Archive for the ‘conservatives’ Category

Conservatives: We Didn’t Just Lose a Race. We Lost Our Bearings.

November 9, 2008

It is not exactly a blinding insight to note that the Republican Party has lost its way. The election of Barack Obama was simply the result of an intellectual decline that began with the start of President Bush‘s reelection campaign in the summer of 2003 and continued unabated, culminating in Gov. Sarah Palin‘s unabashed appeals this year to resentful, blue-collar Republican culture warriors.

By Dov S. Zakheim
The Washington Post
Palin’s error, John McCain‘s error and the GOP‘s error was to assume that a shrinking slice of the U.S. population could constitute an increasingly large and influential faction of the party. There are simply too few culturally conservative whites to sustain a national political party. At most, that community can contribute to a larger coalition; it cannot constitute that coalition on its own.

How did we lose our bearings so badly? In late 1998, when I joined then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s foreign policy team (famously dubbed the “Vulcans”), I was going to work for a man who stood for five key principles that many of us thought would underpin a national Republican majority for decades to come. Last week’s failure stemmed from my party’s failure to hew to these values.

The first and best-known of these was “compassionate conservatism,” exemplified by the insistence that no child be left behind in poverty and despair — a reflection of President Bush’s determination to improve the lot of underprivileged Americans, especially minorities.

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What Republicans Must Do To Have Any Chance in Four Years

November 5, 2008

When it comes to fundraising, organization and ground game, we Republicans got whipped.

Now, Republicans may criticize Senator Barack Obama for breaking his promise to accept public funding and play by the established rules, but that doesn’t take us too far. We shouldn’t kid ourselves: Democrats breaking this precedent had nothing to do with their campaign-finance principles, and everything to do with the fact they could afford to. Mr. McCain could never have competed this fall without the federal funds and, in the end, Mr. Obama simply smothered McCain, outspending him in battleground states by three-to-one, with plenty left over to compete in even Republican-leaning areas.

For years, Republicans outworked Democrats at the polls. Democrats would have opulent fund-raisers with celebrities and would bask in the glow of a lapdog media. Republicans would go out on Election Day and beat them on the ground game. Their guys wrote checks; our guys wrote letters to the editor. They knocked our values; we knocked on doors. They spoke for the people; we actually got out and spoke with the people. Conservative organizations outside the official party apparatus understood their role in a large coalition: organize, energize, and mobilize. And then we won.

By Tom Delay
The Washington Times
Victory is always the hardest thing for a successful political coalition. Economic, social and foreign-policy conservatives unite easily when brought together in opposition to tax-and-spend, pro-abortion, dovish liberals in power. After more than a decade in control of Congress and eight years in the White House, the coalition has worn thin. Conservatives of each of these stripes will always have some complaint to make against the Republican Party. But as odd as it sounds, we need not let our past victories continue to divide us.

Meanwhile, liberals of every sort are in a frenzy to get back into power, and especially to wrest the White House back from President Bush, who liberals have tried to peg as an illegitimate president all along. Democrats have not missed this golden opportunity to unite.

Liberalism’s new and impressive network of organizations — especially fund-raising, grassroots mobilization, and communications — has left in the dust anything conservatives have ever put together. Organizations like America Votes and ACORN are so closely tied to Democrat politics that they might as well be arms of the party apparatus. The George Soros-funded Shadow Party of organizations run by former Clinton administration officials and liberal leaders — the Center for American Progress, the Thunder Road Group,, Media Matters, etc. — has created a second left-leaning party free from restrictions imposed by official regulations — including McCain-Feingold.

This liberal infrastructure, which now dwarfs conservatism’s in size, scope, and sophistication, will be setting and helping to impose the national agenda for the coming years. The time has come for conservatives to wake up and smell the 21st century.

American politics as we know it ended the day Mr. Obama refused…

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Republicans are in Trouble But Many Independents Are Fiscal Conservatives

October 17, 2008

By John Aulon
Author of “Independent Nation”

John McCain had his best debate of the election last night in Long Island. The Mac went on attack — but he did it in a way that can resonate with independents — not making personal attacks, but strong policy contrasts.

