Mission: Take the GOP

NoRINOsThumbby N. A. Halkides
I think most Conservatives would agree that we need a Conservative Party, not a weak-kneed imitation of one such as the current GOP (or the Tories in the U.K., to take another obvious example).In my previous essay, A Plea for Disunity and Incivility, I pointed out that Conservatives were the heart and soul of the Republican Party, providing most of its voters and all of its few ideas, yet did not have effective control of it.  It’s time to change that. Here then is a brief explanation of how I believe the current state of affairs has come to pass, followed by a battle plan for Conservatives to take the control of the Party our numbers and ideology entitle us to.

Given our supermajority status within the Party, how is it that we don’t already have control?  The answer lies in representation – just as in government itself, where we elect persons to represent us, within the Party we elect officials such as committeemen whom we entrust to represent our interests.  The problem is that representatives often do not act as such:  they go their own way, ignoring the wishes of those they supposedly represent. This pattern repeats itself anywhere a group does not have direct control of its operations:  corporate boards often neglect the shareholders’ interests, school boards fail to provide the good schools parents expect from them, and legislatures ignore their constituents’ express wishes.  Obamacare is a good example of the last, with the Democratic Party enacting a health care takeover plan that the majority of Americans was against.

The same thing is true with the Republican Party:  committeemen and other officials often ignore Conservatives’ wishes. Offices within the Party tend to appeal to Establishment types, those who enjoy holding office but don’t particularly wish to trouble themselves with the hard work of waging an ideological campaign against statism. For our part, many Conservatives are so involved with productive careers in the private sector and raising our families that we feel we don’t have time to run for Party offices, leaving the Establishment to make rules and generally run the show – with disastrous consequences, as we have seen. We simply haven’t paid enough attention to the internal workings of the GOP. It’s time for Conservatives to become more active at every level of the Party’s organization, in particular making sure that we run a Conservative candidate for every Party office and give him our full support.

To take over the Party we need to understand how it’s governed.


Structure of the Republican Party

I got ahold of the 2012 rules and learned something surprising:  The RNC Chairman and Co-Chairman must be of opposite sexes, and so too must be the two representatives from each state.  This sounds strangely like a quota system, something the other side would impose, or perhaps like the strategy of a radio station’s management to appeal to both sexes by having an entertainment program hosted a man and a woman.  While perhaps not a huge issue, it’s the kind of nonsense Conservatives would never have written into the rules – which is why we need to be the ones writing the rules.

I believe the organization of the State Parties differs from state to state.  Here in Illinois, where the Republican Party has long been almost as bad as the Democrats and has in any case been helpless against the overwhelming voting power of the Chicago Democratic machine (Republican Bill Brady won every county in the State except one – Cook (Chicago) – yet still lost the 2012 Gubernatorial Race to Cook County machine Democrat Pat Quinn), the organization is governed by the Illinois Republican State Central Committee.  This Committee consists of one member from each of the U.S. Congressional Districts, elected at the county conventions.

You can see from this just how important it is that Conservatives have control all the way up and down the organizational ladder, from the local precinct to the RNC.  Indeed, it is by gaining control at the local level that we can eventually take over the RNC.  Therefore, I am calling on all Conservatives to follow this battle plan, or to devise one of their own:

1. Get involved at the local level.  Find out who your local Republican precinct committeeman is and whether or not he’s a true Conservative.  If not, either run for the job yourself or get together with your fellow Conservatives in the precinct to find someone to run for the office.  (Yes, I took my own advice – I spoke at some length with my precinct committeeman and found out he’s Conservative enough to make GOP officials at the Township level uncomfortable – exactly what we need!)

2. Find out if there is a Conservative organization in your area, independent of the GOP Establishment.  What we really need is a network of such organizations throughout the states helping us to find good-quality Conservative candidates for both public and Party offices.

3. Get involved at the county level, too.  We have way too many county chairmen who are Establishment through and through.  Find out who’s electing these chairmen – then work hard against them.

Basically, all we need to do is follow a simple rule:  find out who the candidates for Party offices are, and if there aren’t any Conservatives, get one even if it means running yourself.  Then help get the word out to fellow Conservatives as to which candidates are with us and which are a part of the problem, i.e. the Establishment.

I said at the beginning that I believe we all understand the urgent necessity for a true Conservative Party.  I also believe that taking over the GOP is the way to go.  The alternative would be to withdraw from it, leaving it to slowly wither and die without officeholders, while we go through the difficult and time-consuming process of forming a new Conservative Party and getting it on the ballots of all 50 states.  I think this process would take at least seven years (about what it took the nascent Republican Party to really get going, say from 1853 to 1859) – and I’m afraid the country doesn’t have that long.  We need to start winning elections and disempowering the Left in the next two elections, and to do that we need to first take the GOP.

