Jan 31 2009
There is hope for the GOP, it has turned another corner and is back on a positive track. The GOP has begun the necessary process of ‘purifying’ itself from the unreliable far right (or ‘true conservatives’) who spend more time insulting fellow conservatives who don’t toe their line than making conservative progress in manageable steps. In fact, the far right has succeeded in stopping all progress on the alter of ‘perfection’, and handing power to the liberals so they can undo all the progress since Reagan took office.Â
With a track record like that it is clear why we cannot let the Hannity-Malkin-Savage-Crowley-Ingrahm types keep chasing away conservatives to the point even liberals look better in comparison (check the 2006/2008 election results for a clue folks). In the pursuit of the mythical ‘perfection’ we did not get immigration reform twice, we stalled on education reform, we could not get entitlement reform. Because they could not get their way (or some liberal had been willing to sign on and move the ball a bit more to the right) the far right torpedoed progress across numerous fronts. Their motto: “All or Nothing”. We got nothing. We got Obama, Pelosi and Reid.
It is no big secret or challenging puzzle to understand why Reagan and the two Bush Presidency’s were so successful – they were moderates willing to negotiate with democrats to make some progress. They would peal away enough democrat support to move our national policies into a more conservative position. For this they were chastised by the zealots of their time. Example: Bush seated huge numbers of constructionists judges and 2 USSC justices, yet the Gang of 14 who helped pull this off was politically lynched for doing it without all-out civil war. That is the sign of hothead thinking led by emotion. Even in smashing success some found Earth shattering disaster (leaving many to scratch their heads).
This week the RNC selected its new leader. The far right, ‘true’ conservative hot head with the smashingly insulting personality was rejected. This guy tried to be like the AM Radio talking heads, simple minded with school yard humor. The problem is the conservative movement is not made up of groupies like the liberal left. It’s members are respected professionals of the community who strive for respect, responsibility and quality in society, not one-liner insults. In the end his approach back-fired (big time).
The new RNC leader is former MD Lt. Governor Michael Steele. He is a strong and devoted conservative who knows how to communicate without insulting people for disagreeing with him 100%. He was the most moderate of the 5 choices – which tells the whole story. First McCain, now Steele – there is a message there folks!.
Steele helped found the Republican Leadership Council, a center right group that probably is too moderate for my tastes in some areas, but it does bring in those who lean conservative and who alone can create conservative governing majorities. “True” conservatives are now a vocal minority pondering why they have lost so much political ground – yet still throwing insults (like “RINO”) at their natural allies. Sort of clueless behavior IMHO.
Steele knows that to make progress in a democracy you have to negotiate and give a little. There is no 100% perfect outcome in politics (or humanÂ endeavors). That is a myth. Â “All or nothing” always ends with “nothing”. Steele is a sign that the GOP is growing up and getting out of the politics of insulting your opponents to convince them to support your views. And he is not the only one who has found his voice.
For example, former RNC chairman Jim Nicholson came out recently to call for an end of the ‘true conservative’ strangle hold on policies, which is literally killing the party:
Former Republican National Committee Chair and Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson spoke out on the GOPâ€™s electoral challenges Friday, urging Republicans to reach out to Hispanic voters by reviewing their position on immigration.Â
â€œWe have to better inform and motivate and align with the Hispanic voters,â€ Nicholson said in an interview with Politico. â€œThatâ€™s one of the key issues that the party and its leaders need to convene and, you know, have a very open, transparent discussion about developing a party position on.â€Â
Nicholson, whose home state of Colorado turned blue in 2008 thanks in part to heavy Democratic voting among Hispanics, said Hispanics could be open to Republican ideas.Â
â€œThe Hispanic votersâ€¦in this country are center-right, more conservative, more family- and work-oriented people,â€ he said. â€œWe have to overcome some of the predilections that they have about Republicans so that we get more of their votes.â€Â
Emphasis mine. Predilections caused by caustic, over-the-top rhetoric from the Amnesty Hypochondriacs who equate all immigrants with mass murderers. I mentioned back when the far right began their purity wars that it would destroy the GOP governing coalition, and that in the end they would end up on the outside looking in (pouting as usual). Here we are years later and my predictions came true.
