Stereotype Threat

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word “Republican?”   


If you can’t think of anything positive, you’ve identified the primary problem facing the GOP in the 2010s. Despite the GOP’s recapturing of the House of Representatives as well as numerous governorships and state legislatures, the party’s public image has yet to fully recover from the beating it took during the Bush era. The 2010 midterm results were brought about by economic malaise and frustration with President Obama, not by the public’s re-embrace of Republican ideology.    


It’s still quite possible for President Obama to be re-elected in 2012, and it’s not hard to envision the GOP losing the House in two years as well. For all the chatter about America supposedly being a “center-right” country, the reality is that the country will not truly be “center-right” until Republicans finally challenge the stereotypes that have existed about the party for years. 


There are communities all across America filled with people who react with horror and disgust when they hear the word “Republican.” Despite Scott Brown’s historic Senate victory a year ago this month, his party’s losses in the Massachusetts midterm elections demonstrate that the Bay State is one such community. As Boston Phoenix political reporter David Bernstein noted on November 8, “To most Bay Staters (in fact, most New Englanders), ‘Republicans’ are anti-intellectual, vitriolic, reactionary, ‘Party of No,’ Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Southern ideologues. ‘FOX Republicans,’ if you will.”   


Republicans can spend all day denouncing these stereotype as false, or lambasting media, academic and entertainment entities that are viewed as perpetuating these stereotypes—but wouldn’t it make more sense to simply shatter these stereotypes?  


Republicans need to ask themselves the following questions:  


1. Would supply-side economics be held in contempt by large numbers of Americans if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities made a point of demonstrating that supply-side economics benefited the vast majority of Americans, not just the wealthy?  


2. Would the notion of Republican anti-intellectualism have such currency if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities did a better job of spotlighting the right’s intellectual class? The recent Fox News special The Right, All Along: The Rise, Fall & Future of Conservatism did a commendable job of reminding viewers of the right’s intellectual heritage, but the broadcast was the exception to the rule.  


3. Would the idea of Republicans being scornful of science even exist if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities had more prominent figures who regarded environmental science as something other than “the new refuge of socialist thinking,” as Rush Limbaugh called it in his 1992 book The Way Things Ought to Be?   


4. Would the concept of Republicans-as-theocrats be as strong as it is in the minds of millions of Americans if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities were more vocal in embracing a federalist approach to social issues, as Jonah Goldberg recommended in Reason Magazine last year?   


The Democratic Party can only prosper if Republicans fail to address the underlying, long-standing issues that still make so many Americans uncomfortable with the GOP: the idea that Republicans lack empathy, don’t give a damn about anyone who’s not already a billionaire, loathe gays and single mothers, secretly desire Christian Shari’a, believe mankind plays no significant role in climate change, are obsessed with spending trillions to democratize the Middle East, regard public education as a wasteland and are generally selfish, uncaring jerks.   


There’s nothing wrong with demonstrating empathy. “Compassionate conservatism” may have been an empty slogan, but if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities don’t do a better job of showing that the GOP is not as hard-hearted as it’s often made out to be, the 2010 midterms will go down in history as a fluke.  


The last decade was an awful one for the Republican Party. Twenty years after Ronald Reagan’s ten-point victory over President Carter, George W. Bush—the man who was promoted in some conservative circles as Reagan’s true ideological heir—barely got past Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College and lost the popular vote. Four years later, Bush beat Senator John Kerry by three points, hardly a “center-right” blowout. Republicans lost control of the House and Senate in 2006 and surrendered the White House in 2008. Were it not for pro-GOP momentum generated by the Tea Party movement, as well as the aforementioned public frustration with Obama, the party would still be a sickly elephant ready to be put down.    


Too many Republicans still think of themselves as representing the country’s natural majority. This mentality leads to laziness, shortsightedness, arrogance and a failure to recognize and fix key problems. Republicans would be much better off thinking of themselves as a minority group, one that must confront and overcome stereotypes in order to obtain success and social acceptance. Before Republicans can change minds, they must first change their own. 


(Cross-posted at Notes from D.R.)

The Natural Majority

In thinking about what to write after a long election season hiatus, I honestly just thought of completely reposting this piece from back in May, which built upon an earlier case I laid out for a ginormous Republican seat gain by making the case that if you simply assigned House seats to their Cook PVI winner, the result would be a sizeable GOP majority. 