Let’s do it! • (2808 views)

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31 Responses to Mission: Take the GOP

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Since no poll has ever (that I’m aware of) shown a conservative majority, we must make sure than any conservative party can appeal to a reasonable number of more moderate voters, or we won’t be able to win at a national level. One way to do this would be to aware that conservatives can disagree on issues, so that there should be no single-issue litmus tests of purity.
    The sort of people we’re looking for are those who have principles (which can be hard to tell, since they all claim to), are willing to fight for them, and won’t compromise for the sake of compromise. Establishment Republicans tend to do that, which I refer to as short-term pragmatism — as when Bush 41 decided he wanted to pass some sort of civil rights bill, and the Democrats had specific goals. Naturally, they got what they wanted, and Bush only got a fig leaf ban on quotas (which were simply renamed and thus retained).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I agree with everything you guys say . . . but I think the entitlement state (and entitlement mentality) is so well entrenched that this is no longer something that can be solved by national parties.

      The solution to this will come, if it comes at all, when one or several states say, in essence, “We will not comply.” They will do so (hopefully) passively and be led by the finest legal minds of our time. (Mark Levin, for example).

      Any state could do that now. How much of what the Federal government does is clearly unconstitutional? That hasn’t been much of a concern to most states because they got hooked by the snake-oil scheme of Federal money.

      But we do most decidedly see destruction being rained down on us with Obamacare. And if the 60’s hippie generation can ever grow the hell up, they’ll see that destruction is all around them in the silent damage done by so many hysteria-based environmental laws and other restrictions.

      For the first time in our history (unless you lived in the Old South or are a Paulbot), the Federal government is truly the biggest enemy of freedom that we face. That could change depending upon the machinations of China, Russia, Iran, or whomever. But even so, long term we are in the greatest danger from our own government.

      It would be nice if we could start from the grassroots and change that. But I have to be honest. Very few people that I meet — including self-described conservatives — can see outside that narrow Overton window to choices beyond mere increments. No slave can increment himself to freedom. He must instead give the heave-ho to his masters. Our would-be master must be put back inside his Constitutional cave.

      The GOP is irrelevant in terms of freedom, despite the good works of Mike Lee and Ted Cruz. But they are just two people. They are still, for all intents and purposes, fighting their own party, a party that simply wants to run the bureaucracy and has no designs on reducing it. And it’s not at all clear that the general public doesn’t like Obamacare (the idea of socialized medicine). They don’t like the costs but do like the idea of someone else paying for their “free stuff.” That idea will forever be appealing.

      And this is the nature of what we are fighting. The electorate is now thoroughly corrupt. They’ve been paid off. There is probably little hope of actual fundamental change until Texas, or someone else very big like that, tells the Federal government to take a long walk off of a short pier. And we are getting closer to that point. And I’m not talking about a civil war. I’m talking about passive resistance. “We do not comply.” Stop sending them checks. Let Texas, for example, put up a few barricades of its own and dare Federal troops to shoot on civilians because they’re not feeding the fat pigs in DC.

      That could possible be the second shot heard round the world. We are part of history in the making. We just don’t know which part at the moment.


        Brad – you have enunciated the most pressing political question of our time, which I would rephrase thusly: can a revivified, Conservative Republican Party running a quality candidate with an explicitly ideological campaign still win a national election? Your answer, of course, is “No” whereas mine is “I’m not sure, but I think it’s still worth a try” – hence “Mission: Take the GOP!”

        Obviously, you could be right, and the tipping point may already have been reached – that is the greatest fear that I think all of us felt when last year Obama defeated Romney, a less-than-perfect candidate who nevertheless was a hundred times the man that Obama is. In putting forward the idea of state secession, you’ve gotten ahead of me (how dare you do that?), for I was indeed planning to write one or more articles providing the theoretical framework for such an action should it become necessary.

        Necessary or not, secession is already justified – would it not have been sweet if the Governors of the 26 states which sued over Obamacare, a majority be it noted, had informed Barry that if the Supreme Court had forgotten the meaning of the Constitution, they the Governors had not, and Obamacare was null and void within their boundaries? Obama would have been helpless to do anything about it – the country would not tolerate the U.S. Army trying to subdue 26 states by armed force – but unfortunately, even those 26 states are not ready yet for the idea of secession.

