was it McCain’s commitment to nominating strict constructionists to the federal bench? Was it McCain’s hawkishness in foreign policy, military matters and national security? Did McCain’s personal life story of war heroism turn you off? Was McCain’s campaign slogan “Country First” not for you? Really.

 
At May 11, 2009 at 6:35 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

"I can say that I voted for a war hero and not a handout.Tell me, what would possess you to sit out the 2008 election? Was it McCain’s market oriented approach to health care that is the opposite of the Democrat socialist approach? Was it McCain’s condemnation of out of control federal spending? Was it McCain’s support of choice in education? Was it McCain’s performance at the Saddle back forum showing him to be a man committed to life and fighting evil? Was it McCain’s commitment to nominating strict constructionists to the federal bench? Was it McCain’s hawkishness in foreign policy, military matters and national security? Did McCain’s personal life story of war heroism turn you off? Was McCain’s campaign slogan “Country First” not for you? Really."

I'll take that one if you don't mind. Let us hope you can, if but for a moment, put aside your party loyalty and consider what I'll put forth in an OBJECTIVE manner.


First, let's be clear about something. I did not "sit" out the election. I merely didn't vote for either Obama or McCain.


"I can say that I voted for a war hero and not a handout."

Handouts for whom? Don't kid yourself; John McCain left the campaign trail to vote in favor of the Bush/Paulsen Bailout vote. John McCain was co-author of an amnesty bill which (had it passed) would have been the largest welfare increase in 35 years and would have put the American taxpayer on the hook for $2.6 Trillion [Heritage Foundation]. John McCain was also one of the primary authors of what has been come to be called "Cap and Trade" legislation. Cap and trade is a transfer payment which subsidizes (i.e. provides a financial handout) renewable energy sources at the expense of oil, coal, etc.


"Was it McCain’s market oriented approach to health care that is the opposite of the Democrat socialist approach?"

While it is true that McCain's healthcare approach was much more akin to market principles, one issue does not an election make. Further, while we might very well have seen a more market based approach to healthcare and its subsequent costs, what good are cost savings if such savings are being offset by other regulatory tax increases (Cap and Trade legislative costs, etc.??)


"Was it McCain’s support of choice in education?

No, it was McCain's support of No Child Left Behind which doubled the size of the Department of Education and subsequently its union membership (the vast majority of whom always vote for the Democratic opposition).


"Was it McCain’s performance at the Saddle back forum showing him to be a man committed to life and fighting evil?"

Life and Liberty are mutually inclusive. What good is fighting to preserve life if you are going to put limits on one's prosperity and pursuit of happiness by way of higher taxation through "green/environmental" regulation, undermine the First Amendment (and entrench the wealthy and powerful Washington elite at the same time) through Campaign Finance Reform, etc.??



"Was it McCain’s commitment to nominating strict constructionists to the federal bench?"


Two things you'd do well to consider on this issue. 1. John McCain was a championing member of the gang of 14 who successfully negotiated a compromise in the spring of 2005 to avoid the deployment of the so-called nuclear option over an organized use of the filibuster by Senate Democrats. Number 2. and more importantly, while perhaps John McCain might been genuine in his protestation to appoint constructionist judges to the bench (evidence to the contrary notwithstanding), he'd have faced an uphill battle with Lehy and Conyers who chair the judiciary committee and subsequently the nominees. Given John McCain's propensity for "compromise" there is hardly any doubt he'd have struck a deal with the two on a judicial choice that was "agreeable".


"Was it McCain’s hawkishness in foreign policy, military matters and national security?"

I'll be honest here in that I'm probably in the minority. I'm not a Neo-Con. I've not been a fan of this adventurist foreign policy. The results have been mixed at best. And, while I don't support a "not strings attached" approach, I do think that we should engage the leaders of other countries just as Reagan did. And in so doing, take the opportunity to reach out to the people of said countries while speaking out against their leader's totalitarianism. Lastly, I don't care too much about how "hawkish" someone is on defense if they're not defending what is right (namely Individual Freedom and Liberty). We do not send our men and women abroad to fight a war so that we may preserve a stimulus package (you'll recall Bush had one that McCain supported) to bailout banks or automakers, Cap and Trade legislation which raises the cost of energy for both you and I, Farm Subsidies, amnesty for illegal immigrants, etc.


"Did McCain’s personal life story of war heroism turn you off?"

