“An exit poll conducted by CNN asked, ‘What is the most important candidate quality to your vote?’ Among the four choices were, ‘Strong Leader,’ ‘Shares Your Values,’ ‘Has A Vision for the Future,’ and ‘Cares about People.’ Romney won the first three by more than 54%. But he lost ‘Cares About People’ by 81-18%. That says it all.”
“Behind the failures of Republican campaigns lies an attitude that is administrative rather than combative. It focuses on policies rather than politics. It is more comfortable with budgets and pie charts than with the flesh and blood victims of their opponents’ policies. When Republicans do mention victims they are frequently small business owners and other ‘job creators’ – people who in the eyes of most Americans are rich.
“To counter the Democrat attacks on them as defenders of the comfortable and afflicters of the weak, Republicans really have only one answer: This is a misunderstanding. Look at the facts. We’re not that bad. On the infrequent occasions when they actually take the battle to their accusers, Republicans will say: That’s divisive. It’s class warfare.
“Even if voters were able to ‘look at the facts,’ these are not exactly inspiring responses. They are defensive, and they are whiny, and also complicated. Of course elections are divisive – that is their nature. One side gets to win and the other side loses. But even more troublesome is the fact that responses like this require additional information and lengthy explanations to make sense. Appeals to reason are buried in the raucous noise that is electoral politics. Sorting out the truth would be a daunting task, even if voters were left alone to make up their minds.”
“The only way to confront the emotional campaign that Democrats wage in every election is through an equally emotional campaign that puts the aggressors on the defensive; that attacks them in the same moral language, identifying them as the bad guys, the oppressors of women, children, minorities and the middle class, that takes away from them the moral high ground which they now occupy. You can’t confront an emotionally based moral argument with an intellectual analysis. Yet this is basically and almost exclusively what Republicans do.”
“Republicans seem to think the way to inspire hope is by offering voters practical solutions, such as Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the budget. Paul Ryan is a smart conservative and the Ryan Plan is probably a good one. But with control only of the House, Republicans had no chance of implementing it when they voted on it. Worse, in the real world of political combat, facing an unscrupulous opposition, a plan offered by a party with no means of implementing it is a self-inflicted wound. You can’t put the plan into effect to show that it works, and no one besides policy wonks is going to even begin to understand it. All the plan does is provide the spinners with multiple targets to shoot at – something they will do by distorting the specifics and ignoring the plan itself. For virtually all voters, the plan will be so complicated and its details so obscure that it will remain invisible. Only those who already trust its designers will be persuaded that this is a reason to vote for them.”
“The way for Republicans to show they care about minorities is to defend them against their oppressors and exploiters, which in every major inner city in America without exception are Democrats. Democrats run the welfare and public education systems; they have created the policies that ruin the lives of the recipients of their handouts. It’s time that Republicans started to hold Democrats to account; to put them on the defensive and take away the moral high ground, which they now occupy illegitimately. Government welfare is not just wasteful; it is destructive. The public school system in America’s inner cities is not merely ineffective; it is racist and criminal.”
Trump is now in a position where he could be extremely dangerous. Conservatives are aching for someone with the gonads to take it to Obama and really shake things up in Washington if he happens to win. Many are so fed up that they are willing to jump on almost any bandwagon that even appears to be headed in that direction, even if the driver, like Trump, is totally unreliable.
The popular, charismatic conservative businessman and radio host announced today that he’s forming an exploratory committee to assess his electoral prospects. At RedState, he’s a hit:
In 1977, at age 29 he had a MS in Computer Science. He joined Pillsbury, and within 5 years became VP of Corporate Systems and Services. He quit that post after 2 years, and joined Pillsbury’s Burger King division, learning from the ground up as a burger flipper. Nine months later, he was in charge of 400 stores in Pennsylvania, BK’s worst performing region. in three years, it was the company’s best.
THAT is when Pillsbury sent him to the rescue of their failing Godfathers Pizza chain in 1986. In fourteen months it was profitable and in another year he led his executive team to a buyout of Godfathers from Pillsbury. It gets better but I’ll stop there. You get an idea of the kind of man we are talking about […]
“How’s all that political experience working out for you?” Seriously, name me a government system that is not bloated, broke, or broken. The entitlement system? No? OK, how about those bureaus. Are you pleased with the EPA, FEC, FCC, FDA? How about the Education Department. State Department? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?
Call it a stretch, but maybe Washington DC crammed full of career politicians and bureacrats is not made of pure awesome. Maybe bold, hard-nosed, results-oriented, problem-solving business sense is the kind of thing you want at the top.
Imagine a president with the grit, the tenacity, the pragmatic, practical, no-nonsense, clear-thinking approach that Cain took with Burger King, Godfathers Pizza, and cancer. Then imagine the same guy is a movement conservative. Then imagine the guy actually ran for president.
