Articles

Sunday, August 04, 2013

A Schizophrenic Elephant

The Republican Party's biggest problem is mental illness. The big elephant party is suffering from a severe case of split personality disorder. It's an old problem that has only gotten worse over the years.

It can be hard to remember sometimes while swimming in the media bubble that depicts the Republican Party as some offshoot of the John Birch Society, the KKK and the Confederacy, that it's the exact opposite. All of the organizations mentioned got their start opposing the Republican Party. The Republican Party might have been considered radical before the Civil War, but by the time it was over, it had become the ultimate big government party. It was the oversized elephant tying together big government and big industry.

The Republican Party spent generations running on Lincoln, the Civil War and Unionism. It followed the politics of what would much later be described as Eisenhowerism. And those politics were reasonably successful. Big government and big business got along really well. Industries boomed, land was opened up and a big country got bigger and bigger. Not everyone was happy, but not everyone mattered.

The Elephant was socially liberal and fiscally conservative. It believed in growth and modernity. It championed national power over regional power. It was concerned about social problems and looking for ways to bind the country together around a shared set of values that could be exported around the world. If you want to understand what it was like, find a top big city Republican donor and talk to him about the issues. You'll get a faint echo of the party from back then.

The Elephant Party liked the way things were and it had no idea what came next. That void was exposed by two Roosevelts; Theodore and Franklin. Both men were reformers with dramatically different visions for the future. The Republican Party was not ready to deal with either man. It suppressed Teddy and ended up being ground under by Franklin.

The cult of personality built up around FDR created a political void that could not easily be filled. That opened the door for Eisenhower and the clumsy resurgence of the Republican Party around the same old  big government and big industry, tied together with a big red Anti-Communist bow. That party's greatest moment of triumph came when Reagan combined all these together and added militant attacks on big government to create a new wave of populism.

Reagan's populism brought home the schizophrenia of a Republican Party whose base sounded more like Goldwater and whose leadership still sounded the same.

The Republican Party became lost in the political currents and found itself stuck with a populist base that opposed most of its values. The contradictions were paved over with rhetoric. The GOP would pretend to represent the values of its base on social and economic issues, even as worked against them. And no matter how often this baffling betrayal takes place, it's always a shock to a base that imagines that the Republican Party must stand for the same values as its voters. It doesn't. It never did.

The GOP is still basically the same party that it was after the Civil War. It believes that big government can make the country work, that centralizing everything will make the country more modern and that anything that contributes to growth must be good. And it's stuck with a base of Jacksonian Democrats who are highly suspicious of centralized power, value their independence and don't think that anyone should tell them what to do. Meanwhile the Republican Party's donors come from a more traditional Republican brand of politics.

Every now and then, a Republican Party leader must feel tempted to stand up and say. "Folks, you've got us wrong. We don't really stand for any of the things that you think we do. We like small business, in theory. But we like big business more. That's about all we have in common. Also we're still against Communism, not that it matters anymore. But we're fine with having a lot of government agencies. We created most of them. And we like abortion and gay rights. We're also on board with Global Warming, illegal immigration and some international law."

That rarely happens. It rarely happens because that Republican Party is the one that was nearly consigned to oblivion in the first half of the last century. And as the Romney campaign showed, running on a platform of nothing but big business is not very inspiring. If Romney had actually been honest about his views, instead of dressing them up to win the primaries, he would have done even worse in the general election.

But while the official announcement doesn't get made, radical pivots like amnesty reveal that the GOP that most people think that they know is a front. Rubio and Ryan pivoted on amnesty for illegal aliens because it's what they really believed all along. They just couldn't say it until they were told that the pivot was here and that they would be rewarded for pushing it along.

The same is true of countless other issues such as gay marriage. The rhetoric is there, but it has no conviction because the real GOP doesn't believe in it.

It never did.

The GOP "folds" on so many issues, because it doesn't believe in them. It isn't really folding, it's shrugging and counting on its base to move on.

The schizophrenic elephant consists of a party without a base and a base without a party. The base is still represented widely in lower offices. You can find plenty of Republican Jacksonians in local and state offices. There are a respectable number of them in Congress. But there are only a handful in the Senate who really mean what they say. And forget about the White House.