How big? The seat breakdown I had for a perfectly politically balanced House of Representatives was 239 Republicans to 196 Democrats. 

Right now, we sit at 239 and we'll end up in the 242-243 range. 

In an odd way, I think the Tea Party surge has ended up bringing Washington back to the true political center of the country, but not yet fully to the right. The obstacles Republicans faced in moving the needle in their House numbers -- entrenched Blue Dog incumbents like Ike Skelton, John Spratt, Chet Edwards, and Gene Taylor -- were moved away last night. These are not "surge" seats that will be surrendered at the next election, but now likely Republican for life -- and ones we didn't have during Republican control of the House from 1994 to 2006. I tweeted out a few possible remaining targets for 2012 -- Heath Shuler for one, Ben Chandler for another -- but in truth I was having trouble coming up with that many because the Blue Dog hit list was exhausted so completely. 

Meanwhile, we generated a 63 seat wave without much in the way of gains in deep blue areas. The second act to the Scott Brown miracle didn't happen as New England stayed staunchly blue with the exception of New Hampshire. That's unfortunate from a storytelling perspective, but it also means we defend our newfound majority from much more solid ground than either the Democrats from 2006 onwards or Republicans in the dozen years after the 1994 revolution. 

The atmosphere in Washington today is also much more muted than it was after '94. Check out this remarkable clip of Gingrich right after the '94 vote poking his finger in the eye of the White House, claiming a mandate and saying "We are revolutionaries." I remember all that, but it sounded so out of place in today's context given all the modest rhetoric about a "second chance." 

This election was also a direct repudiation of a leader elected under Messianic pretexts. It was only a matter of time before the arrogance of it all -- the Hope stuff, the "We are the change we've been waiting for," the pretentiousness of the sunrise "O" -- generated an equal and opposite reaction (kind of like all of you who love to hate the Yankees). With Republican enthusiasm in the toilet the last two cycles, their very legitimacy as a political opposition spit on by the media, Republican voters I talked to yesterday took enormous satisfaction in seizing upon Obama's political weakness as they cheerfully showed up to vote. 

The act of yelling "realignment" after an election is getting tired and farcical after an unprecedented third wave in a row, so I'll resist doing it here. In the House, there was a tactical realignment, as seats Democrats held for personal reasons now give way to natural conservative Republican-held strongholds we'll hold for a long time. Attitudinally, the pendulum simply swung from the far left to the center. The President will be a Democrat, the Senate will be narrowly Democratic, and the House Republican, and the overall result will be all sides canceling each other out, e.g. centrism.

While not conservative per se, it is in one important sense: very little will get done. And that's a good thing. D.C. types assume gridlock is a dirty word, but voters acted very deliberately to hit the breaks on the Democratic train that ramrodded Obamacare. A pause in the frenetic activity of the last two years in Washington, and the fact of the House as a de-facto veto on spending levels, means a profoundly conservative outcome, if not in policy, than in the nature and speed and pace of activity coming out of the nation's capital. 

RightOnline Day 1 - Building Coalitions

Las Vegas is insane.

Everything I've heard about this Disneyland-for-adults is true: neon, sparkles, bells & whistles, herds (and hordes) of people, STAR WARS slot machines (pictures later)...I will definitely have to come back here one day for purposes other than business. My friend Jon Henke (@JonHenke) and I flew from DC yesterday by way of Newark, NJ and didn't even land in Vegas until 1am was a long day, and I slept in a bit. It was easy to do in my posh suite at the Venetian, with my sunken living room and remote-controlled drapes! Life is hard.

The first panel I attended today featured Todd Thurman (@toddthurman) of the Heritage Foundation, Brian Faughnan (@brianfaughnan) of Liberty Central, and Alexa Moutevelis (@alexashrugged) of the RNC, all moderated by my Liberty Pundits co-blogger Melissa Clouthier (@melissatweets). The panel focused on connecting grassroots activists in the field to policy shops in DC - like Heritage, Cato, or other think tanks - as well as to communications resources and activism training like those offered by FreedomWorks or the Leadership Institute.

Probably one of the better bits of information passed along during the discussion was the notion that activists in the field shouldn't be shy about engaging DC-based resources. Yes, DC is busy. Yes, DC occasionally has a heightened, over-inflated sense of self. But DC is also sitting on piles of your cash, looking for a way to return value back to you. So don't be shy about sending emails or picking up the phones to ask for help.