        It may be our only hope, as you believe. Some states would retain their freedom, the rest would go the way of Detroit and collapse (just as California, Illinois, and New York are slowly collapsing), after which time we could simply march in, take over, and disempower the Progressive Left with new, highly-restrictive State Constitutions. A long road, but surely better than living under Progressive rule and losing all we have.

  2. It seems to me that we’re going to have to do everything — some of us can work to clean up the party, some to clean up education, some to write and promulgate conservative ideas. Unfortunately we will also need some of us willing to do the scary work of facing down the government, because just voting them out isn’t going to be enough. I’m afraid the bureaucracy may now be more powerful than all our constitutional branches and those folks aren’t walking away from their cushy jobs gracefully. And you’re right, Brad, too many people are nursing at the government teat. Divine intervention is going to be the bottom line.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Deana, I remain a unique brand: an optimistic pessimist. I have little faith that we can right the ship. We’re now caught in the same trap that apparently the Romans were in. People became used to the bread-and-circuses and there was no drawing them back.

      But I think we have to face this situation down anyway. Every time I talk to someone — even conservative friends — I’m often surprised at how “fish swimming in the fishbowl” they often are. They don’t see the water. But still we must face this situation down anyway. I optimistically beat my head against the same wall and am told routinely by establishment types that “Brad, you’re just a perfectionist.” But still we must face this situation down anyway. People hide behind all kinds of words and use all kinds of dodges to avoid thinking about the things we need to think about and are responsible for.

      Many of us here I know for a fact have an ongoing self-education regarding America and American history, including much of her cultural history (if only in turning off the idiot box and watching an old John Wayne western, the days when there was right and wrong, heros, and black-hatted villains). We read books. We exchange ideas. We ask valid and non-vapid questions.

      And it’s going to take that kind of reacquaintance with our own good history to change things. And I don’t mean looking back and looking back only. I mean looking back as one would in a dictionary or encyclopedia to find out how things work as opposed to getting one’s views form, say, Oprah or Jon Stewart.

      You have, in your fine articles, articulated a vision of America that is authentic, grand, noble, and productive. And I don’t mean just productive from an economic standpoint. I mean productive as in articulating ideas that raise up human lives. One of the main problems of our society is that the politicians, the media, the education establishment, and much of the vapid pop culture is selling the idea of victimhood. It’s the idea in which someone owes you a living rather than seeing freedom as a blessing and an opportunity, although it is, granted, something that requires personal effort. The opposite (socialism) is a message that sinks lives, that steals potential, and that turns man into a mere cog in a cold, dishonest, statist machine.

      Who in the GOP talks even remotely talks like this other than maybe Cruz and Lee? Very few. They have sold their souls to the state. They put reelection above the integrity of our Union. And if there is a place in hell for such people, they will find it.

  3. jc says:

    I wonder about John Boehner and how he perceives himself and the positions he takes. I think he is deluded about many things and is, by his nature, simply unable to think out of the box he inhabits. A good man, but working within a bygone paradigm.

    Cruz and Lee are a good start. Let’s find more like them.

    And, needless to say, let’s find fewer like Obama and his Mrs. They are showing their true nature now, and it is quite shocking. Were he less cocky about his vision for the country and for himself, we would be on less notice of his intentions than we are now.

    We live in interesting times indeed. I do take comfort in the photos down the side of this page: Buckley, Thacher and Reagan. More, please — and quickly.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Yes, we need more Reagans, Thatchers, and Buckleys. That’s for sure, jc. Right now, in the present shutdown, we’re learning whether we are a people who have a government or whether it is a government that has a people. (Hint: the latter is winning and will eventually win this argument…again.)

      I contend that the electorate is too corrupted by entitlements, and the indoctrination of Leftism, to be able to choose what needs to be chosen. That is the quandary we face.

      We can turn words and phrases over in our minds until the cows come home (assuming they haven’t all bolted for business-friendly Texas). But both the GOP and the Democrat Party, at least at the national level, do not take their oath of office even one-quarter seriously. Instead of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution they are selling it off piece by piece, burying us in debt, creating dependent classes, and degrading everything they touch via socialism.

      We’re to the point now that the only thing that could save this country is if we could elect a Roman-style dictator for, say, a six-year term and give him or her vast emergency powers. There are, of course, severe dangers to this approach. But I agree with the talisman of our times, Mark Steyn, that we are incrementing ourselves inevitably toward some type of societal collapse.

      No amount of small-time tinkering at the grassroots level can ever overcome the 24/7 “Progressive”/Leftist indoctrination engine of the government schools, the media, and just the red-diaper-doper-baby (version II) culture we now are immersed in where narcissism is the organizing principle of our country.