The GOP may be able to reconcile itself to a Rand Paul, sacrificing its national security plank to keep its socially liberal values and free trade core intact, but not to a Ted Cruz who represents something far closer to its populist base. Give the Elephant Party someone it can agree with on illegal alien amnesty, sending jobs to China and shrugging at all the Bible Belt stuff... while winning back the approval of the Tea Party and it can work with that.

The great tragedy of the Republican Party is that it never adapted to the rise of the left. It is still in many ways a late 19th century party full of devout faith in the rites of progress and the power of modernity. It believes that progress is inevitable, but that it's being mismanaged by ideologues who don't understand business. The last election's clash between Mitt Romney, who best represented that progressive big business elephant, and Barack Obama, who has become the most successful left-wing politician in American history since FDR, aptly summed up the problem.

The Republican Party did not really understand what the coming of FDR meant and they had some excuse for their inability to fully grasp the coming transformation. But the Republican Party of 2012 had no such excuses and yet was still unable to come to grip with what Barack Obama meant for America in the way that its base had begun articulating vocally before the midterm elections.

The elephant is out of touch with the enemy and out of touch with its own base. It's out of touch with America and the world. It dwells in a comfortable bubble where nation building still works, amnesty solves problems and a few good attack ads can swing any election. It doesn't understand the issues on foreign policy and it can't connect with domestic issues anymore. That bubble is Washington D.C.

But the real tragedy is the Republican base, the working Americans misrepresented by a party that dislikes them almost as much as it needs them.

The Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, never amounted to very much. It ceased being radical shortly after it came into being and instead became a government party. It's the wasted energy and votes of its base who might have been able to make a difference that it has siphoned off in multiple elections. The voters who might have been able to save America instead wasted their votes and energies on the likes of Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, who for all their youthful cred, preach the discredited politics of another era, while scrambling to connect with voters facing the fallout of their policies.

The Republican Party can be transformed, the schizophrenic elephant can be healed, but first we have to recognize what it is and what it isn't.

44 comments:

Edward Cline said...

In short, what you're saying, Daniel, is that the Republican Party is intellectually and morally bankrupt, and hasn't the wits to grasp that fact, or the honesty to admit it if members of it do grasp it. All it has been able to do since, say, Teddy Roosevelt, is adopt the Democratic agenda, but caution, "Not so fast! We've got to give the people time to adapt to change. Otherwise, you'll alienate them." The Republican Party has stood for absolutely nothing for decades, and if it wanted to stand for something, simply adopted the moral and political agenda of the Democrats. The Republican Party has been acting like a vacuum. Because it is afraid to stand for anything lest it lose support, all it can do is say, "Me, too!" The things it should stand for – individual rights, the sanctity of private property, freedom of speech – it won’t represent because these are literally too radical to burden its atrophied mind. The Republicans fear these issues more than do the Democrats.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the GOP is largely comprised of whores and snake oil salesmen.

Sell the apple pie vision of America, and they its a headlong race into the gutter.

Anonymous said...

great read but you're wrong about Rand Paul

People talk in broad criticisms about his foreign policy, but I have yet to hear him advocate a specific foreign policy action that most of our side would disagree with.

Also, the GOP would be sacrificing far more than foreign policy if they rallied around Paul. He is extremely anti-big government. He would wipe out entire federal agencies.

Paul and Cruz are hardly distinguishable except perhaps on amnesty (even there Paul would not support the Go8 bill).

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Edward, the Republican Party stands for "good big government". It's unable to understand that this means and has meant socialism for a while.

Anon, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are far apart on national security. Rand Paul has the same views as his father, except he's more vague about them.

sykes.1 said...

Perfect.

However, no reformation is possible unless the current leadership is expelled from the Party. And since they hold the power, they can't be expelled.

With ever increasing minority power, it is likely that we will see an explicitly white nationalist party emerge. This will be a decidedly minority party, but it would draw some of the Republican base and reduce the remaining Republicans to a fringe party.

On the Democrat side, the very real competition between blacks and Mexicans/Central Americans might fission that party, too.