I have never once given them an inch because of what they did to the GOP and President Bush, and how their self-absorption allowed the Democrats to get in power and start undoing a lot of hard, good work. They would not still their angry insults against the Gang of 14, Harriet Miers, President Bush, and those who supported comprehensive immigration reform. They went insane over the idea a moderate, Arab/Muslim ally would have one of its companies buy a controlling interest in one of our companies (and pay by putting in sophisticated shipping container security scanners around the world to check these before they made it to our ports). These people opened up a civil war on the right and demanded they be the controlling voice. It was a dumb move, as we see now in hindsight.
The intolerant don’t need to be tolerated, and there are plenty more voices of moderation that can override the far right. We outnumber them, but our ‘moderate’ nature (a.k.a., respectful debate, open to options, willing to work together with others) makes us lose theÂ decibelÂ battle on volume. Compassionate Conservatives are the ultimate silent majority who decide elections. If they are loud and insulting, they are not in the majority! They are now rising up again to steer the GOP back from the brink.
The warnings do not stop at RNC chairmen either. The GOP Minority Leader is also joining the chorus, and no one would confuse him with a moderate (or “RINO”):
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a blunt warning to Republicans Thursday: Their party must regain lost supporters plus blacks, Hispanics and voters on both coasts â€” or risk becoming a permanent minority party with a limited power base.Â
â€œWeâ€™re all concerned about the fact that the very wealthy and the very poor, the most and least educated, and a majority of minority voters, seem to have more or less stopped paying attention to us,â€ McConnell said in a speech at the Republican National Committeeâ€™s winter meeting. â€œAnd we should be concerned that, as a result of all this, the Republican Party seems to be slipping into a position of being more of a regional party than a national one.â€Â
In stark terms, the Kentucky Republican added: â€œIn politics, thereâ€™s a name for a regional party: Itâ€™s called a minority party. … As Republicans, we know that common-sense conservative principles arenâ€™t regional. But I think we have to admit that our sales job has been.Â
â€œAnd in my view, that needs to change,â€ he said.Â
Damn straight. And people are equals in the party, worthy of respect. Instead of mouthing a line about being ‘a fine American’, walk the walk and treat each other with respect that comes from the diversity a good cause brings. Marvel that so many people from different views and walks of life can find common ground. Stop demanding you are the voice of conservatism! Enough with the silly ego trips (which has me totally turned off from AM talk radio).
And the New GOP messengers don’t stop there. President Bush also laid out the same warning recently:
â€œPresident Bush called for a â€˜compassionateâ€™ Republican Party and warned against the GOP becoming â€˜anti-immigrantâ€™ in one of his last interviews as president, defending his vision of the party, which has become unpopular among some Republicans,â€ theÂ Washington PostÂ writes. â€œâ€˜It’s very important for our party not to narrow its focus, not to become so inward-looking that we drive people away from a philosophy that is compassionate and decent,â€™ the president said in an interview on â€˜Fox News Sundayâ€™… â€˜We shouldn’t have litmus tests as to whether or not you can be a Republican. And we should be open-minded about big issues like immigration reform, because if we’re viewed as anti-somebody — in other words, if the party is viewed as anti-immigrant — then another fellow may say, â€œWell, if they’re against the immigrant, they may be against me.â€â€™â€Â
I hope the conservative movement is finally going to get back to mature, reasoned principles and debate. We don’t need hotheads and self proclaimed visionaries to lead us. We don’t need over payed talking heads to tell us what to think or how to act or what decisions to make.
We can chart our won path of reasonable steps for conservatism to grow and prosper in America. And that is because reasonable conservatism is the framework which supports families, frees individuals to explore their potential, demands responsibility of our people, helps those in need, provides for the national defense, protects and respects life, protects and respects personal decisions, and does this while minimizing the burden on our people and economy. That is the successful formula for a conservative governing coalition. It will be a marvel of progress, made from numerous imperfect steps.
There is a brand of conservatism that limits choices, insults non-believers, demandsÂ fealty to self proclaimed leaders, invades our homes and personal lives, is knee-jerk nativist and tries to destroy scientific fact as mythology (with mythology). That is the brand of conservatism that is dying off.Â
Here is Michael Steele in his own words on the matter:
He vowed to expand the reach of the party by competing for every group, everywhere.
“We’re going to say to friend and foe alike: ‘We want you to be a part of us, we want you to with be with us.’ And for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over,” Steele said.