Every person working for the Republican National Committee should be required to watch this ten minute clip of Henry Olsen every month. Maybe every week. If you have too much free time, watch the whole event.
[...] Every person working for the Republican National Committee should be required to watch this ten minute clip of Henry Olsen every month. Maybe every week. If you have too much Source: Postmodern Conservative [...]
Let me say that I am surprised that Republicans don’t look at the success of the Conservative Party in Canada with more frequency (if they do at all).
As I have been telling my friends for some time now (and as Olson mentions), Obama’s campaign strategy of solidifying a caricature of Romney in the voters minds before Romney began seriously campaigning was simply a copy of the Cdn Conservative very effective campaign strategy of the last 6 years or so. Because the caricature is plausible, and plays toward certain stereotypes, once established it is hard for a candidate not to play into them, and so seemingly confirm their truth.
There is a way to combat this strategy, but you have to identify it first (which the Romney campaign clearly didn’t).
Beyond campaigning, there a series of Cdn Con policy issues that could easily be adopted, and would be liked by Americans, especially regarding entitlement programs.
For instance, the Cdn. Cons first won power on the issue of the Liberal’s promise to significantly increase their subsidies of daycare programs–a very popular program for working parents. A winning issue for Liberals.
The Conservatives countered by saying that instead of funding a government program, they would send parents a cheque of 100$ a month per child of daycare age (like a tax credit, but cash money!)
The Liberal Party responded by saying parents would spend it “on beer and popcorn”, and BAM, the election was over–Cons won.
Now, instead of a government-run program that does nothing for families where a parent stays home, we have a popular program where the money returned to the people who spend it as they see fit. It is basically a voucher program, where the voucher is money.
Its not perfect, but its better than the other possibility — and its popular.
I’m not going to dispute that the RNC should watch that, but I’m completely baffled as to how that’s supposed to work.
“You cannot be president of the United States if you don’t have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can’t be. And we are blessed. So don’t feel sorry for — don’t cry for me, Argentina. Message: I care.”
Didn’t work out so well last time. Thousand points of light compassionate conservatism has been tried before, but always seems to come undone over that inconvenient kernel of truth Henry Olsen commendably acknowledges. New Orleans not waving, but drowning, for example.
Ever since Reagan, America has had one party for the voters who believe government provides solutions, and another party for the voters who believe government creates problems.
The Gipper had a drawerful of quips and one-liners to that effect, and the base ate it up. They still remember all that now, long after they’ve forgotten about his many tax increases.
So if the Republicans are going to rebrand in a sincere and fundamental way to become the party of real, effective, and practical solutions to the problems that government is uniquely positioned to address, then they immediately confront two obstacles:
1. There’s already a party that undertook that rebranding exercise in the 1990′s and has an established a 20-year track record behind it. So, by itself, this doesn’t deliver any compelling brand differentiation.
2. The Republicans already don’t have enough voters nationally. If they alienate their core government-hating constituency, they’ll have even fewer. They’ll all go Libertarian. Or stay home.
What’s the next step? What’s the end game?
It seems to me reading your work lately that what you really want is a Republican Party that is essentially the post-DLC Democratic Party, except with a visceral hatred of abortion and fornication. I don’t see how that’s supposed to work.
Patrick, I haven’t paid enough attention to Canadian politics, but from what I have seen (mostly election night coverage, some of the debates), Stephen Harper’s style of argumentation reminds me a lot of Virginia governor Bob McDonnell – who I think has come closer to any elected Republican to getting the tone right.
Michael, I think your comment is full of false dichotomies. I don’t think that their core constituency is “government-hating.” That core constituency supports a guy (Paul Ryan) who proposed spending 20% of GDP on the federal government alone. The GOP core constituency is not that angry guy calling into talk radio right after he got out of work. He isn’t even that guy.
“I’m not going to dispute that the RNC should watch that, but I’m completely baffled as to how that’s supposed to work.