      And that’s really what we face. We face the question of who we are, about what our nation is about. And the answer that the electorate has come up with is “free stuff.” We now exist, just like Europe, to plan our next vacations, to work as little as possible, and to obsess on ever more pleasures and amusements to fill every waking hour, to hell with what we leave for our children.

      A small army of true conservatives at the grassroots level has no hope of changing this tsunami tide of delusion and irresponsibility that is thoroughly implanted into the culture. We may luck out by only degrading instead of collapsing outright. But there is no turning the state back and reinstating the Constitution short of a Roman-style dictator.

    • cdjaco says:

      “Were he less cocky about his vision for the country and for himself, we would be on less notice of his intentions than we are now.”

      I agree wholeheartedly. I think that one of the scariest things that Obama has demonstrated is that you can go a long way by being aloof and cocky; there is somebody in the wings now who wants to take the Left’s agenda far further and knows that if he (or she) does so with an abundance of charm and the appearance of humility, they can make it happen.

  4. CCWriter CCWriter says:

    Before conservatives can take over anything, there’s going to have to be more clarity on what is meant by “conservative.” Right now everyone seems to be talking from a different definition, and it’s not helping.

    Face it, many of us who are, politically, constitutional conservatives cannot get behind some of the pieces certain other conservatives feel must be included, because they offend our core values. In my opinion there is going to have to be a choice between being pure (according to the wider definition) and allowing a small-government coalition to form. And I am not talking about watering down or moderating the small-government conservative viewpoint. I am not talking about abandoning principles. I am not talking about pandering. (I don’t think we give the rank and file independent voter enough credit for sniffing out hypocrisy when it comes to advocating for smaller government. IMHO it’s why they held their nose and stuck with Obama.) What I am talking about is leaving out of the political mix certain things that are not supposed to be the province of government (or at least pushing them down to the state or local level according to the federalist concept), and taking the argument into a different arena where they belong and you can advocate to your heart’s content–maybe more effectively to boot. Any claim that all of us who urge this are simply hostile to conservative social values is not only a cop-out but demonstrably false.

    If you think about Reagan, what he stood for and how he operated politically (his 80% agreement rule and the fact that in inviting crossover support he allowed room for people to retain their own political identification) then you should understand that this will be a winning approach. If some “conservatives” can’t bring themselves to accept this, then on their heads be the continuation of political failure.

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      In the real world of politics, one generally does not get exactly what one wants. One gets the choices which are presented and one makes a decision

      In the next election you will have three choices, Dem, Rep or don’t vote (voting for some other minor party such as Libertarians, or Democratic Socialists is equivalent to not voting as far as effects go) It is doubtful any of the candidates running under these labels will be 100% what you want.

      If your “core” values are more offended by certain “conservative pieces” than by the last five years, then you are probably not a constitutional conservative to begin with. Thus the conservative candidate has probably not lost you as he/she really never had a chance of winning your vote in the first place.

      As to your comments regarding a winning approach, it might be more helpful if you would clarify your points so “conservatives” could understand exactly what you mean. What positive recommendations would you make instead of just sounding pissed off? Perhaps there is some common ground between you.

      But again, if the last five years under Obama have not offended you more than anything which is on the broad conservative agenda, you are not much of a prospect to vote conservative in any case.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        The term “Hobson’s Choice” refers to a “take it or leave it” choice, from a stable-worker who got tired of people wanting a specific horse to ride. Whoever was next in line got whichever horse was next, and could either accept that choice or go to the back of the line and hope for better luck. I see elections the same way — I can vote Republican, or I can either not vote or do the equivalent (vote for a minor party that has no chance of winning), since I haven’t voted for a Democrat in the general election since 1981 and don’t expect ever to do so again.
        Sam Rayburn once observed (I believe correctly) that when two people agree on everything, one of them is doing all the thinking. (A corollary he apparently didn’t mention, but which became quite obvious in the Bush years, is that when two people disagree on everything, one of them is still doing all the thinking. The other is simply reacting reflexively.) So the only way to get a candidate who always agrees with you is to run yourself. But how many of us would make electable candidates? I doubt I would, and in any cae the scene in The Candidate in which Redford’s character waits at a factory gate to greet prospective voters is enough to cure me of any desire to do so.

      • CCWriter CCWriter says:

        I am most certainly a constitutional conservative. What frustrates me is that some other conservatives don’t seem to be that, and thus drive away voters who would otherwise be on board with conservative ideas.

