It’s been almost six months since the 2008 election and the mainstream media continues to eulogize the Republican party. A six month eulogy? One could be forgiven for wondering if the party is really dead or whether someone is just trying to convince the public (especially Republicans) that it is.
I think most conservatives know the answer to that.
Some Recent Eulogizing
The constant stream of commentators, pundits, and even some supposedly conservative leaders that have been bemoaning the passing of the Republican party and its supposed descent into irrelevance has existed for six months. I could gather up a number of examples, but what’s the point? They all say about the same thing so I’ll just take a recent example from CNN:
Their reward? In the latest Washington Post-ABC News survey, only 21 percent now identify themselves as Republicans. Even stalwart GOPers are scared by those numbers, which are at the lowest level in 25 years…
It’s about the American public. It’s younger and more diverse. It’s not as defined by the debates of the past or attracted to the leaders of those long-ago litigated fights…
And while the Republicans are still preoccupied with the old fights that appeal to their core voters, they haven’t figured out a way to get beyond the past — in leaders or ideas — to attract the future voters…
After posting this morning, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter decided to give the president a 100 days gift: He’s switching to the Democratic Party… It says, as Specter pointed out, that there is little room for moderates right now. In fact, the Republicans might have been able to avoid Specter’s wrath if they had, er, discouraged his conservative GOP opposition, because Specter probably had a better shot of winning statewide, anyway.
This article follows what has become the standard GOP Eulogy Template. Cite an anonymous person supposedly associated with the GOP, try to paint the party’s political situation as the worst in decades, and then explain why the demographics are such that Republicans can never win again unless they become Democrats.
Template: The Anonymous GOP’er
Maybe the quote is real, maybe it isn’t. Maybe the guy is a stalwart member of the GOP, maybe he’s not. And if he is, maybe he’s part of the liberal part of the party that we’re shedding along with Senator Specter. I for one am not going to give much credence to an anonymous source that this author supposedly has. He’s writing an article against the GOP and some member of the GOP is giving him ammunition? Really?
I’ve been attending Republican events since the election and I’ve been getting involved. The people I’ve met are energetic, conservative and highly motivated. The Tea Party I attended on April 15th was filled with thousands of positive people that, while unhappy with the current situation, were more motivated than ever to change the course of this nation. Many of us had never been inclined to protest in the past, but there we were for the first time in our lives. One sign read “I hate that you made me a protester.” Exactly!
The point being that I haven’t met anyone in the Republican party, or any conservative, that would agree with that anonymous GOP’er cited in the article that we should be scared for the future of our party. We’re more afraid about the future of our country. But that same fear empowers and excites us with a singular unity in purpose.
Template: Worst Political Situation in Decades
Well of course it’s a bad political situation for Republicans. Since 1980 Republicans have controlled the presidency or Congress (or both) for every year but two.
But if the author of this article is saying this is the worst climate for Republicans in 25 years, he’s conveniently ignoring what happened afterwards. The Reagan Revolution. An emphasis on conservative values. Then Clinton went too far and reinforced the Reagan Revolution resulting in Republicans taking control of Congress in 1994 and winning the White House in 2000.
While these pundits seem to focus on this being the worst situation for Republicans in 25 years, they seem to ignore what happened next. We had a little revolution. That’s what happened in the 80’s, it’s what happened in the 90’s, and it’s what seems to be happening now. Some liberals just aren’t seeing it yet (though Senator Specter noticed).
Republicans have only been completely out of power for one election cycle in the last three decades. We’re clearly not comfortable with this situation and, if history is any indication, we won’t be in this situation for long.
Template: Impossible Future Demographics
These people also consistently point to demographics and suggest Republicans can’t win in the future. They point to a “young and more diverse” electorate as if that means Republicans can’t win. While Obama did capture the young vote (which Democrats normally do), Republicans capture the experienced vote. Self-identification as “liberal” decreases with age while identification as “conservative” grows with age. And that’s important. Our society isn’t getting younger, it’s getting older and more experienced!
2008’s inexperienced Obama voter will be tomorrow’s experienced voter that will be better able to recognize the impossible promises and unfulfilled expectations offered by Democratic candidates. The fact that Obama was able to energize the young vote does not mean we’re looking at a generation of Democrats because, as much as Obama might dislike this fact, those voters will grow older and more experienced.
The New Republican Revolution
Americans want to vote conservative. They really do.
Most Americans don’t want government meddling in their lives. Most people most of the time don’t even want to think about politics. They just want to be allowed to live their lives. And for the vast majority of the people government is not a part of their daily lives. And when it is, it’s dreaded. Of those who have dealt with government, how many really want to have to deal with it more?
Conservatism isn’t about demographics or even about political party. It’s universal. Recent history has demonstrated conclusively that, in America, parties that move left lose elections.
Republicans have been most successful winning elections when they act conservative (Reagan, Republican Revolution of 1994) and have lost elections when they acted like liberals (Bush I raising taxes and Bush II with excessive government spending). Ironically, Democrats have also done best when they appeared conservative and lost when they acted more liberal.
No-one in recent American history has campaigned on the promise of doing what President Obama is doing today. Not even Obama campaigned on this. And that’s why more people approve of Obama than his actual policies–people like him but not what he’s doing. And that can’t last forever. Obama’s policies are far to the left of what he campaigned on and far left of what most Americans are comfortable with.
Despite the never-ending eulogies offered by the mainstream media, every indication is that the Republican party is in the midst of a new revolution. It’s becoming the conservative party it should be.
And that should worry Democrats. Because, as I noted above, Republicans have not been out of power for more than a single election cycle in three decades–and while Democrats move towards liberalism that has historically led to election defeat, Republicans are moving towards conservatism that has historically led to election success.
And there’s an election next year.