Or you can look at the record and rhetorical style of Mitch Daniels in Indiana. If you want to see what it sounds like you could go see a video of his response to Obama’s last State of the Union speech.
“New Orleans not waving, but drowning, for example.”
Louisiana was so convinced of the importance of effective government that they elected not Bernie Sanders, but Bobby Jindal to two terms as governor. Kinda scrambles the categories doesn’t it? Maybe there is a lesson there for you.
“It seems to me reading your work lately that what you really want is a Republican Party that is essentially the post-DLC Democratic Party, except with a visceral hatred of abortion and fornication.”
Your imagination (along with a seemingly “visceral” refusal to engage with why someone might oppose abortion) is doing a lot of the work here. I’d argue that a lot of the policy reforms the that Republicans might offer would move policy to the “right” of where it was in the pre-Obama (on health care policy for instance – again you can start with Mitch Daniels and move over to James Capretta.)
Stephen Harper does a pretty good job, but he has had all of one majority. Wasn’t the post election knock on Republcians that they’ve only one one majority in six elections.
Pete, I’m not using “core” in the sense of “most Republicans”, but in the sense of “the most Republican”.
In the 3rd Republican primary debate on, 8 out of 8 candidates agreed they would walk away from a deficit reduction deal consisting of $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases.
Most Republican voters would accept such a deal, but the most intensely Republican voters would reject any candidate who would accept it. The voters who are most Republican, the core Republicans, dictate the acceptable policy boundaries for candidates in Republican primary elections, and not a single presidential candidate felt they could safely cross them.
The point here is not so much Mitch Daniels as Richard Lugar.
As for this:
“along with a seemingly “visceral” refusal to engage with why someone might oppose abortion”
This may come as a surprise to you, but everyone opposes abortion. Democratic parents don’t look forward to the day when their daughters are old enough to have their first abortion. The Planned Parenthood executive committee doesn’t sit around every year trying to figure out how to get their abortion stats up.
Unwanted pregnancies are, by definition, unwanted. Nobody wants them.
The main philosophical policy points of disagreement on the issue are primarily over whether or not life begins at dinner and a movie, and whether or not blanket government intervention in the interests of the potentially human will always and everywhere result in the least bad outcome for any circumstances arising thereafter.
Because these are questions of values, not fact, there will be legitimate disagreements of opinion. A willingness to engage in dialogue amongst those who disagree doesn’t imply that anyone will change their mind. Nor does it imply that any changes of mind that do occur will do so exclusively in one direction.
Which gets back to Richard Lugar, again.
If the theory is that the Republican Party can jettison the plutocrats, jettison the racists, jettison the tax jihadists, jettison the creationists, and thereby win enough elections to finally ban all abortions, then I’d submit that the Richard Mourdock experience suggests that this strategy is problematic even in Indiana.
And nationally, even with all the plutocrat, racist, tax jihadist, and creationist votes on board, the best candidate the Republicans could find lost by 4 points.
I’m not saying the values or policies are right or wrong. I’m just saying I don’t see how the math works out to get you to where you’re trying to go.
Harper has only won one majority government (the last election), but I’m not sure what difference that makes. He has won (and the left has lost) 3 straight elections. Baring unforeseen circumstances, by the time of the next election, he will be Canada’s 5th or 6th longest serving prime minister. That’s a long period of Conservative rule.
The difference is we don’t have a system that rewards pluralities. Harper was able to persuade only a slight percentage more of voters to vote for him in 2006 than Goldwater did in 64. He held 40 percent of the total seats in the House of Commons. That’s the thing the left didn’t lose the first two elections. It was simply splintered. Maybe if we can convince California, Oregon, and Washington to form a Block Arcadia we might get somewhere with those numbers.
Maybe the Republicans can base their re-election campaigns on Harper, but right now the Republican party is looking for a way to get into power.