If that happens, we could end up with the more common situation of multiple parties and coalitions. We probably already have that in a disguised form, but an explicit version would make for different kinds of coalitions as politicians jockey for power.

Bannor said...

Yeah that pretty much sums it up. From Lincoln to FDR the GOP was the party of government. FDR changed that and since then the democrats have been the party of government. That's why we've seen the shift in regional voting, how it's flip flopped from the south being the democrat stronghold to the dems being nearly extinct there. Once the Democrats permanently supplanted the GOP as the party of government the GOP by default became the opposition party, so it has a base that's there in opposition to the democrats and has no where else to go.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Daniel, I think you are right with the diagnosis of the ailing elephant. The party has no principles, stands for nothing and is therefore, as Edward Cline says, intellectually and morally bankrupt. Although it had a radical beginning, even at that time, the party was schizophrenic, existing only to oppose slavery, but with no firm foundation for principled liberty. It was and is merely conservative. Goldwater was rejected by the party itself, and Reagan won with no thanks to the party, but to the people who were energized by his libertarianism and in what he did accomplish, only to be betrayed by his big government conservative approach to personal liberties.

For these reasons, your prognosis does not fit the diagnosis. To put it bluntly, your last line doesn't scan. The GOP can recover? How? You don't provide evidence for how the philosophical breach is not foundational, and how it can be repaired. The so-called "base" is not a foundation, but has a fundamentally different identity from the establishment. A transfusion bringing that new blood into the ailing elephant will result in a serious reaction that may well finish it off.

Most Americans are, deep down, libertarian (small "l") but are not to be confused with the equally divided Libertarian Party that has its own cadre of destructive radicals. We see this around the country every time we talk to people using the World's Smallest Quiz. They are not conservative, nor are they anarchists. They want to live their lives, accomplish their goals and prosper. The Republican Party, it's anti-slavery fire long since spent, wants Americans to sit down, shut up and let them get on with their wheeling and dealing at our expense. The Democrat party wants To transform Americans into good little prols, sacrificing our own lives for their radical visions. Both want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg and then keep it on life support so that they can suck out its substance with no thought to what happens when they have consumed us utterly.

The GOP has gone the way of the Whigs, and will not utter so much as a polite protest while the radical wing of the Democratic Party sells us into slavery.

We need a new party. One that represents us.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

the key to a recovery is the nature of the shift

The Ds have become the party of big government as welfare state. The Rs have had to embrace libertarianism in theory, while still clinging to the idea of big government as the handmaiden of big business. The Romney loss and two O victories have come closer to breaking that illusion.

mmercier said...

We Birchers nailed this current situation in the sixties.

It remains for those presently up to their eyeballs with communists, and two retarded generations of idiots, to determine a mechanism to reconcile.

We told you this was coming.


Suck it up.

mmercier said...

We Birchers nailed this current situation in the sixties.

It remains for those presently up to their eyeballs with communists, and two retarded generations of idiots, to determine a mechanism to reconcile.

We told you this was coming.


Suck it up.

gizmo54 said...

We need a new party. One that represents us.
Perhaps...but perhaps we can save the elephant.

I am awaiting Mark Levin's solution in his new book to come out August 13th..."The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic".
You can read Chapter One here: http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/08/02/read-first-chapter-mark-levins-liberty-amendments

MJUdall said...

I agree with almost all that you said here and as usual a great read. I would have to disagree on who it is that should lead such a populist conservative movement. Rand Paul's problem isn't only foreign policy views. As you wrote about this in several of your Front Page columns, he has a tendency to flip flop all over the place on issues like amnesty and a few other social issues. Paul's amnesty plan he spoke about in front of a hispanic audience in March was basically the same thing as the McSchumer/Rubio bill. I do not think the remedy for the GOP is more libertarianism. It seems most libertarians embrace liberal values on most social issues today. Those social issues eventually will have an effect on the fiscal. Ted Cruz is great but I'd like to see him become a presence in the Senate for the right like Reid was for the left. From Ted's own mouth at CPAC 2013 "I would not be in the Senate without Sarah Palin." As in 2010, many of those in the Congress and the Senate were saying the same thing. If not to the media, to themselves. She is a national figure and one who excites the base much like Reagan did in the 70s. instead of the conservative base looking for the next flavor of the month or poser that has been co opted by the Beltway establishment, perhaps we should give Palin a second look. Is she going to run? I don't know. But its also uncertain if any of the fox news favorites Rubio, Bush, Ryan, Christie, Paul are going to run either. I frankly wouldn't be comfortable supporting any of them.

roger u said...