        What I would like is for other conservatives to think about whether they have absorbed Progressive thinking, especially the notion that it is up to the government to mold society and express all of its values, even those that have nothing to do with neutralizing violence and other force. This is not limited-government conservatism, which means politically speaking it is not conservatism at all.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          We might think of this in terms of the various accusations of theocracy made in politics (mostly be liberals, and thus very unlikely to be true). Religion governs theology, which is definitely not a suitable matter for government action; ethics, which I interpret as how you treat others, which is definitely a suitable subject for government action; and morality, which I interpret as control of appetites. This is where most of the religious disputes occur, and I’m inclined to think that government generally should stay out of moral disputes.

          • CCWriter CCWriter says:

            Where do the limitations of the U.S. Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, come into play in the scheme you outline?

            • Timothy Lane says:

              In theory (obviously, the practice has been a different matter for decades, unfortunately) the Bill of Rights defines certain limits on federal power (and to some extent also state and local government power). I was looking particularly at the issue of religion and government, which is what leads to many interventions.

              • CCWriter CCWriter says:

                I think where we get into trouble is in trying to draw a line according to whether motives for having laws are “religious” or not. That so easily leads to absurdity.

                Better we get clear on the fact that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights provide for the government to neutralize violence and other force that individuals might initiate against one another, but by a carefully prescribed due process that avoids interfering with other activities. That means if other, non-violent, activities need to be controlled, it has to be in ways other than by government. That way tyranny is avoided and responsibility and virtue are encouraged.

                If we agree that violence and other force are what government is supposed to deal with, we don’t have to worry about whether it’s religion, ethics, morals or anything else that are the basis to rule out violence and force. They’re against the law because they interfere with others’ life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

          • Kung Fu Zu says:

            I appreciate your trying to define the various areas in which government should be active or not. But your separation of “ethics” and “morals” is defective.

            In the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, the first definition of “ethics” is “the moral principles governing or influencing conduct”. In the Oxford Compact Thesaurus, the first synonym for “ethics” is “moral code”, then “morals, morality, values, rights and wrongs, principles, ideals, standards (of behavior), virtues.”

            I bring these points up not to be a smart ass, rather to point out the true meaning of the words and the difficulty which we are facing when trying to determine what is and isn’t acceptable in society and how far government may go to impose standards of conduct.

            It is simply not good enough to say:

            “What I am talking about is leaving out of the political mix certain things that are not supposed to be the province of government”

            I don’t know what that means, seriously. Human history makes clear that different people have different opinions about:

            “things that are not supposed to be the province of government.”

            Since there are a plethora of different opinions on any subject, and people are not mind readers, it behooves those who hold particular opinions which they feel strongly on, to get out and convince others that these opinions are correct or at least can be tolerated in the larger picture of government.

            Where do we begin? Murder and theft are pretty easy to criminalize. What about abortion? Is it murder? Is a woman’s control over her body sacrosanct? Should homosexual marriage be recognized by the State? If so, should the religious freedoms of those who oppose it, be trampled on?

            These are difficult decisions because they are inherently difficult. Both societal and personal choices are often very difficult. And the difficult ones are rarely black and white.

            Generalities may (or may not) be interesting in philosophical discussions, but if someone wishes to be politically effective, they have to be pretty specific.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Basically, morals and ethics are defined as more or less the same thing, or at least overlapping categories. I think it would be useful to have 2 terms covering different aspects, and that’s why I use morality and ethics that way. That’s also why I explained my usage. Government should generally involve itself in how people treat other people (though, as in many interventions in the business field, such involvement may be unwise — which is another question entirely).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      We are faced with a simple choice.

      A) Reduce and/or reform (such as socialism can ever be reformed) entitlements

      B) Keep spending like a drunken sailor

      C) Apologize to the drunken sailors, for in their worst binges, they are infinitely less harmful than all the “sober” Democrats and Republicans selling this nation into bankruptcy.

      It’s nice to talk in generalities. But I think we often do so in order to avoid the specifics. And the specifics will all be in regards to this unholy system that has developed today whereby politicians use the power of government to take money from one group and give to another and thereby secure votes.

      Now, who is going to look Mr. or Mrs. America in the eye and tell them that they are half of an unholy and destructive alliance, that they are selling out their own children and future generations for “free stuff”? But that is the task. It has little to do with quibbling over who is a conservative or who isn’t. It has to do with facing up to the selling off of our republic piece by piece.

    • RobL_V2 RobL_V2 says:

      Right on CC, that’s the head of the nail… What is conservatism?

      I’m actually writing a book (very slowly writing) on this theme.

      Conservatism by nature is a very diverse, intellectually rich, principled philosophical-political belief system.

