Since even before Mitt Romney went down to defeat, Drew M over at Ace of Spades has been very down on the Republican Party. Which is why I was surprised when he wrote this the other day:
A conservative country that claims to support smaller government doesn’t elect Barack Obama not once but twice (no matter how awful Romney was). A conservative country doesn’t run up annual $1 trillion deficits and a $16 trillion cumulative debt. A conservative country doesn’t accept ObamaCare as either good policy or a law within the bounds of the Constitution. A conservative country doesn’t build a welfare state that has unfunded liabilities of “$86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP” and growing.
I could go on but you know the rest.
Far from being a bulwark against this out of control spending and growth in federal partner, the GOP has been at best an enabler and at worst a perpetrator.
And I don’t blame the GOP one bit.
Political parties and politicians are about winning elections. In the end the best way to win an election is to give a majority of the people in the electorate what they want. What far too many Americans want (even some conservative Republicans in good standing) is other people’s stuff.
How many people who voted for Mitt Romney or actual conservatives for Senate and the House want their Social Security and Medicare left untouched? How many of them give lip service to a flat tax proposal but would freak if their various tax credits and deductions were eliminated? How many of them talk a good game about getting rid of the Department of Education but would freak if aid to their kid’s district were cut?
Of course Republicans are going to respond to these people. But these people who support all sorts of government spending while talking about “the damn government” and taxes are the problem.
It’s a must read, so go ahead and hit that link. I’ll be here when you come back.
Here’s the slightly weird situation the Republican Party finds itself in circa 2013. The House of Reprazentin‘s GOP majority is still fairly solid, at least if you’re going by raw numbers. Many members of the current House were elected in the 2010 anti-Obama wave. They can cite their ’10 and ’12 elections to credibly argue that the constituencies they represent didn’t elect them to become President Leftist McDreamboat’s rubber stamp brigade.
So there are motivated conservatives in the House. That’s great. Problematically, they may only be a slim majority of the lower chamber’s majority. Given how many of the GOP representatives have voted recently, that may be a wildly optimistic count. Then, slap the number of conservatives Republicans with the all-but-extinct Blue Dog Democrats. Add them together and it’s unclear if there is a working right-center coalition in the House that can get anything done on entitlements, spending or tax reform.
The other big hurdle to conservative reform is the fact that the American people just re-elected the most liberal president since LBJ and the most liberal Senate majority since the Oliver Cromwell took over England. The House GOP could eliminate the income tax and replace it with a 10% VAT at 9:00 am tomorrow. By 9:01, Harry Reid would’ve killed the bill in the Senate and by 9:02 Obama would be using page one of the statute to fire up his Parliament Ultra Lights.
In Congressional races, when the constituency is often more conservative than the general US population, a Republican can do well selling a right of center message to the voters. This is why a solidly blue state like Illinois can still elect six Republican congress-peeps out of their 18 seat delegation. Get beyond the House level and it’s harder for the current GOP to sell it’s message to voters in national races.
So should the Republican Party just pack it in? Obama certainly wants them broken and divided. The GOP has been so cowardly that there’s been talk that the National Rifle Association could become the opposition party.
Drew M suggests that conservatives focus on winning back the American culture. That’s a very necessary thing, but not everyone is a novelist, filmmaker, musician or television director. Non-artsy conservatives need a role in creating a more favorable political environment for the Right.
The state and local levels of government have a viable blueprint. There the Republican Party is not just surviving, it’s thriving. Conservative ideas are winning in Obama-fied blue states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio.
Scoring victories in state races and gubernatorial elections doesn’t sound as sexxxy as vaporizing Harry Reid’s Senate majority, but it is. Our federalist system gives conservatives fifty states to win governorships, mayors’ contests, school boards memberships, town council positions and representative races. Getting decent people into these spots will foster a saner, less suicidal political culture at the grass-roots level.
Helping right-of-center candidates win local elections doesn’t just have an immediate positive impact on communities. It also creates a deep bench of conservative political talent. The Republican Party has the worst congressional leadership since the 1960’s. The last two presidential elections have seen the party field it’s weakest candidates since FDR was trouncing Herbert Hoover and Alf Landon.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You want leaders that don’t cry or cower every five seconds? Then you have to encourage anti-Boehners and non-McConnells to stand up. The process of getting them into positions of of national power starts by getting them elected in local contests.
The R\ght is simply too DC-centric. We keep saying how the Beltway culture is poison to our values. Worse, we can see that the federal government isn’t going to get any friendlier to conservative ideas any time soon. Well, if that’s the case, then it makes sense for traditionalists to go someplace where they can actually do some good.
It’s time we stop caring so much about what Eric Cantor does. It’s long past time that we start paying very close attention to what our state senator is saying. Who knows, that person might just get elected President some day.
MORE TO THE STORY: You know why else conservatives don’t owe the national Republican party jack shit? The national GOP hasn’t really done anything for them lately. Forget about how the Tea Party never got the credit it deserved for the 2010 midterms. Don’t bring up the way the Republican Senate Election dudes can’t pick decent candidates to take back upper chamber.
More damning than all that is the GOP’s last two presidential picks. They both seem purposefully designed–at least in hindsight–to alienate as much of the conservative party base as possible. John McCain snubbed religious conservatives nearly every time he could afford to. Mitt Romney’s pro-life/pro-gun/pro-marriage stances were of a suspiciously recent vintage. Even more stupid than Mitt’s trying to buy conservative bona fides was his decision to defend those positions in the meekest more apologetic least forceful way possible. If you’re gonna jump on the pro-life bandwagon, you may as well use it to your advantage.
The GOP is just not that into conservatives. Republicans will take right-wingers on a date and hook up with them back at the frat, but that’s as far as it’s gonna go. Playas are gonna play after all.
It’s just one more reason why the right should forget about the establishment Republicans in Washington. They suck at politics, they can’t win and they dislike their base. That’s enough for me.
I hope Reince Preibus is still bosom buddoes with Sheldon Adelson.
ONE MORE THING: Bob Belvedere of the brilliant Camp Of The Saints wrote about this like three days ago. As usual, my timing is awesome. Check it out.
…it is time for a showdown between the forces that want to aggregate to the national government more powers than those that are enumerated in The Constitution and those of us who believe that it should be followed to the letter.
‘Legal expert’ Jeffrey Toobin, per usual, gets it wrong:
“A sheriff does not get to decide whether laws are constitutional,” he said. “Unless a court invalidates a law, he’s obligated to enforce it.”
That’s become the practice, but it is simply not the way it is or is supposed to be. All officials who take an oath to The Constitution are individually responsible for assuring that it not be violated. Further, by said oath they are obligated not to enforce any law or regulation that they believe would cause them to violate their oaths. If someone disagrees, the matter may be settled in a court of law, but oath-taking officials do have this power/responsibility. And they should not fear exercising it. It’s their duty.
The national government is beyond hope.
Read the whole thing.