The 19th century Republican Party was radical in that it was anti-constitution, it was the party of central government at the expense of State sovereignity. As such, I don't think the GOP has changed all that much, I think, as Bannor commented, the Democrats just hopped farther to the liberal side in the 20th century.

I, personally, think its time to start a new party, or all of us migrate over to an existing third party. Let's let the GOP rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

The conservative "base" has almost had it with the establishment leadership. They are missing a massive opportunity to fundamentally change DC by not pushing for abolishing the IRS and going for a flat tax. They don't want to give up any power.

gizmo54 said...

"The Framers anticipated this day might arrive, for they knew that republics deteriorate at first from within. They provided a lawful and civil way to repair what has transpired. We, the people, through our state legislatures—and the state legislatures, acting collectively—have enormous power to constrain the federal government, reestablish self-government, and secure individual sovereignty."
~ Mark Levin..."The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic".

Anonymous said...

Daniel, thank you for an interesting and thought-provoking commentary.

However, it seems to me that your premise is wrong. There is no such thing as "the" Republican Party, just as there is no such thing as "the" Right.

The Left is intellectually united, by its greater or lesser adherence to dialectical materialism. What is termed "the Right", by contrast, is united only by its opposition to the Left. Any movement that is broad enough to contain both Ayn Rand acolytes and ultramontanist Catholics cannot possibly be intellectually unified. So, what we have in America is not the Left and the Right, but rather the Left and the Anti-Left.

Likewise with the Republicans. The Democrats are united in their mission to impose a one-party state like that in Cook County, Illinois - call it a kinder, gentler Leninism. The Republican Party contains those who oppose that; and that umbrella group contains everyone from the Religious Right to Libertarians. So, we don't really have two parties in the classic sense of two groups advocating competing philosophies of governance: rather, what we have are the Democrats and the Anti-Democrats.

Any movement or party that coalesces such wildly different groups as the Right/Republicans do, must have fault lines. The Left knows this, and exploits it. Further, since the Right/Republicans oppose rather than propose, they are hamstring when it comes to advocating a program of governance. People ask, reasonably, what the Republicans will *do* if they acquire power - besides, as William F. Buckley put it, "stand on the tracks of history shouting 'No'"?

We must acknowledge that the groups in our coalition have vastly different philosophies and goals. Would it be possible to devise a lowest-common-denominator program for all, or most of, those groups? I wonder if it's possible; but we damn well better try, or the Democrats will succeed in their goal of giving all power to the state, and the state to themselves.

Anonymous said...

This has the odor of being written by a Libertarian, exemplified in this liberal phrase: "Social liberal *values*" The word *values* is inappropriate. *Values* belong to Social Conservatives. It's no wonder the Libertarian Party remains a side line distraction.... Pushing some election victories over to the democrats. Libertarians attract potheads *_* So go figure.

That said, the article missed some highlights. The Republican Party trekked leftward with the democrats for many decades with social liberalism. Politicians campaigned Conservative, but voted with the liberals on many issues, like Dick Lugar of Indiana. Republicans also continued doing the same as the democrats with big spending, big government, corrupt spending, cronyism, elitism and etc. For many many years, Conservatives had to hold their nose and vote "R", in order to NOT vote for an odor with an even more vile stench. Yeah, we knew we were being lied to on many points, but there was no choice until the 2010 election cycle, when we had enough, rose up and stood our ground.

Of both parties, the democrats are truly the fools, they actually think their party is working for them. These are the low information voters that get their news and views from Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher and more. Then when elections roll around, they get real serious and forfeit their Dancing with the Stars type of shows and tune into MSNBC. The democratic party, 0bama and organized labor is supported by the CPUSA. The democrats maintain unification in their collective subconscious, like a mindless ant colony. No wonder, they are pressing a form of Communism in reality, but that pesky Constitution keeps getting in their way.