      Leftism for all its blather and demagoguery is rather quite parochial, staid, intolerant and boring. Its essence is simply a reaction, an adolescent tantrum, to whatever the established conservative tradition of the day is. But they have one strength, they are monolithic, and as such they can throw their dead weight around to split the many interests of Conservatism.

      The theme of my book is exact nail you just hammered. Regardless the opinions on extemporaneous issue minutia, fundamentally our opinions are formed by conservative principles. Sure those opinions can vary, I wouldn’t expect it another way for conservatism is a wellspring nourishing a vast garden of intellectual fruit. But for the garden to survive the wellspring must be maintained. Conservatives must remain united on the fertile soil which nurtures all our roots else we risk the rock of liberalism rendering fallow fields upon us.

      This is easy enough to do and I’ll elucidate if I ever complete my book but to be honest not doing is should serve motivating enough, for if we don’t the alternative is an anathema to all conservatives. We exit the bucolic and enter the classical for a bleak utopian colossus awaits, perpetual life in the cave with a non too bright monovisioned Cyclops perfectly content with devouring its young (and ours) for sustenance.


      CC – I agree with you that it is absolutely essential that a small-government coalition be assembled. Indeed, I would say that the idea of limited government is what makes Conservatives of various stripes Conservative, by logical necessity if not by intention. I even agree that someone should try to codify just what “Conservatism” means in a present-day context (I’ll get around to it eventually). But while I respect you and your opinions generally, I cannot agree that Conservatives must abandon certain key social Conservative issues in order to attract so-called “moderates” or Libertarians.

      You didn’t specify what you meant by “things that are not supposed to be the province of government” – so I will assume you are referring to abortion and gay marriage. Obviously, this is not the place to exhaustively discuss these issues, but from a Constitutional perspective, it is preposterous to suppose that the state legislatures are not competent to enact laws controlling these matters. Marriage is not a junior high school romance; it is a sacred promise between two people, a contract of a special kind but like all contracts enforceable by law, and implicating the raising of children in a manner that assures the continuance of our society and culture. The case of abortion is even more stark: do you seriously maintain that a state legislature is not competent (in the Constitutional sense) to determine when human life begins and to grant that life the full protection of the laws? What distinguishes our side from the Left is our concern for the individual; we cannot callously discard young lives into the trash barrel as they do and still hold any claim to morality. I welcome pro-abortion Republicans who sincerely believe in individual rights into our tent, but I view them as erring sisters who may in time be brought to see how concern for the rights of the individual cannot exclude the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

      Having briefly and inadequately touched on the moral question of just how big our “big tent” can be, we come now the question of practical politics, and here I think Kung Fu Zu nails the matter down as concisely as anyone could:

      “If your ‘core’ values are more offended by certain ‘conservative pieces’ than by the last five years, then you are probably not a constitutional conservative to begin with. ”

      Exactly so. Not to be too windy about it, but the mistake Libertarians and Objectivists have been making all these years is to think it was better to fight Conservatives over an imaginary threat of Christian theocracy than it was to battle the Left over essential freedoms, with the result that the forces of freedom (Conservatives, primarily) were left with fewer supporters than they should have been. I don’t know if our side can win elections without the support of Libertarians and Objectivists (Brad doesn’t think we can win even with Libertarians and Objectivists, and he may well be right – the pessimist!), but I do know we can’t win in the foreseeable future without social Conservatives: Republicans won the popular vote in the Presidential election exactly one out of the last six times, in 2004, and then only because of social Conservatives (according to the exit polls I looked at). This group favored Bush over Kerry by something like 80% – 20%, and there were enough of them to make all the difference. There are, indeed, a lot more social Conservatives than there are Libertarians in this country, so just as a practical matter, if we have to jettison one or the other, which do you think it should be?

      I hope you’ll join us, CC, and I mean that sincerely. But if you and other Libertarians (sorry about the capital-L; you’ll have to school me again some time in the difference between “l” and “L” Libertarians, although I doubt I’m going to adopt the convention) refuse to do so, and the Democratic Left succeeds in crushing the last vestiges of liberty in this country by so small a margin of victory that you could have made a difference if you hadn’t let the questions of abortion and gay marriage get in the way, then to recast your own words, on your heads be the continuation of political failure.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Exactly so. Not to be too windy about it, but the mistake Libertarians and Objectivists have been making all these years is to think it was better to fight Conservatives over an imaginary threat of Christian theocracy than it was to battle the Left over essential freedoms, with the result that the forces of freedom (Conservatives, primarily) were left with fewer supporters than they should have been.

        That’s well said, Nahalkides. Central to this story, and what was missing from my various rants on this thread, is the phenomenon of “danger on the right.” One cannot understand the ascendency of the Left unless one understands just how successfully conservatives, Christians, Republicans, businessmen, white people, men, and America herself have been demonized.

