There is a myth spreading in the media, mostly bred in condescension, that the Republican Party is heading for an irreversible decline. This myth, egged on by ideologues in the media, Democratic partisans and enabling Republicans who wish to be loved, spreads every time Democrats win two election cycles in a row. The GOP was declared terminal in 1964, 1976, 1992 and today. Among those burying the GOP include E.J. Dionne, James Carville, Colin Powell and one pol known for his loyalty, Sen. Arlen Specter.
It’s all pure “flapdoodle,” of course, to quote a memorable phrase in a long-forgotten New York Times editorial. There is no leftward drift in American politics and no deterioration in conservatism. Most of us are conservative. What’s happening is that the Democratic Party base (about 20 percent of voters) is better organized than the Republican Party’s base, which is also about 20 percent of voters.
Parties get stronger when they return to their ideological roots. The Democratic Party did not regain power by being a mushy version of the Republicans. They built an active, very liberal, very partisan movement that gained momentum during a fading Bush administration. They also recruited an attractive presidential candidate who appealed to many of the 60 percent of voters who are not obsessed with politics.
The absolute WORST thing the Republican Party could do is listen to all those urging them to abandon core conservative values and become “moderate” mushy versions of liberalism light. Peggy Noonan, in the Wall Street Journal, points out that calls for the GOP to be less conservative is always framed by Democrats and leftists, who understand that “whatever the answer, yes or no, it will damage Republicans.”
Republicans need to get out and defend traditional conservative positions on government, immigration, gay marriage, abortion, entitlement reform, the War on Terror, etc. They won’t win battles right now, but with patience they will lay a foundation for a resurgence. Already, the prospect of trillions of dollars being added to the deficit is moving independents away from the Democratic Party. The GOP should unite against these massive spending increases.
Our leaders, Romney, Gingrich, Huntsman, Ridge, Palin, Jindal … need to get out in the public arena and debate their ideological counterparts, just like Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley did so many times. Gingrich, Obama, conservatism versus liberalism, would be fascinating, and I think Gingrich would triumph.
Here’s a link to an interesting Weekly Standard article related to this post: http://www.weeklystandard.com
Before I close, just a quick mention of a pleasant surprise from a Chicago PR firm that handles Wrigley gum. Last week I blogged about losing 80 pounds. I cited Extra gum as a nice no-cal snack choice. Yesterday, in the mail, was a package stuffed with several dozen 15-gum packs of Extra along with a nice note of congratulations from Wrigley. Yeah, I know it’s PR, and it worked, I’m writing about it. But I still think it was very cool. I’m already well stocked with Extra, so I gave away the packs … spreading the low-cal flavor … If you want to read last weight’s weight-loss blog post, it’s below: http://blogs.standard.net/2009/04/28/
One more thing: Due to learning some new computer programs, Currents, our digital-only section on politics and culture (published on Fridays), is taking a one-week break.