Careful there. The same argument could very well be made about Senator John Kerry could it not? And yet we saw how that turned out. Again, a true Patriot is not someone who merely fights for their country. A true Patriot is someone who fights to uphold and defend an ideal (i.e., Freedom and Liberty). John McCain on numerous occasions has set aside the virtuous principles of both in an effort to "bridge the divide" and "come together" for little other reason than for his own political expediency (most notably with his Amnesty Bill).


"Was McCain’s campaign slogan “Country First” not for you?"

Respect for Individual Freedom and Individual Liberty are the ideals of this Country which sets it apart from all others on this Globe. Excuse me for being so blunt but "Country First" is a statist comment. The American Experiment holds that man's fidelity is not to his country but to the ideals that this country represents. Over the course of history you can find men who's love and devotion for their country was profound. And yet, none of those leaders who'm I'm thinking of were defenders of individual Freedom and Liberty. In fact, quite the opposite is true.


You may chastise people like myself for our principles all you'd like. But, I will however leave with the following truisms to consider.

"When men abandon principles (i.e., their conceptual faculty), two of the major results are: individually, the inability to project the future; socially, the impossibility of communication."
"Only fundamental principles, rationally validated, clearly understood and voluntarily accepted, can create a desirable kind of unity among men."
"A principle is “a fundamental, primary, or general truth, on which other truths depend.” Thus a principle is an abstraction which subsumes a great number of concretes. It is only by means of principles that one can set one’s long-range goals and evaluate the concrete alternatives of any given moment. It is only principles that enable a man to plan his future and to achieve it."

 
At November 5, 2014 at 5:33 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

louis vuitton outlet, coach purses, prada outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, nike shoes, red bottom shoes, longchamp handbags, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin outlet, oakley vault, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton handbags, true religion outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, coach outlet, ray ban outlet, nike air max, burberry outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, kate spade outlet online, polo ralph lauren, coach outlet store online, nike air max, tiffany jewelry, cheap oakley sunglasses, coach outlet, true religion, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet online, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, michael kors outlet online, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet online, nike free, louis vuitton outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton, jordan shoes, prada handbags

 
At November 5, 2014 at 5:37 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

nike blazer pas cher, lacoste pas cher, timberland, north face, air max, guess pas cher, nike free, air jordan, sac louis vuitton, air max pas cher, hollister, michael kors canada, lululemon, barbour, abercrombie and fitch, burberry pas cher, hermes pas cher, vans pas cher, north face pas cher, nike air max, sac vanessa bruno, chaussure louboutin, mulberry, nike roshe run, ralph lauren pas cher, louis vuitton, louis vuitton pas cher, sac michael kors, converse pas cher, nike free pas cher, oakley pas cher, ralph lauren, longchamp, new balance pas cher, hollister, nike roshe, louis vuitton uk, tn pas cher, scarpe hogan, true religion jeans, nike air force, longchamp pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban pas cher, ray ban uk, true religion outlet, nike air max

 
At November 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

marc jacobs outlet, beats headphones, canada goose, rolex watches, abercrombie and fitch, celine handbags, new balance outlet, instyler ionic styler, ugg boots, reebok shoes, roshe run, uggs on sale, ghd, north face jackets, nike huarache, valentino shoes, vans outlet, ugg outlet, p90x workout, ugg soldes, mont blanc pens, chi flat iron, canada goose outlet, lululemon outlet, ferragamo shoes, longchamp, nfl jerseys, asics shoes, mac cosmetics, bottega veneta, north face outlet, herve leger, birkin bag, wedding dresses, insanity workout, soccer shoes, soccer jerseys, giuseppe zanotti, nike trainers, canada goose outlet, babyliss pro, canada goose outlet, hollister, jimmy choo shoes, uggs outlet, ugg, mcm handbags

 
At November 5, 2014 at 5:47 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler, moncler outlet, hollister, juicy couture outlet, ralph lauren, moncler, louis vuitton canada, montre femme, moncler, canada goose pas cher, pandora uk, parajumpers outlet, thomas sabo uk, iphone 6 case, ray ban, lancel, oakley, swarovski jewelry, supra shoes, moncler, louboutin, uggs canada, coach outlet, swarovski uk, wedding dress, ugg, canada goose, baseball bats, canada goose, timberland shoes, replica watches, pandora jewelry, gucci, moncler, converse shoes, air max, karen millen, hollister clothing, juicy couture outlet, pandora charms, hollister canada, vans, converse, links of london uk, nike air max, moncler, toms outlet, canada goose uk

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home