An important thing to remember is this: Republican is a party, Conservatism is an ideology. The two can be joined, but not always.

Geoffrey Britain said...

I am in agreement with Daniels analysis of the Republican Party.

I am doubtful however of his claim that, "The Republican Party can be transformed, the schizophrenic elephant can be healed, but first we have to recognize what it is and what it isn't." I am also doubtful that it would even be wise to attempt it, given the damage to the republican 'brand' that the leftist media has bludgeoned it with over many decades.

Many of us are in agreement that a new party is desirable but there are obstacles to that path as well. The Tea Party was and is an attempt to form a new party devoted to small government and constitutional principles. The media crucified it and have 'established' it in the minds of many as racist.

That is of course a grave lie but it is the perception of many and the MSM will continue to insist upon that characterization. Any new conservative party will face that form of political assassination.

But even if that were absent, any new conservative party faces two fundamental obstacles; membership and a lack of capital. Approx. 35% of the American public is firmly conservative/libertarian. The 20% needed to win elections is composed of strict libertarians, independents and Reagan democrats.

To win their votes takes money for ads. BIG campaign money comes from those with deep pockets, which are the Republican establishment's BIG donors. Who are NOT small government, constitutional supporters. What they support is maintenance of the financial status quo, enhancement of their influence and financial gains.

And therein lies the conundrum that conservatives face. It is this paradigm that any new conservative party faces.

I can think of only two paradigm breaking possibilities; the use of the internet in some new fashion to reach that 20% who are sympathetic to conservative persuasion, reducing the need for big campaign donors and/or persuading Republican Establishment big donors that their long term interest lies in a new party that can stop the leftists democrats. Because the Republican party's consistent capitulation to the leftist democrat party is going to, in time lead to a regulated communism in which the rich will be stripped of everything they have.

Any new party needs votes and operating capital. Wishful thinking will NOT result in the acquisition of either of those fundamental needs. We have the base and viable arguments, so acquiring the votes needed is possible, it is in acquiring the financing necessary to getting that message to those open to persuasion wherein the challenge lies.

roger in florida said...

Mr. Greenfield; another very interesting read, thank you.
As I read the responses talking about some "New Party" coming into being I have to wonder at the naiveté. The last presidential election proved beyond any doubt whatsoever that a majority of the American people are on the take from Govt. and that they realize that any talk of "limited govt.", "individual responsibility", etc. are threats to their income security. I don't particularly mean welfare recipients although they as a group are certainly aware of their interests and will vote accordingly. There is a vast mass of people who rely on Govt. at one level or another for their livelihoods, many of these incidentally are extremely well rewarded. Take for example Michelle Obama; a law school graduate (Harvard) who is completely unfitted intellectually, or otherwise, to practice law, but she was able to get a position with a Govt. financed hospital as "diversity coordinator" at a salary of $350,000.00 per year, a position so vital that when she left, to take up the infinitely more rewarded position of FLOTUS, the hospital didn't replace her. Do any of you seriously think that she, or the many like her, are going to vote for "fiscal responsibility"?
Neither is she alone, Federal Govt. employees are massively overpaid in comparison to their counterparts in private industry, and this goes for state and local Govts also.
the reason for this is that people intuitively understand that big govt. will always find the money to pay for the positions it wishes to keep, so, for instance, the "black middle class", which is entirely the result of govt. set asides and affirmative action will always vote for govt.
The reason that the Federal Reserve is buying US Treasury bills (that is; funding the US Govt.) at the rate of $80Bn a month is to keep this nonsense moving along. This debt can never be repaid; if the US Govt. suddenly decided to live within it's tax revenues and make a small (say $500m a year) program to retire the $17Tr of long term debt, the process would take more than 30,000 years, this for a country only 220 years old!
So what is going to happen? I believe the most likely scenario will be more of the same until total ruin, and then more ruin, for an example see Argentina. The major reason for this is demographic, the people who would sacrifice for the good of the Republic are greatly outnumbered by those on the take. There is no possibility of a political party espousing fiscal responsibility (and meaning it!) getting elected, so the path is set, the wheel is lashed, over the falls we go!
Your description of the republican party is right on the money, they are utterly useless. Where I disagree is in your belief that they are retrievable, I don't believe it.



meema said...