        This is what gave the Leftists their “in” to infiltrate and take over the Democrat Party, as well as many other previously “liberal” institutions. This is why I typically denigrate the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s. They didn’t even blink when they were told all this rubbish. They just went with it in self-gratifying splendor.

        And still are. This is why the idea is flawed that we can get back our country after the next “really dumb thing” that Obama and the Democrats do. Or that we can change things when things get bad enough. The assumption is that people will wake up and realize the error of their ways, especially when the pain hits.

        But they won’t. In my experience, even those who have no love for Obama still cling to their misconceptions regarding “danger on the right.” That naive and utopian strain is still strong in America. It’s a very smug and self-satisfying belief. These are the people who think that they, and only they, care about freedom and actually have learned to denigrate as second-nature those who really do.

        Their logic, morals, heart, and soul are still corrupted, or at least misguided. And some (such as Libertarians and Objectivists) run to various tangents-of-thought such as the “non-coercion” principle. If you have that as a principle, then you can’t have government. And that’s why libertarians are usually anarchists of one type or another.

        The day my own older brother and/or sister can come to me and say, “You know, most of the things I learned in the 60’s is a bunch of rubbish” then I will have hope. And both of my older siblings are great people. But they were (as millions others were) a generation indoctrinated with this “danger on the right” stuff and fed the enormously conceited idea that they, and only they, truly cared about liberty. They were fully propagandized.

        Most of my online friends are Christians, and most of them are what you would call pretty devout Christians. I mean, they really believe in God. The whole idea of religion for them isn’t just another feel-good experience or some kind of Cosmic entitlement. They really take it seriously.

        And in all that time I’ve never ever seen a serious error in regards to them wanting to enact a theocracy. In short, the very idea of actually have good values has been so ridiculed that, well, we get to this point to where we are today, the Miley Cyrus generation. Every wholesome thought or action was ridiculed for decades until all we have left is cynicism, libertinism, and this really stupid return to paganism in which Mother Gaia is worshipped like a god.

        One of the hardest things for people of the last few generations to hear is “Everything the Left taught you was a lie.” And I often start conversations with friends in just that way. It is the truth. Everything the Left told you was a lie. Sometimes there was a grain of truth inserted and then exaggerated to the absurd. But the lie was by far the greater portion of it.

        And this isn’t rocket science. Yes, somewhere you’ll always find someone taking any good value to an extreme. but remember Ed who said that being preached to by a zealous Christian was worse than going to Vietnam? This is the type of people we’ve all become to a certain extent. We’ve become silly people with silly expectations of perfection, of Utopia.

        The question is, when all the good things about America were being ridiculed by the techniques of exaggeration and demonization, why did the hippies and the generations since then so easily buy into the lie? The lies were as absurd then as they are today. That is the real question. We will always have liars and power-seekers amongst us. The Nancy Pelosis and B. Hussein Obamas aren’t going anywhere. But why did we come to accept their kind? Why did we willingly throw away the good for promises of perfect?

        When we can answer this question, then perhaps the GOP can be the vehicle for positive political change. But those kinds of questions aren’t even on their radar. And, besides that, most of the issues we face are not political.

        When America is good, it can be free, prosperous, wise, productive, and honest. And right now we are not within a stone’s throw of being good.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          In their 1970 book The Real Majority, Richard Scammon and Ben Wattenberg commented that if you give a basically moderate person an immoderate choice, you’ll get an immoderate reaction. This is what modern liberalism has created for those of us who have come to realize what it is and what it does. Unfortunately, most people don’t see it, and therefore they consider people like us obsessively hostile to liberals or similar terms — even those inclined to agree with us, as I’ve encountered recently in FOSFAX.

  5. RobL_V2 RobL_V2 says:

    The problem with the GOP is they do not attract voters, they repel them.

    This country needs a viable conservative party to counter an extraordinarily effective Leftwing party.

    This is where the GOP is just plain dumb for they seek to emulate the success of the Left instead of understanding the Left’s success is due to their own weakness.

    The GOP is weak because they do not have confidence in conservatism and pander to the Left to attract Lefty voters. Well that is never going to work. Lefties will continue to vote for the Left and conservatives will refuse to vote for a GOP complicit in pushing the country left.

    A 3rd party is not an option, our Constitutional system works best within the two party milieu. Any attempt at a 3 party system (conservative, libertarian, leftist) will either lead to a broadening of the gridlock or worse effectively create a one party system by splitting functional opposition to Leftism leaving a united dominant and ascendant Leftwing Party in permanent power.