But more than just connecting grassroots activists to DC to get talking points and policy papers to support candidates back home, the panel focused on connecting activist to activist using technology - that means Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere, and other online resources. The RNC announced some nascent, new API and they are transitioning all of their online tools to an open-source platform...the API is apparently already available for developers...more on this later. Despite this move to make RNC resources more available to more people, there was some grumbling in the audience that the RNC fails (on occasion) to return voter vaults back to activists on the ground once they pull out of town following a race. This makes people currently involved with components of the Tea Party movement a bit reticent to cooperate with the RNC in Washington.

After a few questions, and after some dancing around the issue, I asked the panel: is there a sense, going into this November's elections (and subsequently in 2012) that the Right should be worried about the Left exploiting a growing rift between conservatives and libertarians? If so, how can we, or more appropriately, should we be doing anything differently than the suggestions you've all made here today to, strengthen the coalition between these two groups?

The consensus from the panel seemed to be that there's not really any danger this year - libertarians and conservatives agree in principle that the prevailing issue of this election is the economy, stupid. Throwing the bums out is priority #1 in 2010. But the funnel of candidates is currently full, and the new Congressional primary begins, effectively, on November 3 - it is possible that infighting on the Right might get nastier in 2011 and 2012.

Todd Thurman told me after the panel "We just need to make sure we're talking, and that we're sticking together in areas where we agree." I agree in principle with this strategy, but only inasmuch as it's a first step. Because there is potential for infighting to become nastier on the Right as we approach 2012, it's important to talk about areas where we disagree too - libertarians remain (rightly) mistrustful of the Big Government GOP - the same GOP that is trying to ride the Tea Party Tiger into new majorities this fall. Ignoring our differences now can be our foil later.

Cross-posted at Liberty Pundits and Intelligence, Please...

Why 2010 Won't Be Like 1994. (It'll Be Bigger.)

I might be setting myself for a healthy serving of crow on November 3rd, but I get a distinct feeling that the GOP may be headed toward to a seat gain in the House of epic proportions -- somewhere over 50 seats and well above the historical high point for recent wave elections (the 50-55 seats we experienced in elections like 1946 and 1994). 

All in all, I don't think a 70 seat gain is out of the question.  

I'll admit that a lot of this is prediction is pure gut. I probably sounded crazy when I said Marco Rubio kinda had a shot against Crist a year ago, and that Scott Brown kinda had a shot against Coakley, but if anything I wished I'd been even bolder in those predictions given the roller-coaster volatility of this political environment.

Not all elections are created equal. In most elections, most incumbents have an impregnable advantage and elections are fought between the 40-yard-lines. 

This is not one of those elections. 

It's true that people are pissed, etc. etc. It's true that Republicans benefit from an enthusiasm gap, etc. etc. But when you see numbers like dissatisfied independents lining up 66 to 13 percent behind the Republican candidate for Congress, and Republicans leading by 20 among very enthusiastic voters, all the momentum -- not most of it -- is in one direction. That last bastion of political stability -- incumbent advantage -- is inoperative in this political environment as incumbency has been become tantamount to a four letter word. Just 49 percent would re-elect their Congressman, compared to 40 percent who would throw the bum out. That's significant. Usually, people want to throw Congress over the ledge while toasting their Congressman

There are a number of structural reasons I think things line up in favor a tsunami-like event: 

The-politics-is-just-getting-crazier thesis. Crist-Rubio. Scott Brown. NY-23. How many situations have we been faced in the last 12 months where the side once given less than 10 percent odds has surged to become the favorite, if not the winner? That's a function of political volatility and voter anger, but it's also a reflection of the fact that the stakes are higher. 

Bailouts, stimulus, health care not baked in yet. Voters have not had a chance to render their judgment on the 50% expansion of government power and influence since September 2008. Both candidates for President in 2008 supported the TARP bailout. The stimulus was slipped in after the election, and Obama never campaigned on a package of that magnitude. 

Voters now strongly disapprove of the three great government expansions of the last two years -- TARP, the stimulus, and the health care bill. The political impact of these events has not yet been reflected in the partisan makeup of Congress in any competitive race except one -- the Massachusetts Senate special election.