Daniel, yet another eloquently stated but pointedly painful truth. I wish you were right that it could be turned around but I'm sorry, I have to agree with Roger in Florida–there is no way to reverse what has been set in motion.

What does this mean? Something on a global scale humanity has never experienced before. Makes me beyond sad.

Unknown said...

As a base we haven't focused enough on primary races. This is starting to change.

If you've been in Congress 20+ years you need to be replaced (unless you are an anomaly with an outstanding record of leading and advancing the conservative cause).

Too many elected Republicans are happy to be a minority party as long as they get to enjoy the trappings of the office.

They need to learn that no one is irreplaceable.

Mitch McConnell is a good place to start. He has presided over three decades of government expansion and done little to fight against it.

It doesn't matter who we replace him with. They can be voted out in six years if need be. The important thing is to send a message that the base cannot be taken for granted, and that elected republicans will be held accountable.

Oengus said...

Roger in FL: "There is no possibility of a political party espousing fiscal responsibility (and meaning it!) getting elected, so the path is set, the wheel is lashed, over the falls we go! Your description of the republican party is right on the money, they are utterly useless. Where I disagree is in your belief that they are retrievable, I don't believe it."

Whigs and Mensheviks … The GOP has managed to combine the two into a vision of perfect uselessness, a woolly mamoth that is lumbering into a ash bin of extinction.

But I think Roger is correct. They are not retrievable. A few individual rats here and there might escape the sinking ship, having decided that it's better to just "cash-in" and join the nomenklatura and help run the new political order.

IgorR said...

The most important question is WHY the party doesn't change when it disagrees with the base and doesn't win elections. Some educated guesses:

-The donors really control it, and they care more about the old ideology than about winning.
-The consultants control it, and they find the current situation more financially beneficial since that's what they know and somehow they still get hired and paid a lot while losing.
-The whole thing is a charade, the same people control both parties (not completely of course) and create an illusion of democracy.

Reince Priebus claimed this weekend that the party is not split on immigration. Even Baghdad Bob wasn't this clueless or this treacherous. This party is a sick puppy, Rove, McCain, Graham, Rubio, and Ryan considered.

V the K said...

One thing that conservatives, moderates, and liberals all agree on is that we hate the Republican Party.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Igor, it can't change. It's a hypocrite forever split between its beliefs and its necessities

the donors and the consultants are part of the elite and their views carry the day so the party walks the tricky line between outreach to the base and doing what they believe is right

Anonymous said...

Terrific analysis. This synthesizes a lot of what I've slowly come to realize, and I've been an active Republican at the local (unit) level for 20 years.

After they get elected, Republicans don't like the pressures to cut government and stand up to liberals. It's a tough job. I know plenty of businessmen who call for limited government -- until the tax breaks for their business gets eliminated.

IMHO,conservatives must gain control of the GOP rather than start a third party, and I say that even though I've actively supported Tea Parties and Tea Party candidates for the last 4 years.

It might be a long, ugly battle, but we have the leverage if we are willing to make it clear that we are willing to split the GOP and make it lose if there isn't a change. BECAUSE THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE GOP IF IT DOESN'T CHANGE.

Martin said...

The Democrats are the party of obscenely large, ever-expanding government. If the Republican party is the party of ever-expanding government, though at a slightly slower rate, then there is no real justification for its continued existence.

IgorR said...

Daniel, I don't know enough to either agree or disagree. It certainly seems like during Reagan's time the party was forced to heed his somewhat more conservative nature, even while he cultivated people like James Baker, a quintessential Republican.

A party is not a person. I find your anthropomorphic view new and insightful, but certainly the Democratic party has changed albeit mostly in the radical, negative direction.

I also don't fully understand to what degree the party elite controls the primary process. It obviously seems like a lot, but is it enough to keep out someone like Ted Cruz, who seems genuine and very good (other than his eager acceptance of drastically increased legal immigration)? Reagan wasn't their choice, so at some point in time it was possible.

Anonymous said...