The economy is the number one issue in this election, and its not getting any better any time soon. Here’s the good news for John McCain: Independents are fiscal conservatives (but social progressives) — they favor a low tax, pro-growth, deficit reducing approach that appeals to American’s entrepreneurial instinct, now conveniently symbolized by Joe the Plumber. Bush’s record of running up the record deficit and exploding pork barrel spending while the middle class got squeezed, squandered the economic edge that belongs to the Republican brand. But that doesn’t mean that independents want to turn the economic future of the country over to a unified, and Democratically controlled Congress and White House.

Independents want to see a return to fiscal responsibility, and there is little evidence that given unified control, Democrats will have any passion for that.


Republicans needs to rebuild their credibility (something that must be especially frustrating to McCain, because he has been fighting against federal overspending from Day 1). Obama says he supports Pay-Go, but Keynes seems to be making a comeback on both sides of the aisle, so get ready for more deficit spending and an even angrier electorate in the future.

Is Obama the End of Conservatism?

October 17, 2008

By Mona Charen
The Washington Times

All of a sudden, this election is shaping up as a verdict on capitalism. The Obama campaign wanted it to be about George W. Bush. The McCain campaign wanted it to be about character. But instead, because the markets are shooting off in all directions like bullets from a dropped pistol, the stakes have suddenly been raised dramatically.

We are in the midst of the worst panic in history, it’s true (because it is global). But as historian John Steele Gordon helpfully pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, panics are not unusual in American history. We’ve experienced them almost every 20 years since 1819. Mr. Gordon blames Thomas Jefferson, which is intriguing, but the point is that we’ve always emerged from these periodic paroxysms intact and our economy has continued to grow.

Mr. Gordon believes more sensible banking policy would prevent future panics. But if we elect a crypto-socialist like Barack Obama and give him a bigger Democrat majority in the House and a filibuster-proof Senate, banking regulation may be the least of our troubles.

Well, you may say, “Win some, lose some. McCain isn’t all that great anyway. Conservatives and Republicans will simply have to examine their consciences and come up with a winning strategy for next time.” Perhaps. But there are a few problems with that sanguine approach. In the first place, the Democrats can, with a super-majority, change the rules of the game. They can make the District of Columbia the 51st state with two new senators (guaranteed to be Democrats in perpetuity). They can reinstitute the so-called Fairness Doctrine that required radio stations to provide equal time to all political viewpoints. While the doctrine was enforced by the Federal Communications Commission, radio stations shied away from politics altogether. With the demise of the doctrine, conservative talk radio flourished. Liberal talk radio has never found much of an audience. Reviving the doctrine would kill one of the principal irritants to liberals and Democrats – to say nothing of disemboweling the First Amendment.

To elect a super-majority of Democrats at a time of economic….

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Iranians Vote in Twisted Version of Parliament Elections

March 14, 2008
By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writers

TEHRAN, Iran – Iranians voted Friday in elections likely to yield little change: Conservatives and allies of the hardline president are expected to retain control of parliament after many reformists were barred from even running.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei greets the media ... 
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei greets the media before casting his ballot in Iran’s parliamentary elections in Tehran, Iran, Friday March 14, 2008.
(AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

As polls opened, state radio urged a strong turnout so that Iranians could present a unified front to the West. “Iranians will go to ballots to send a message to those who are not able to see unity of Iranians behind (the country’s) achievements,” it said.

The Islamic republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, cast his vote at a religious center next to his residence in Iran, tucking a folded paper into a transparent plastic box.

Khamenei has said that Iranians should bring to parliament anti-U.S. candidates “whose loyalties are to Islam and justice.”

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Back From Near Death Again: Cinderella McCain

March 6, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 6, 2008

Encyclopedias define “cinderella” as one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect.

Mr. McCain went to the United States Naval Academy and served as a naval aviator — but he was widely known for his rebel ways.  He was almost killed flying jets even before he went to Vietnam.

While flying combat missions from an aircraft carrier, McCain was shot down over Hanoi.  He landed in the water where his communist foes fished him out and beat him.  They took him to the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”

He was now a Prisoner of War (POW) with severe injuries.

It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely fantasy that a Prisoner of War – tortured, alone, largely forgotten by the bulk of his countrymen, and lost in an un popular war – returning years later to win his party’s nomination for President of the United States.
 In a broadcast from North Vietnam, October 27, Radio Hanoi reported that an American pilot identified as Lieutenant Commander John Sydney McCain, U.S.N., was rescued from Truc Bac Lake near Hanoi, October 26, after parachuting from his crippled aircraft, which had been hit by North Vietnamese ground fire. The broadcast said that McCain had been pulled from the water by North Vietnamese soldiers, treated for injuries and jailed. This photo shows McCain in the water.