The case for a tidal wave can be summed up as follows. There have been great changes in the country since the last election that voters resoundingly reject, and combined with still high unemployment and voter anxiety, the conditions are there for a much greater than usual counter-response. (In 1993-94, Bill Clinton was only able to trim marginally around the edges compared to the last months of Bush and then Obama, and the economy was much stronger than it is today.) 

We can safely double Cook and Rothenberg. Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg are the deans of House race prognostication. Their current model projects a seat gain somewhere in the low-20s. Election Projection largely mirrors this. But a 20-30 seat projection is based on woefully incomplete information: you're pretty much only factoring in the obvious McCain seats with Democrats elected in 2006 or after, or open seats, and largely guessing based on fundraising numbers because there has been next to no polling done in individual House races yet. 

[UPDATE: A reader writes in to note that Cook has been talking up seat gains of between 30-40 seats for a month or more.]

Cook and Rothenberg also tend to be conservative: if a district is Democratic for any reason, they probably won't move it to toss-up or lean R without a string of polls with the Republican in the lead or some sort of phenomenal candidate recruitment disparity. Scott Brown wasn't projected by anyone to be a lean takeover until the very end. 

The traditional political tip sheets don't reflect newly competitive candidates with a living, breathing Republican candidate against long-term Democratic incumbents in conservative seats for the first time in ages -- candidates like Rick Berg in ND-AL, Sean Duffy in WI-7 (disclaimer: client), Morgan Griffith in VA-9, and the primary winner in MO-4 against Ike Skelton. 

There is a tendency to underestimate waves. This wave has been on the horizon for a while, but those who were around in 1994 will remember how it took everyone by surprise, with even a more mild 40-seat gain needed to take control regarded as a remote possibility in October. The media -- particularly this media -- will always underestimate waves, and doubly so with Republican waves. 

This was also true to an extent with the Democrats in 2006. The Democrats' 30-seat gain was the high end of mainstream projections, but things really turned south for Republicans in late September with the Mark Foley scandal. In September, Republicans were seen as an even bet to keep the House on Intrade, and the bar the Democrats needed to clear then was a piddling 15 seats. Right now, Intrade already has Republicans as close to an even bet to take the 40 seats they need to claim the majority. 

Finally, and this is more of an intangible macro-level effect, does the fact that the 2010 wave has been far more well discussed in advance than the 1994 wave make it more or less likely to exceed expectations? New media has certainly made it possible to organize and move information faster than in 1994, but what about the Democrats ability to get inside this cycle? 

We are coming off two successive, ahistorical Democratic wave elections. Democrats have managed to swing something like 52 House seats in the last two elections. They are at an historic high water mark, as President Obama recently acknowledged. 

The fact that Democrats were able to pad their majority in 2008 would not have happened but for the fact that Obama changed the electorate. As I noted right after the election, Republicans in Congress were killed by the fact that young people voted straight ticket -- for Obama and then for Democrats in Congress. 

One could argue that 2008's political environment wasn't any for crappier for Congressional Republicans nationally than 2006 -- and in some ways it was better since we managed to pick off some seats, yet the surge in youth and minority turnout produced a double Democratic wave. 

I don't think I'm making an Earth-shattering statement when I say that the Obama coalition will not be there in 2010. In fact, one could argue that if one simply returned to the dismal, scandal-ridden 2006 environment with that same electorate, we'd be 10 to 20 seats better off than we are now. Now, start factoring in stuff like Republicans tied or leading in the generic ballot, which they hardly ever were even in years the successfully held the House, like 2002 and 2004. And more tellingly, the bumper crop of good candidates that's stepped forward after the drought of 2006 and 2008. 

I've argued thus far that political whiplash may be greater this year. But in truth, it may not be that much worse than the utter Republican collapse from 2004 to 2006. That collapse produced a loss of 30 House seats. But the starting point was a stable equilibrium established over 5 successive election cycles without a double digit gain in seats by either party. The starting point in 2010 is a very unstable one where Democrats have accumulated more than 50 new seats in four years, over 20 of them somewhat artificially because of the Obama coalition. 

The A-factor. Much of this argument so far has been a paint-by-numbers look at the national environment and the reasons why Republican gains may be underestimated. But what will supercharge our gains -- taking a 40 seat gain and stretching it into a 50, 60, even 70 seat gain -- will be continued voter anger and frustration with Washington which manifests itself in record-low Congressional job approval numbers after two successive elections when Americans voted for "change." 