The Conservative base is getting restless, perhaps restless enough to provoke a confrontation with the Establishment (although Daniel did not use these terms, I find them useful and descriptive). I think that this time if the Establishment tries to foist Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or Chris Christie upon the base as the anointed nominee, it is angry enough to stay home on election day for the first time.

I think it's now a question of organization: can Conservatives finally take over the GOP? If they do, the next question will be whether or not the country is really past the tipping point, where the takers can never be outvoted.
-- NAHALKIDES

james wilson said...

Universal Suffrage is, as de Tocqueville warned, the single most irredeemable element of democratic government. It is useless to speak of redefining a party when it too is so subject to this overwhelming mendacious authority.

Universal Suffrage demands a viscous game of manipulative propaganda, nothing less. Conservatives, however they might be defined, are not terribly enthusiastic about playing that game. They lose, as they should.

fodderwing said...

Last time I checked, there were more people who self-identified as conservative than those who identified strongly with the Democrats or the Republicans. A conservative party fielding plucky conservative candidates would win elections. Ronald Reagan (more pluck than Conservative) showed us that the electorate can at least be reasoned with.

I might have said conservative/libertarian, but in the story of America the Libertarians have yet to establish themselves in the lore of our country as having paid the price in blood and treasure for a place at the table. That day may well come, but it hasn't yet.

shedworld said...

Once again Jeff has posted another great article. I always enjoy reading this blog.

While the question raised is what identity will the Republican Party project and promote into the future, the larger issue seems to be how it can overcome its inability to counter attack when the Democrats continuously and maliciously mischaracterize them as a whole.

It has frequently been said that a party or a candidate cannot win if it is on the defensive, and the Republicans only rarely choose to take the fight to the opposition, which results in a perception of timidity and impotence. Even a voter only half engaged in the process will perceive it thusly, and then perhaps believing the lies that go unchallenged to be the truth.

We saw a valiant attempt by Republican members of congress to prevent the passage of Obamacare in the spring of 2010, with alternative plans and amendments as well as standing unanimously opposed to it, but the power was then with the Democrats and that fight was reduced to being largely symbolic. However, it was a major reason for the growth of the Tea Party conservative movement, which then led to the historic 2010 landslide for Republicans.

American conservative citizens understand the fight we are in for this country’s future and are also well aware of the tactics of the left. The “ends justify the means” mantra rules their strategy nearly completely.

Conservatives therefore are seeking leaders who get this and are willing to counter their propaganda (on a daily basis, if necessary), with policy based on facts and truth. Think of governors Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker for examples.

And, for goodness sake, fight back!

Sabrina Hornung said...

Abolish political parties. Candidates would run as individuals on their own merit and wouldn't be beholden to party boss thugs.

Limit campaigning to a publication sent to all registered voters in which the candidates have written their position on all possible issues and maybe a couple of debates. No pandering, no advertising, no wasting shameful amounts of money to manipulate the public, and no big donors to pay back once in office.

People voting need to actually have enough interest in it to take care of registering themselves...no registering people to vote on street corners or at 7-11. Mail-in ballots should only be for military, those who are housebound, and those who will be out of their voting district on election day. At this point it might not be a bad idea to clear the voter rolls and have people re-register to clean house.

I know it's pie-in-the-sky, but a girl can dream.

Anonymous said...

Sabrina, as long as we're dreaming, let's re-instate the founder's common sense that voting was a privilege, not a right.

Instead of requiring you to be a property owner in order to be allowed to vote, as the founders did, couldn't we at least demand that in order to vote you be a "net" taxpayer?

I.E., you should be required to be a contributor instead of a moocher before you could qualify to vote.

That should at least reduce the number of politicians openly bidding to increase wealth "redistribution".

I can dream also...

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, control of the federal government by the citizenry is lost. It is controlled by the establishment politicians of both parties and the establishment politicians are controlled by big money. Therefore, the way forward for the citizenry is through the 10th Amendment which our Founding Fathers thankfully so wisely gave us. A citizens movement needs to be started which concentrates on pressuring State governments to establish a state policy to ignore all federal acts, laws, regulations, actions, rulings, etc. which are not specifically enumerated under the enumerated powers granted the federal government by the Constitution. The policy should be that the State is not seceding or nullifying, it is just ignoring all unconstitutional actions by the Federal government. In order to justify compliance by the States the Federal government must be able to prove that their action(s) are Constitutional under the enumerated powers granted by the Constitution.