What I know about his views on the issues is all promising. And Cain certainly interests/excites me more than the rest of the assumed 2012 field (well, with one exception). But I’m not endorsing him yet. Why? It’s simply too early.
As I’ve discussed extensively before (see here, here, here, and here), the Right has an annoying, counterproductive tendency toward anointing heroes prematurely, and getting burned and making fools out of ourselves when the reality falls short of our high expectations.
We’ve got about two years ’till the next election; can we at least wait until after a debate or two before issuing endorsements for anyone? Instead of latching onto someone right away and making him the standard-bearer for all our hopes and dreams, let’s discuss the qualities and principles our next president should ideally have, and then strive to impartially compare all of our choices (including how they campaign and what they promise) to our ideals, to each other, and then make a commitment.
I’ve put a lot of effort here and on NewsReal into defending Sarah Palin from various attacks.
Tonight, I regret every word of it.
Thanks in no small part to her endorsement (as well as that of James Dobson, Jim DeMint, & Erick Erickson), the deranged Rand Paul won the Kentucky GOP’s Senate nomination (more on Paul’s hideous record here and here).
Palin’s celebration of Paul’s victory on tonight’s “Hannity” consisted entirely of empty blather straight out of the Paul camp’s press releases: the grassroots are rising up, the establishment better take notice, blah blah blah. Does she know anything about Paul’s record? About how he’s diametrically opposed to her own views on national security?
Some of you who don’t share Paul’s affinity for appeasement or his tolerance of bigotry might nevertheless think Paul’s win is no big deal, because he only has one vote and most foreign policy will be set by the executive branch. But first, consider that Democrats campaign for keeps – we all know the lengths to which Democrats will go to falsely smear conservatives as extremists; just imagine the field day they’ll have with all of the real dirt in Rand’s closet. I predict a Democrat victory in the general election.
Second, odds are that more than a few mushy Republican pols and would-be candidates will interpret Paul’s win, and his legitimization by other mainstream “true” conservatives, as an indication that it’s okay and/or smart politics to tack left on defense issues. Do we really want two pro-appeasement political parties?
I hope Jim DeMint is rewarded with the primary challenge of his life. And Sarah Palin has proven that she does not deserve the presidency.
The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:
During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.
On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”
In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.” The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites. Continue reading
Now that healthcare reform has passed, there’s been chatter about a possible amnesty encore. Some speculate that “immigration reform could KO health care.” On the surface, that seems to make sense – the public hates ObamaCare and everything the Democrats did to pass it, and given how much they hated amnesty when President Bush pushed it, trying again could backfire spectacularly on the Democrats.
However, it could also end up killing all the momentum and goodwill the GOP’s built up with the public over health care. The GOP will have enough trouble maintaining momentum on healthcare going into 2010 and keeping it all the way to 2012, and unlike healthcare, a fair number of prominent Republicans can be expected to defect to the Left on immigration, casting fresh doubts in voters’ minds as to their judgment, responsibility, values, and trustworthiness.
RNC Chair Michael Steele needs to get in front of this as soon as possible by committing to support only anti-amnesty candidates and opposing any pro-amnesty ones. If the GOP is to regain the public’s trust, it has to make it crystal clear that its defectors – even leaders such as McCain, Kyl, Graham, and McConnell, are just that: defectors.
My NewsReal colleague David Swindle has been debating Pajamas Media’s Mary Grabar on the subject of drug legalization. I side with the arguments made by Grabar, Ann Coulter, and others against legalizing drugs, but I’ve honestly never cared enough about the issue to explore it in depth.
I know there’s an argument that true conservatives should recognize that arresting people for voluntary drug use goes beyond the proper role of limited government. But y’know what? We’ve got plenty of cases of government overreach and violated rights in this country that don’t involve destructive behavior—stolen property due to eminent domain abuses, innocent babies destroyed in the womb, politicians constantly looking for new excuses to paw through their constituents’ wallets—that frankly, the tribulations of potheads fighting for the right to light up register pretty low on my sympathy meter and priority list.
But hey, maybe the Founding Fathers really would side with the libertarians on this one. I’ll read with open-minded interest David & Mary’s continued exchanges, but I have to strongly disagree with one of David’s assertions:
John McCain lost to Barack Obama because of politics, not culture. Obama was a more exciting candidate who ran a much more effective campaign. It’s that simple.
A conservatism that can win is one which understands itself and defines itself as a political movement, not a cultural one. To do otherwise is to begin to destroy a functioning coalition that has been vital to defending America since Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley Jr., and Ronald Reagan brought it together in the 20th century. Conservatism must take the same approach to culture as the Constitution does — neutrality. Such an attitude worked for the document which has guided and protected our country for centuries and it will work for the Movement who has the same objective.