In this kind of election, we will probably be talking about half a dozen to a dozen takeovers on Election Night that weren't on anyone's target list, that didn't see a dime in national advertising, that it was just assumed Democrats would win 60-40. There will be moments like Dan Rostenkowski or Dollar Bill Jefforson losing their seats completely out of the blue. 

Where? I'd look to any seat where the incumbent Democrat has done something to anger voters locally (flip-flopping on HCR seems to be a common theme) where we've got a strong candidate. In Massachusetts, we seem to have attracted good candidates in the wake of Scott Brown, and I could see Niki Tsongas and Barney Frank getting real races (Brown carried both their districts). Other sleeper districts include NY-1 (Rob Bishop), TN-5 (Jim Cooper), and FL-22 (Allen West vs. Ron Klein), where, oh by the way, we lead.

Even if I'm being optimistic, there is a certain logic (that the netroots have employed in a few election cycles now) of more traditional "smart money" going into the most winnable seats, and the online grassroots playing to expand the map. This year the perfect opportunity to put such a plan in action. If it's true that no Democrat is safe, we need to be looking at the seats that aren't even on the Cook and Rothenberg reports, or at best, on the very edges, for potential pickup opportunities to invest in. In the 30 to 45 days of the cycle, there should be a moneybomb every day to one of these targeted districts designed to drag them into contention and create a "terrorism effect" for every Democrat on the ballot. 

This first starts with good information. Earlier tonight on Twitter, I started a conversation about building a target list that would rank ALL 253 Democrat seats by likelihood of a Republican takeover, similar to what exists in Britain right now. Let's start thinking of where we can knock the Dems off balance and extend what are sure to be considerable gains. 

Good resources for House races: Election Projection and Key House Races.


The Iron Steele

You can argue with me on this point, but the question remains.

Why has no one asked for Steele's resignation?  Upon reading this story regarding his spending as leader of the GOP establishment, I seriously want to know how this man is still employed. 

With no exceptional leadership qualities, and continual string of Steele-specific faux wonder the GOP is having problems.

I call for new leadership.


Child’s Play: Scott Brown and abortion

If Scott Brown runs for President in 2016, will Tim Tebow support him?


Next Sunday, Focus on the Family is scheduled to run an ad during Super Bowl XLIV, featuring the Heisman Trophy winner. The ad will also feature Tebow’s mother; as’s Brent Bozell III notes, the spot will focus on “the story of how doctors told her she should have an abortion, and she refused that exercise of ‘choice.’ Pam Tebow was a missionary in the Philippines and had contracted dysentery, and the medicine had a chance of causing birth defects.”


The upcoming ad has stirred up an unusual controversy: as Bozell notes, “…’[F]eminist’ groups have exploded in fury, demanding CBS censor the ad. The Women's Media Center wrote a letter signed by an array of feminist organizations. They projected the ad would be ‘disastrous’ for CBS, and it throws women ‘under the bus’ and ‘endangers women's health.’ They even suggested pro-life ads resulted in ‘escalated violence’ against abortionists…Words like these might make a scintilla of sense if Focus on the Family were running some kind of hardcore, negative ad with inflammatory abortion images. But that's not the message, and they know it. The Tebow ad is not far removed from the positive pro-life ads run by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation during the Clinton years with the slogan ‘Life. What a beautiful choice.’”


The protests against the ad are a tempest in a teapot: Bozell has a point when he asks, “Isn't it a little strange to see people who present themselves as ‘pro-choice’ get so upset when someone suggests their choice was to keep the baby?” However, there could be a real political tempest within the Republican Party in just a few years.


Let’s assume for the sake of argument that President Obama manages to secure a second term (we cannot forget that it’s still tremendously difficult to dislodge incumbent Presidents, despite the circumstances surrounding the 1976, 1980 and 1992 Presidential elections.) Let’s also assume that the Bay State’s vibrant young Senator wins a full term in 2012 (once he is sworn in later this month, Brown will fill out the remaining years of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s final term), and eventually emerges as the odds-on favorite to be the GOP nominee in 2016. Will there be any controversy over Brown’s moderately pro-choice stance—and will that controversy divide the GOP?


It would shock the conscience of many conservative Republicans to have a GOP Presidential nominee who was not explicitly pro-life. Even though Brown opposes late-term abortions and favors parental-consent laws, his overall support for Roe v. Wade may disturb some GOP primary voters.