DenisO said...


I agree it can be reformed, and the easiest way is a Tea Party challenge at the Primaries for some of the jerks that need a 2X4 slap to get their heads straightened out. 14 Republican Senators are up for re-election next year. Two are retiring and one has not decided. Among those needing a strong challenge by a real Conservative Republican are Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, and John Cornyn, and a few others. Just scaring a couple of them will send a strong message to McCain, Rubio, and others up for election in 2016. Once the fear that re-election might be a battle gets into their heads, the rest will straighten-up and think twice about voting against their constituents' wishes. It's as simple as that. Many mid-western states have Democrats that should be vulnerable, like Al Franken and Mary Landrieu could be turned out by the State's conservative majorities. 21 Dems are up for re-election.
Liz Chaney is going to be running against the WY incumbent Republican Mike Enzi, so we should see other Republicans getting nervous too. If they fight the Defund Obamacare effort, they should be targeted.
That's how to reform the Republicrats, in my humble opinion. Better than trying to start a new Party.

Anonymous said...

The folks that would vote republican don't necessarily have all that much in common with each other. Goldwater said there was a great danger in alliance with the fundamental Christians in that they would come to believe that they ARE the party. Reagan was successful because he was able to build a coalition of folks that didn't especially want to be grouped together. Since then Bush 41 kept it together for a few years and 43 salvaged it using his father's contacts, but a needed coalition is pretty much elusive now, with all the factions insisting that the others believe exactly like they do. Schizo might mean there are different bases of the party that can't support each other - making it a non-party.

Anonymous said...

This column reminds me of an old saying: "A Republican is a Democrat who knows he's crazy."

I often wonder what goes through the mind of some of these people. The problem, I think, is that the are so worried about how things will play in the pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times. Never mind that these are Democratic Party house organs and have been for decades. The Republicans still seem to want to believe the fiction that the media will present their side of the issues fairly. The Democrats have also been ruthless in suppressing any internal dissent.

Another problem, sad to say, is that the Democrats have perfected getting across their message to their constituencies. The technique seems to be to reduce any position down to a bumper-sticker slogan and, whatever that is, the Republicans are monsters for opposing it. The Republicans seem to have no counter to this tactic.

shedworld said...

Daniel, my sincere apology for posting you as Jeff Greenfield.

Anonymous said...

I find your commentary interesting and informative with the exception of your continuous bashing of Rand Paul.

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee are modern day "Three Musketeers", acting as a tag team to question, probe, bring forth bills, etc. to help turn around the disaster that is our government, sticking their necks out for us day in and day out. And, yet, you continuously herd out Rand Paul from the trio as "like his father", making vague comments about his positions, never stating specifics. You appear to have some weird obsession.

Horace Staccato said...

The big obstacle standing in the way of organizing true conservatives is that they are overwhelmingly White. Whites have now been demonized by the Left so thoroughly that any effective organization of Whites is doing to be attacked in the treasonous media as being racist.

One of the sources of the Republican Party's impotence has been the fact that the GOP IS the party of White people. That is simply a fact. Since this is almost illegal in today's Leftist tyranny, the GOP spends a huge amount of time and resources trying to appear to NOT be what it is. That means that it is impossible for the GOP to do anything about our biggest problem, third-world immigration or any other problem for that matter because a lying, traitorous Left has defined every issue in terms of race.

In order for conservatives to be effectively organized, we are going to have to openly organize as Whites. Openly and unapologetically, we must once again be who we are: The most successful people in history and the inventors of the modern world. Compared to White civilization no one else even comes close. We must rediscover that fact and act accordingly.

The Republican Party shows no signs of being part of an effective solution.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

I did an entire detailed article on Rand Paul. I've done extensive pieces recently on his amnesty double talk.

James Smith said...

I don't trust Catholic politicians, and I am a Catholic. Scratch Ryan and Rubio and uncover an advocate of "Social Justice."

Anonymous said...

The capitulation on amnesty signals the GOP is no longer necessary.

Post a Comment