In a column called ‘After the Election, Rebooting the Right’, senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru of *National Review *magazine sounds not like a descendant of NR founder and conservative godfather William F. Buckley but more like a child of Republicrat Arnold Schwarzenegger Shriver.
This is what has happened with all the elite East Coast Media Republicans like Ponnuru, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard *and David Brooks, the “house conservative” at the *New York Times.
Ponnuru’s tone in the column is exactly what is wrong with today’s Republican party. After two electoral defeats which are in large measure part of a natural cycle, today’s soul-searching Therapy Culture Republicans sound like a cowering father who decides that he should be more like his permissive wife in order to win the affections of his children, rather than acting as a strong role model to guarantee those children’s future.
*Republicans are feuding in the wake of the November election. But they are not descending into civil war. That would be too tidy. What is unfolding instead is an overlapping series of Republican civil wars, each with its own theme. *
This is the tone of the entire debate in the wake of two GOP electoral losses in 2006 and 2008, suggesting that it is an unwinnable conflict. But consider the facts:
*The Republican party had 24 years of big victories including Ronald Reagan’s first election in 1980 through 2004. Of course there are going to be setbacks. It is part of the natural cycle.
*After a ‘perfect storm’ for Democrats in 2008 including the political cycle, all-out media cheerleading for Obama, relentless attacks on Bush and Republicans, a lousy McCain campaign, a financial collapse, and the Iraq war, Obama only won the popular vote by 6.7 points. That is hardly a landslide, Mr. P. Stop whining.
*During his campaign Obama at least once took the following public positions, all of which are conservative. He said he favored, or would consider, nuclear power, clean-coal technology, a rebuilt military, FISA anti-terror legislation, 2nd amendment gun rights, offshore oil drilling and tax cuts for the middle class. In addition he took the opposite positions on most of those issues.
If McCain has stated these positions that clearly, he would have won.
Writes Ponnuru of the “war” in the Republican party:
The war that will get the most attention will center on social conservatives. Some Republicans believe that their reputation for intolerance is costing the party the votes of the next generation of Americans.
Never does Ponnuru question the intolerance of gays toward the majority that opposes homosexuality as evidenced in the riots and smears over Prop 8 in California, or the general intolerance of the Democrat party for pro-life views while the Republican party has both pro-life and pro-abortion partisans. Or Democrat intolerance for gun owners, Christians, the military or businesspeople.
No, Republicrat Ponnuru then goes on to scrutinize the role of neoconservatives in advocating the Iraq war, the disagreement within the GOP over illegal immigration, excessive Bush spending that alienated the conservative base, and Sarah Palin as a minus for the GOP.
*The Iraq War: The entire Ancient Media and the Democrat party said for 12 years after the first Gulf War ended in March 1991 that “Bush 41 should have gone to Baghdad”. They said this in order to smear Bush 41 in the wake of his huge victory. So Bush 43 went to Baghdad with the support of 22 Democrat US senators, 68% of the American public and unrefuted evidence from American and worldwide intelligence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And the Dems savaged him for it. You can’t win with these people.
*On illegal immigration, does Ponnuru suggest that Republicans should agree with the open-borders crowd? That state and federal treasuries should be opened to unlimited spending for non-citizens? Welcome, amigos, to the Estados Unidos do Mexicano Norte.
*What does Ponnuru suggest as a response to Bush overspending? A more pliant Republican party willing to spend even more so as to soften the blow of evil fiscal conservatism, which would have prevented the current fiscal crisis?
*With the Obama/Biden ticket far to the left, and the McCain/Palin ticket split centrist/conservative, what more does Ponnuru want from the GOP? Ted Kennedy as VP?
Ponnuru then writes:
*My guess is that the winning side in these Republican debates will be tough on illegal immigration, federal spending and Obama. But all these arguments will also largely miss the point. When a party suffers the kind of beating the Republicans have taken in the past two elections, the public has not rejected one of its factions. It has rejected the party as a whole. Voters have turned on pro-choice as well as pro-life Republicans, on Senators who favored amnesty and ones who fought it. *
Yet what does that last sentence suggest except that Americans are confused and don’t even think about the issues any more. And of course Americans are confused. They watch Oprah Winfrey, Brian Williams and CNN, they read Ramesh Ponnuru and the *New York Times *and they listen to Obama take both sides of every issue without even asking any questions.
Ponnuru suggests, as elite Media Republicans always do, that the electorate has turned on conservative ideas. But that is not true. The public has rejected Republican waffling and corruption while electing many Democrats running on conservative platforms like governor Schweitzer in Montana (pro-oil and gas production, pro tax reductions), US senator Bob Casey in Pennsylvania (pro-life) and many others, including Obama himself.
But if the Republican party is afraid to stand tough on the issues, and against the liberal elites and the thumb-sucker Republican Media, it will continue to lose. If conservatives drift left and take liberal positions, the Democrat will always win. You can’t out-Democrat a Democrat. McCain showed that.
At the GOP governors’ meeting this month, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota argued that Republicans need to stay conservative but also modernize. A revitalized conservatism would push for tax reform with an eye on middle-class families, not hedge-fund operators. It would seek solutions to global warming rather than deny that it exists. It would place a higher priority on making health care affordable than on slashing pork programs. It would promote the assimilation of Hispanics rather than regard them as a menace or a source of cheap labor.
Mr. Ponnuru, when you say that “A revitalized conservatism would push for tax reform with an eye on the middle class.”, aren’t you forgetting that the Republican party has been fighting excessive taxation at every level for 100 years? Where have you been? Your name sounds Indian. Do you recall the economic devastation visited on India from more than 40 years of Soviet-friendly socialist bureaucracy following its 1947 independence?
Ponnuru says that a revitalized Republican party “would seek solutions to global warming rather than deny that it exists.”
This is more Media Republican bullcrap. Even the ‘warming’ kooks now call it ‘climate change’ because ‘warming’ has been debunked by the sheer weight of evidence against it. And the climate always has ‘changed’. So there is no debate. ‘Global warming’ does not exist while ‘climate change’ is nothing outside the natural cycle. So now that we have these environmentalists trapped in their own lies, Ponnuru advises we wave the white flag. Typical moderate.
Making health care more affordable? The first step is to call off the Democrat trial lawyers who are destroying the system by instilling fear into every health care provider from doctors to ambulance crews, and forcing all to pay sky-high insurance premiums, pushing up the cost of care dramatically.
Ramesh Ponnuru is one of the elite Media Republicans who thinks that the GOP will start winning elections again when it becomes more sensitive to the opinion page of the Washington Post. This is nonsense. What the Republican party must do is offer a clear alternative to an evolving Democrat culture of energy shortages, government dependency, military un-preparedness and relentless taxation at the hands of Obama and his Democrat cronies.
George W. Bush is leaving office with an approval rating around 30%. This is not only because he has been unpopular with the 50% of Americans that vote Democrat – that is a given. It is because his liberal policies like excessive spending and open borders are unpopular with huge numbers of people in the Republican party itself. Yet those very liberal positions did not gain Bush one single vote from Democrats while costing him dearly in the polls and in the media, thus ruining the “Republican brand.”
And that is the big lesson of the last 8 years.
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