Sam, Harper has won pluralities in three consecutive parliamentary elections. The GOP has won one plurality of the presidential popular vote since 1988. Some of that has to do with the splintering of the Canadian left-of-center, but he increased the Conservative party vote from 29% to 39% in the years 2004-2011. That doesn’t sound like much, but in a five party system it is pretty impressive and it about what the winning party usually gets in the wake of the collapse of the old PC party. If the Republicans can increase their support by half as much, they are going to be fine. Not for nothing that Harper was the rightmost of the likely Conservative party leaders. He is doing some things right and there are probably lessons for American conservatives in there somewhere.
“I’m not using “core” in the sense of “most Republicans”, but in the sense of “the most Republican”.”
This “core”, this “most Republican” of Republicans nominated Mitt Romney (the least anything of anything) for president. Maybe that is a clue as to the pragmatism and ideological flexibility of these Republicans.
“In the 3rd Republican primary debate on, 8 out of 8 candidates agreed they would walk away from a deficit reduction deal consisting of $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases.”
True. And pretty much every Republican primary contender came up with an otherworldly tax scheme that seemed to earn them no credit among primary voters. It is possible that the Republican primary contenders misunderstood the realism and moderation (in the good rather than the Arlen Specter sense of the term) of Republican primary voters. It is also possible that they made that mistake because they share some of your contempt for those voters. I don’t blame you, but I do blame them.
“The point here is not so much Mitch Daniels as Richard Lugar.”
If you ever find yourself as eighty-four year old Senator facing a primary challenge from the sitting state treasurer, I recommend you maintain a legal in-state residence. I know the odds of this advice being relevant to you are slim, but Lugar probably wishes he had someone around to tell him this.
“This may come as a surprise to you, but everyone opposes abortion.”
It would come as a surprise to me because your statement is literally untrue. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/debates/secularist/abortion/carrier5.html
One does not seek to federally subsidize on demand a procedure that one “opposes” whatever the accompanying verbiage. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/10/1/gpr100112.html
“Which gets back to Richard Lugar, again.”
Lugar is pro-life. Are you suggesting that he would have won the Republican primary if he had been pro-choice? Mourdock’s victorious opponent was also pro-life – though more in the Romney, Reagan, Bush direction.
“The main philosophical policy points of disagreement on the issue are primarily over whether or not life begins at dinner and a movie…” Those main philosophical points of disagreement are primarily someone who is arguing with himself. Read your comment again to be reminded of what a visceral refusal to deal with the other side (Joe Donnelly and Richard Lugar for instance) think. Then consider whether it should be legal to destroy and third term fetus on at-will. That is where our politics actually is.
“If the theory is that the Republican Party can jettison the plutocrats, jettison the racists, jettison the tax jihadists, jettison the creationists… ”
One theory is that thirty Republican state houses argue against the idea that your collection of self-validating bigotries is reflection of the Republican party rather than your own self-righteousness. That seems like convincing enough evidence. Another (partially overlapping theory is that if Republicans might be able to win national elections in ways similar to how they win governorships in places like Indiana and Virginia. I can see why that prospect might lead some folks to clutch their Todd Akin furbies.
//This “core”, this “most Republican” of Republicans nominated Mitt Romney (the least anything of anything) for president.//
Yes, I remember that. They did nominate him. After each in their parade of chosen champions collapsed one after the other into a flaming wreckage of unelectability.
The passionate support of core Republicans for Mitt Romney is evidenced by his central role in the post-election policy debate over the future of the Party.
// It would come as a surprise to me because your statement is literally untrue. //
And in support, you direct me to this statement:
“I think we both agree that an individual human personality can only in principle exist when a developed cerebral cortex exists, which is after the 20th week of gestation, though unlikely before the 25th week-but due to variation in rates of development, each individual case will differ within this range and this can only be assessed by a competent medical professional. This is why I do not see how abortion before this point is immoral, **however much it might not be desirable**.”
Which is exactly my point, thanks. No one desires abortion. The only question is whether abortion is always, in all cases, the least desirable outcome, or whether there exist circumstances in which other outcomes are even more undesirable.
