Archive for the ‘Ideas’ 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
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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.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/0
6/AR2008110603000.html

Democrats in Denial

January 4, 2008

 By Michael Gerson
The Washington Post
Friday, January 4, 2008; Page A21

If 2006 was a year of denial for the Bush administration — demonstrating that patience in pursuit of a failing military strategy is not a virtue — 2007 was a period of awakening. Like Abraham Lincoln before him, the president discovered the cathartic pleasure of replacing generals. In Petraeus, Bush found his Grant. He also found that war, like politics, is the art of adjustment.

As the political blitzkrieg of 2008 begins in earnest, it is the Democrats who, on a number of key issues, are living in a state of denial.

Instead of criticizing an increasingly successful Iraq strategy, it would be helpful to hear some realistic proposals to improve American prospects in Afghanistan, where violence has reached its highest level in four years. NATO‘s military efforts in that country are uncoordinated, even incoherent — demonstrating the risks of multilateralism. The resolve of some European nations is wavering. An al-Qaeda ministate is developing across the Pakistan border. How would a Democratic response differ from the current one?

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/03/
AR2008010303329.html?hpid=opinionsbox1