    The future is easy to see. Either the GOP returns to conservatism or it will fade away as conservatives move to a conservative alternative. Perhaps TEA or some movement yet to declare itself. I prefer the GOP return to its conservative roots as in the doing they can be a force in 2014 and 2016. The risk of a new party ascendency is it will take some years to consolidate and in the interim the Left can do considerable if not irrevocable damage. This must be avoided. Thus time for conservatism is now, do you best to make sure you representatives know it.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I have long suspected that one reason for the weakness of the squishes is that they’re afraid that the liberal accusation of their selfishness (or whatever) is in fact accurate. They don’t really have confidence that theirs is the right side. Bad as the Left is (and utterly callous toward people as individuals, as we see in their handling of the partial shutdown), they do believe (fanatically) that their policies best serve The People.

      • RobL_V2 RobL_V2 says:

        Ironic isn’t it? Conservatism offers more to more people yet conservatives lack confidence whereas liberals are supremely confident in their beneficence despite all facts showing they only harm those they intend to help.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Liberals rely on dogma (pravda) as opposed to facts (istina). This makes it very easy to behave without regard to results. Note, too, that the problem isn’t so much that conservatives are so squishy, but that Republicans who really aren’t all that conservative are.

      • cdjaco says:

        I hadn’t quite thought of the Establishment GOP in that manner, but it would explain a lot. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing and/or don’t have a firm belief in what you’re doing is right, you’re not going to be a great advocate for the cause.

        I wonder how many Congressmen, party leaders and so-called conservative pundits really are Republicans more out of tradition than philosophy.

        • RobL_V2 RobL_V2 says:

          That’s true, the philosophy of many a politico is…

          ‘How do I get in power how do I stay in power.’

          A far cry from the civic virtue espousing citizen-soldier the framers intended…

  6. Kurt NY says:

    I think we’re overthinking all of this when we express doubt that a truly conservative agenda would have a prayer with the voters. The sad truth of the matter is that (at least in my opinion) the overwhelming majority of voters just don’t think that deeply about any of this and vote for reasons that defy logic to everyone but them.

    An example: Last week The NY Times had an article in which they predict that DeBlasio will win the NYC mayoralty election in a landslide, yet the poll respondents who just expressed their intent to vote for him opposed the policies he espoused. So, in the same breath, we have people say they are going to definitely vote for someone whose policies they oppose. Obamacare is hideously unpopular, yet its eponymous author won a solid majority of votes, thereby making it impossible to undo the damage that most have said would be so abhorrent to them. So what we are seeing is a bifurcation between policy preferences and voting behavior – complete ignorance of or even outright opposition to policy is not necessarily a bar to voting for a candidate.

    In which case, I think it far more likely that people vote for those to whom, for whatever reason, they develop a connection, a feeling that the candidate is one who feels their pain and has their best interests at heart. Voters need to believe, not with the intellect, but with their gut.

    And with what are conservatives presenting them at the moment? Doom and gloom and abstract (although correct) intellectualizing about public issues. While our opponents talk about their concern for the little guy, even while their policies hurt those they claim to protect. We do not have to change our policies, we do not have to bribe. We have to present a positive vision of where conservatism will take us. We are in the worst economy in 80 years and our message is the other guy bites. What we have to say is what we are FOR and how that will bring back Morning in America.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Good points, Kurt.

      One of the realities is that people will vote against their best interests because they have been taught that their side is the side of the cool, the hip, the open, the generous, the wouldn’t-hurt-a-kitten enlightened people, etc. And they’ve been taught that the other side is the opposite.

      And every reform that we need involves reducing something: money, bureaucracy, public employee union workers, abortions, welfare, etc.

      And it just so happens, in a miracle of the convergence of human nature with political opportunism, that these reforms and reductions are easily characterized as “uncaring” by Democrats and “mine by right” by those who have been receiving this “free stuff.”

      Integrity is a lonely place even in the best of circumstances. But what party or politician can stand up to that ungodly duo? Fiscal sanity is said to be unkind. And those who benefit (or think they do) from government largesse are all too ready to believe that anyone who would take away their “free stuff” is a ogre.

      This is the corner we are trapped in. And if the power of the purse wasn’t enough, you have the media-education-entertainment complex feeding people Leftist propaganda. They make the abnormal and dishonest seem normal and honest. So even if one had a pang of conscience about any of this, it quickly goes away because rarely is it reinforced.

      To quote John Derbyshire, “We Are Doomed.” There is no telling what is coming other than that we can’t continue to do what we are doing now. This status quo is not sustainable. What next? Who really knows?

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