However, it’s not clear that it would disturb all of them.  If Brown, as a Presidential contender, vowed to support reasonable restrictions on “abortion on demand” and appoint strict constructionists such as Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court, would pro-life activists really abandon him for a less electable alternative?


The courageous Bay State group Massachusetts Citizens for Life supported Brown in the 2010 special election, recognizing that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good.  One hopes that if Brown emerges as a viable Presidential contender in 2016, national pro-life activists will demonstrate similar pragmatism.


Yes, the thought of supporting someone who does not completely disavow Roe might be a difficult pill for pro-life activists to swallow. However, if there is clear evidence that Brown can win the White House in 2016, and that a less charismatic pro-lifer cannot, these pro-life activists will have to think long and hard about the consequences of not supporting Brown—especially after eight years of Obama appointing judges who oppose any real restrictions on abortion to the federal bench.


This is highly speculative, of course. Yet time moves fast, and the 2016 elections will be here before we know it. Sure, Obama could lose in 2012 to an as-yet-unknown Republican contender, putting the Oval Office out of Brown’s reach for years. However, if Obama and Brown both win in 2012, the conservative from the Commonwealth will certainly be considered a championship contender four years down the line.


Barring a career-ending scandal, severe illness, or a loss of support from Massachusetts voters, Scott Brown will be a GOP superstar for years to come. He has the same qualities Ronald Reagan exhibited a generation ago. He’s already a household name, and clearly comes across as being of Presidential timbre. If, a half-decade from now, Brown generates real momentum as a White House aspirant, pro-life activists will have to decide if they are with him or against him.


Onward and Upward: Building a Sustainable Majority

This week has been a great one for conservatives across the nation. Scott Brown’s victory proved that, in the words of the increasingly vulnerable Barbara Boxer, “Every state is now in play.” His victory also demonstrated that Republicans can achieve many of the successes that led to Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States — dominating the Internet; raising unbelievable sums of money, especially online; building a massive base of small donors; and having a victory driven by a massive coalition of grassroots activists. With Brown’s victory came the ever-increasing likelihood that the Democrat’s health care bill would be stalled indefinitely. Then came the demise of Air America. All of these events have inspired a new-found confidence among those to the right of center, while liberals and Democrats have pushed the panic button. One of my favorite political minds, Jay Cost, asks, “What Does Obama Do Now?” For those of us on the right, I think conservatives must ask themselves an equally critical question: What do Republicans do now?

I admit that I believe that the GOP is on the verge of a 2010 blowout. As for the magnitude of said blowout, I think it’s too early to say, but in my mind there’s a real chance that Republicans could retake one of the chambers of Congress. However, as I’ve previously cautioned, I don’t believe that a blowout this year will mean things are better for the Republican Party. Winning back seats is great, but as Mindy Finn writes, those on the right must “stop gloating” — and start thinking about building a sustainable majority. A major victory this year will not be the product of a new-found love for the Republican Party; instead, it will be the product of voter disgust and discontent with the status quo, namely with President Obama and Democrats in Congress. The Republican Party is still enormously unpopular itself, and a midterm election blowout due to the aforementioned reasons is not exactly how a sustainable majority is built.

On the other hand, converting what are traditionally considered to be safe blue seats in places like Massachusetts and California (I’m looking at you, Barbara Boxer) to red ones — and finding ways to hold onto those seats — is certainly a step toward a sustainable majority. The same is true of fielding candidates in all 435 Congressional districts every cycle. Embracing transparency and continuing to authentically fight to limit government is another building block in a sustainable majority. Effectively using technology while embracing today’s Age of Participation through peer production is another step. Offering substantial and real policy options that differ from those of the White House and the Democrats is similarly critical.

To the contrary, getting sucked back into the ways of Washington by growing government and increasing spending is a sure way to cede momentum right back to the Democrats. Failing to broaden the base with different demographics, like young voters, Hispanics, or African Americans is another way to likely guarantee that 2010 will be a one-and-done year for Republicans. And of course, growing content with success at any point will inevitably lead right back to defeat.

Like your favorite sports game, momentum is critical in politics. Republicans clearly have the momentum, and barring a dramatic change in the political wind, this momentum will significantly change the composition of the Congress this November. When that happens, the ball will be in the GOP’s court. The crucial question will then be: What will they do with it?