And that’s a values debate, not a facts debate, and opinions will differ, and no electoral success will change that.
There are still those who believe Griswald v. Connecticut was wrongly decided, legally and morally. And at the other extreme, there are those who believe Gonzalez v. Carhart was wrongly decided, legally and morally. And the balance of voter values lies somewhere between, and that’s how democracy works.
It’s not like you can elect a bunch of Republicans and then everyone will change their mind about it. It’s works the other way around.
As for my collection of self-validating bigotries, the question isn’t whether they accurately reflect the Republican party or not. I’m sure most of the Party consists of respectable cloth coat Republicans.
The question is whether they accurately reflect a large enough fraction of the Republican Party to be electorally significant, or whether they can be completely disregarded for purposes of national electoral strategy.
You clearly are of the latter view, but do you have any better evidence than 30 Republican state houses? That’s really all I’m asking for.
“Yes, I remember that. They did nominate him. After each in their parade of chosen champions collapsed one after the other into a flaming wreckage of unelectability.
None of this makes sense from the perspective you’re coming from. The poll show Republican primary voters exploring alternatives to Romney and returning to the Romneycare guy as it became clear that Romney would be a stronger candidate/and or president than his more “conservative” opponents. I can’t think of better proof for the relative pragmatism of Republican primary voters in their capacity of primary voters (as distinct from say their role as poll respondents during the silly season.)
“The passionate support of core Republicans for Mitt Romney is evidenced by his central role in the post-election policy debate over the future of the Party.”
Why would you expect passionate support from Mitt Romney from anyone not named Romney? That’s the point. For all of his obvious lack of principles and lack of a real emotional connection with primary voters, the voters still turned to him because he seemed like a competent candidate (relatively) and a plausible political executive.
“No one desires abortion”
From the same article:
“There is no more ground for outlawing abortion because of some people’s individual sentiments than there is for outlawing the consumption of pork because of some people’s individual sentiments… As I still see it, abortion before the third trimester does not violate anyone’s rights in any sense that everyone can understand (at least not in any sense that I understand). Properly performed, it does no substantial harm that I can see. And it actually performs some limited positive good, however slight. So I can find no good reason to make pre-late-term abortion illegal. ”
One does not “oppose” a “positive good.”
“The only question is whether abortion is always, in all cases, the least desirable outcome, or whether there exist circumstances in which other outcomes are even more undesirable.”
This question is not particularly active in our politics as can be seen from the Republican party platform (which makes an exception for the life of the mother) and the position of the Republican presidential candidate who is for greater exceptions. So we have instead a whole host of other questions such as whether there is a constitutional right to at-will partially deliver a third term fetus and then destroy the brain. At least two and very likely four Supreme Court Justices seem to think so. Lots and lots of questions.
“And that’s a values debate, not a facts debate, and opinions will differ, and no electoral success will change that.” One could hardly imagine a better argument for letting such an issue to the elected branches.
“I’m sure most of the Party consists of respectable cloth coat Republicans.”
Well if you’re on board, then maybe there is hope for the next batch of Republican presidential candidates (and that wasn’t even sarcasm.)
“The question is whether they accurately reflect a large enough fraction of the Republican Party to be electorally significant, or whether they can be completely disregarded for purposes of national electoral strategy.
You clearly are of the latter view, but do you have any better evidence than 30 Republican state houses? That’s really all I’m asking for.”
Well if thirty governors and the most recent presidential candidate don’t get it done… but I can see where you’re coming from even if I think you are very wrong. Lots of Republican politicians seem to reflexively think of their own voters as talk radio hosts in mid-tantrum (though the tantrum is an act.) The populist right-leaning media has a commercial interest in promoting this view and since it plays into the prejudices of those who produce liberal-leaning media, you get a synergy. That the election results don’t (usually -there is always Delaware) match up with this perception can be forgotten in the cacophony.
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