In response to a bunch of posts in the “challenging John McCain” thread. Liberals are so much more advanced than conservatives at winning that it is frustrating. Here are two things they do so well:
1) They institutionalize Democratic power
Liberals know how to institutionalize power. We run the risk of becoming a permanent minority party if we don’t stop the bleeding now. “Purgers” and “purifiers” tend to assume old political premises. You cannot sit on your hands and hold your breath, while the Democrats amass a super majority, and assume that our time will come. Liberals will institutionalize their power and there will be no comeback.
You can roll back certain policies, but you cannot roll back institutionalized power. There will be no come back if the West and South are unionized; if there is blanket amnesty; if the government picks the winners and losers in our economy; if seventy percent of the jobs are public sector jobs. Once their power is institutionalize, it’s done. All is lost for generations.
Sixty does count. Each vote does count. Each issue does count. People that say sixty means nothing are being hyperbolic. If the Dems had 62 seats right now is there any doubt we would have EFCA. And if you don’t think the EFCA isn’t a colossal set back for conservatives, you are naive. The Democrats are on the cusp of enacting a series of initiatives that will solidify a Democratic majority for generations. The Democrats are doing this by design. We are holding the line EFCA and cap and trade. We must remain in a holding pattern during this cycle. It is plain dumb to purge when every single vote is as important as ever. And it is shameful to concede these issues to the Democrats.
2) Liberals Know How to Separate Themselves from the Democratic Party
I’m a right winger. I’m also a New Englander. As such, you learn how to pick your battles. The Left has been masterful at this for a long time. Liberals win by fighting a tough, aggressive, culture war; controlling the Democratic Party apparatus; and using the art of politics to win in the political arena. Liberals have long known they can’t win at the ballot box, but they separated liberals from Democrats and ideology from politics. Liberals fight behind the scenes with their think tanks, academics, charities, lawyers and civic organizations to push a Leftist agenda, while they compromised with moderate Democrats in the arena of politics and inched their agenda forward. They’ve been doing this for eighty years. It worked.
It seems conservatives only means of affecting change is through the ballot box. Conservatives want to roll back generations of liberal gains via the ballot box in 2010. They want Blue state and Purple state voters to have an epiphany and become fundamental conservatives in one election cycle. Get real. It’s not going to happen. Tens of millions of people are not going to become Constitutional scholars between now and 2010. We must take what we can at the ballot box, while we effectuate change from within. We too must inch forward and not rely on Hail Maries and Road to Damascus conversions.
Older conservatives must get their heads out of the sand. Red state conservatives must get their heads out of the sand. This does not mean comprising core principles, but it does mean honestly assessing the political landscape, understanding our enemy and formulating winning strategies for the short term and long term. Conservatives often lie to themselves. They fool themselves into believing that we can win if we just run good, clean candidates who can articulate a real conservative message. Wrong. Any Republican activist from a Blue or Purple state worth his salt will tell you otherwise. There has been a steady ideological shift towards the Left in this country. There are people in their forties were too young to vote for Reagan. Younger generations are much more liberal than in the past. Blue areas are so much more liberal than in the past.
Politics is not an exercise in rigid ideology. Politics is an exercise in compromise. It’s an inherently dirty business. Politicians are not philosophers. They do not serve a single cause or a monolithic base. Winning candidates must serve diverse constituencies and represent vast interests. From a political standpoint, I am comfortable with any Republican that advances the conservative dialogue and the conservative cause in their respective districts. This is how the Democrats regained control. They got behind guys like Jim Webb and John Tester, who are slowly pushing the liberal agenda in Red States without demanding that Montanans and Virginians become card carrying liberals overnight.
Let’s get real and build a winning coalition. Conservatives can fight in the courts, the schools and the media. Conservatives can control judicial appointments, the party platform and leadership posts. But we shouldn’t try to win a thirty year culture war in one election cycle by demanding that we nominate hard core conservatives in Blue and Purple states. In politics, things “trend”. Things rarely spontaneously change. There are a lot of gutsy Republicans with uphill fights in Blue and Purple states that are doing their best under difficult circumstance. We need to support them or at least leave them alone.
When are we going to start fighting Democrats? I’m saving my money for the general elections. I’ll let the locals fight out their primary battles. They have the right to pick whoever they want to represent them without my carpet bagging. I got bigger fish to fry.