Add to that the fact that last summer Senator McCain’s campaign for the nation’s highest office was on its knees financially and morale in his inept staff was so low that the Senator had to entirely retool his campaign.

Rush Limbaugh hated Senator McCain and told the greater world so. And the Governor of Arkansas attacked him from the right.

Even the Democrats said they’d rather run against Senator McCain than Mitt Romney or the others.

If that is not enough, many Republican Party stalwarts, seeing Senator McCain dealing with and sponsoring bills with the likes of hated liberal Senators Kennedy and Feingold, claimed they’d rather vote Democrat or not at all.

And his wife had a well know drug addiction – now healed.

Finally (though there are more reasons Senator McCain is a cinderella), conservatives said McCain was flat wrong on immigration.

Yesterday, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, endorsed the McCain run for the presidency – meeting candidate McCain at the ceremonial entrance to the White House normally reserved for, well, presidents and heads of state.

Don’t count John McCain out.

A Vietnamese veteran of the war in Southeast Asia said to me, “He’s lucky to be alive. But what he has done since the end of his POW days is pure McCain.”

McCain: Last Man Standing

February 7, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 8. 2008

John McCain became the last man standing in the Republican Party primary today as Governor Mitt Romney droopped out.  Appropriately, Senator McCain addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC) today — meeting with the right wing of the right wing of his party; a group he avoided just last year.

Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., ...
Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., gestures during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, in Washington. McCain’s rival for the presidency, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, pulled out of the race Thursday during an earlier speech at CPAC.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The question now becomes, can a seventy-something year old man, senator, former prisoner of war and war hero be the acceptable Republican Party candidate for President of the United States or will Republicans turn their backs on him?

Just weeks ago, Mr. McCain was engaged in a disagreement with Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi over  earmark spending items. Cochran said Senator McCain was “erratic” and unfit for the White House. But Thursday, Cochran lined up behind his colleague. “Oh, yes, I’ll support John,” he said.

Cochran and other Republicans lined the aisles of the Senate chamber yesterday to congratulate McCain, who returned for the first time since Dec. 18 to vote on an economic stimulus plan.

But some Republicans, such as radio talk show host and respected ultra-conservative Rush Limbaugh, have suggested just that — saying they may boycott the presidential election rather than support Senator McCain.

In our view, ignoring Senator McCain and the presidential election is akin to handing the White House to either Hillary Clinton (and Bill) or Barak Obama — and the Democrat Party.

At the C-PAC today, Senator McCain said, “I know I have a responsibility, if I am, as I hope to be, the Republican nominee for president, to unite the party and prepare for the great contest in November.”

Hard-core right wing conservatives point to Senator McCain as one who broke with the party on immigration, opposed the Bush tax cuts and co-sponsoring legislation on campaign finance reform.

Mr. McCain even (gasp) participated in outreach to liberal Senate Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold.

Heaven forbid.

We think a little outreach is in order, frankly.

“My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstream conservative,” McCain said, calling attention to positions he said he has defended during his campaign.

Mr. Romney said, “I must now stand aside, for our party and our country.”

If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,” Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Commenting on his front-runner status — a title he had and lost last year — McCain told the conference, “This time I now have that distinction and I prefer to hold onto it for quite a while.”

Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman endorsed McCain and urged all members of the GOP to do the same.

“Our party has had many outstanding candidates this year, but it is now time for Republicans across the country to unite,” Mehlman said. 

Why Fight For Anyone’s Freedom?

October 10, 2007

By Michael Gerson
The Washington Post
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; Page A17

In the backlash against President Bush’s democracy agenda, conservatives are increasingly taking the lead. It is inherently difficult for liberals to argue against the expansion of social and political liberalism in oppressive parts of the world — though, in a fever of Bush hatred, they try their best. It is easier for traditional conservatives to be skeptical of this grand project, given their history of opposing all grand projects of radical change.

Traditional conservatism has taught the priority of culture — that societies are organic rather than mechanical and that attempts to change them through politics are like grafting machinery onto a flower. In this view, pushing for hasty reform is likely to upset some hidden balance and undermine the best of intentions. Wisdom is found in deference to tradition, not in bending the world to fit some religious or philosophic abstraction, even one as noble as the Declaration of Independence.

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