Monday, October 27, 2008
hope for the republican party
If I understand it correctly, the Blankley/Rush argument goes like this:
1) Reagan-style conservatism remains wildly popular with the American people. It was the "blueprint" for winning landslides between 1980 and 1994, and it remains the blueprint today.
2) Yet for some unaccountable mysterious reason, politicians are ignoring this blueprint! There is not a strong elected conservative voice in the country today.
3) So obviously what we need to do is return to the politics of the 1980s - and sit back and collect the rewards.
This argument raises one big question:
Could it be possible that the reason that we lack Reagan-style conservatives in elected office today is that they are having trouble getting elected? ...
Take a look at this poll from Stanley Greenberg. (Yes Greenberg's a Democrat - but he's long proven himself a realistic analyst of American politics. Greenberg is the guy who identified Macomb County, Michigan, as the heartland of the "Reagan Democrats" - and warned Democrats that they were losing both Macomb and the nation.)While a sizeable majority of voters say Republicans have lost in 2006 and 2008 because they have been “too conservative,” a sizeable plurality of Republicans say, it is because they have “not been conservative enough.”
Over three-quarters of Republicans say Palin was good choice, while a majority of the electorate says the opposite.
Two-thirds of Republicans say McCain has not been aggressive enough, but a majority of voters think they have been too aggressive.
Looking to the future, a large majority of Republicans say the party needs to “move more to the right and back to conservative principles,” while an even larger majority of all voters say, it should move to the “center to win over moderate and independent voters.”
When Rush and Blankley tell us the blueprint is there, if only we would follow it, they are telling us something that is not true. They are offering flattering illusions when we need truth. They are leading us to disaster - and beyond disaster, to irrelevance.
and to frum's pragmatism you might add this essay by the atlantic's ross douthat. there is hope for the republican party. but it will have to manifest through some time in the political wilderness, and probably more many lost elections, the example of which empowers pragmatic conservatives in their efforts to salvage what can be taken from the wreckage of this stunning trainwreck of radicals and luddites.