Far be it from me to read too much into the defeat of John McCain, the poster boy for almost everything a Republican shouldn’t be. 2008 was the culmination of years of GOP incompetence and lack of principle, and for reasons completely unrelated to ideology, Barack Obama was perfectly positioned to seize upon it.
But it’s another thing entirely to assume that culture played no part in Obama’s ascendance. A culture that worships gratification (particularly sexual) without responsibility or constraints, that believes truth is personal and relativistic rather than grounded in permanent wisdom, that has been conditioned to expect everyone else to provide for their every need and clean up after their every mistake, that sneers at traditional morality and religious belief…these trends and attitudes cannot help but play into the Left’s hands.
Simply put, a narcissistic, relativistic, secular, ignorant culture will always be receptive to a political movement that promises to give them things paid for with other people’s money, affirms their “if it feels good, do it” mentality, and assures them that supporting statism and “environmental consciousness” are the only forms of morality or compassion they’ll ever really need.
A conservatism that disregards our culture will not win; indeed, its political prospects will only diminish further still. I grew up in a public school system completely dominated by the Left. I have seen time after time how easily the average apolitical teen, bereft of solid core values and spoon-feed the consensus of popular culture, assumes the Left’s claims on government’s role and conservatives’ evil to be true, to say nothing of every liberal myth from man-made global warming to the military-industrial complex.
More importantly, I have seen the Right’s feeble response. This is a battle in which the conservative movement is largely—and the Republican Party is completely—AWOL. How many conservatives are formulating strategies to break the Left’s stranglehold on education, both K-12 and college? How many are drawing attention to the corruption of Church teachings on compassion? How many on Capitol Hill are challenging the Left’s poisonous sexual dogma, or publicly illustrating the connection between the Democrat Party and the cultural forces it cultivates and feeds upon?
Republican electoral failures cannot be attributed to a nonexistent emphasis on culture; indeed, it’s far more likely that our woes are intimately tied to our dereliction of duty on this front. The same old tactics—conservatives talking to the same radio audiences, writing in the same magazines, and posting on the same blogs, all mostly to each other—will win converts to the Right from time to time, but not in numbers that can even begin to compare to how many people are unwittingly fed liberal presuppositions about the world by stealth in their schools, TV shows, music, and churches, all of which form an echo chamber, reaffirming the messages for one another.
Republican strategists tend to think short-term: what will get us back into power in the next couple election cycles? Say what you want about Democrats (Lord knows I’ve said plenty), but they see the big picture, and play for keeps. Conservatives need to open their eyes to it, as well, and settle in for the long haul. Any real, lasting return to the conservative values of the American Founding will require comprehensive strategies and solid commitments to oppose liberal encroachments on every front.
David invoked President Reagan in his post; let me conclude by doing the same. In his Farewell Address to the American people, Reagan said:
I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson No. 1 about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins.
UPDATE: David has responded here. It seems the differences between our positions are less than they initially appeared, and I certainly agree with his central point, that the force of law is not an instrument of value enforcement. I’ll have more thoughts later, but thanks to David for his thoughtful reply.
Yesterday Republicans took the governor’s mansions of Virginia & New Jersey, and Maine voted for true marriage. David Horowitz is hailing Virginia’s ideological turnaround in particular as bad news for Barack Obama:
The 62-38 swing by 8:30PM EST is a thirty point electoral swing since last November. And in a state whose northern heavily populated districts front on the White House lawn and whose news is national news. It’s early; New Jersey isn’t in. But the significance of this landslide cannot be understated. An electorally decisive part of the electorate who voted for Obama last November voted against him in Virginia today.
Which means: Obamacare is dead. For now.
Postscript: New Jersey, when you consider that Obama won the state by 15 points is also a landslide shift (20 points) — mainly among independents. By not governing as a centrist Obama has forfeited his margin of victory and doomed his health care reform. On CNN Carville said: If he doesn’t pass health care, the Democrats are going to get “slaughtered” because they will have shown that they can’t govern — they can’t get things done.
The Democrats’ only major victory is New York 23, where GOP bosses sunk gobs of money into a left-wing Republican, who was then trounced by the conservative third-party candidate Doug Hoffman. Hoffman lost to Democrat Bill Owens, leading the usual suspects to blast the conservatives who rallied behind Hoffman.
Hoffman might not have been a dream candidate, but given how liberal (not to mention stupid and dishonest) the official GOP choice was, you can’t blame anyone for supporting him. A four-point loss isn’t bad at all for somebody without experience as a candidate or a lawmaker; imagine how well he could have done if he had the support he should have had from the Republican Party all along (or if, at the very least, they hadn’t been actively working against him).
And besides, just because David Frum has decided to put politics over principle doesn’t give him the right to demand that the rest of us do the same. The Republican Party’s self-preservation and expansion of power is not an end to itself—it’s a vehicle for advancing certain principles, and only has worth to the extent that it reflects or advances those principles.