Senators, Run For Cover – The Americans Are Coming, The Americans Are Coming!!

There are a lot of self-important and self-aggrandizing ‘power brokers’ in Washington that won’t be there come this time next year. It’s not just the tunnel-visioned hypocrites in the Senate that are in the cross-hairs either. The House of Representatives has MUCH to answer to the American voters for also.

Look for the DeMarxists to try to drive a wedge between the GOP and the TEA PARTY CONSERVATIVES. The facts are that the VAST majority of this country do identify themselves as conservative, for all the bleating of the lame stream socio-marxist media and the Maobamatons of the administration. The very people they have been crapping all over for years have been bulking up on the CONSTITUTION and the words of the FOUNDERS, the BILL OF RIGHTS and the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. They have remembered WHO and WHAT they are.

The Americans Are Coming!

All prognostications for next year’s elections are indicating grim prospects for politicians whom the American voter has determined are responsible for, and are in favor of, the OPPRESSIVE legislation now working its way through Congress. Whether by active or passive support, Americans are taking note and remembering. No matter if it was in favor of the massive pork ’stimulus’ funds the DeMarxists voted for themselves, or the fraudulent and UNCONSTITUTIONAL health care bill, to the economic disaster that is CAP and TAX, to the upcoming and soon to be introduced AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS – better known as the DeMarxist welfare constituent voter-for-life bill.

Americans have also figured out who and what was responsible for the economic collapse in the first place. The hysteria generation that worked so well that first time hasn’t done so well recently, have you noticed? The pandemic they worked so hard to gin up. When was the last time you heard about that? Notice the layers of lies they have piled on about the incipient environmental disasters we DON’T face, which are peeling away like the skins of an onion.

The CITIZENS AND TAXPAYERS OF AMERICA HAVE PLAINLY HAD IT. There is a new revolution out there and it’s growing in intensity daily. We will not be denied. It’s our America and we will preserve it.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2009


Rebuking the Spirit of Ignorance

At some point, the spirit will be exorcised.


It’s not clear when this spirit possessed the body. It’s not clear when this perverse entity took control and caused so much havoc, unleashed so much hell, directed so much destruction.


However, at some point, this spirit will be forced out.


This spirit—the spirit of ignorance—has taken over too many host bodies on the right. It’s a dark, devastating spirit, a painful poltergeist that threatens to destroy the conservative movement as we know it.


The spirit of ignorance causes its hosts to believe that knowledge is not necessary…education is not necessary…enlightenment is not necessary…nothing is necessary except for having the right values.


You can be as ignorant as you want to be, according to the dictates of this spirit. It doesn’t matter, so long as you have the right views and values.


This spirit is antithetical to conservatism’s past—for historically, it was conservatives who brought the knowledge, brought the ideas, brought the sense, brought the reason.


Bill Buckley. Milton Friedman. Thomas Sowell. Irving Kristol. They were the intellectual all-stars, the Dream Team of the right.


Who are their heirs? Who did they pass the torch to? Did the torch just fall to the ground, incinerating everything in its path?


There’s too much ignorance on the right these days—not enough intellectual depth, not enough erudition, not enough study. We have become geniuses at catchphrases and putdowns, but moronic when it comes to lifting this country up.


It’s not enough in this day and age to have the right principles. One must have the intellectual and rhetorical skills to communicate those principles to those willing to listen. Are conservatives now so fond of talking to themselves that they’ve lost the ability to talk to anyone else? Have we lost this art?


Can conservatives take a collective vow to spend the 2010s actually recruiting new people to the conservative movement, instead of building rhetorical monuments to the last Titan of the Right who tried to reach beyond his base? Consider the realm of faith—who’s a better Christian, someone who talks about Jesus Christ all the time, or someone who actually tries to help others as Jesus helped? The answer is obvious, no?


I would rather conservatives never mention Ronald Reagan’s name again, while continuing his work of reaching others with a conservative message, than constantly mention Reagan’s accomplishments while never bothering to bring people around to the worldview he advocated. Too many folks on the right have become the real-life versions of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s proverbial showbiz kids, spending their time making movies of themselves while not giving a damn about anybody else. It’s time for that to stop. Now.


The Tea Party movement is all nice and good, but it’s nowhere near enough. Protest, in and of itself, is never enough. Remember Frederick Douglass’ words: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” What have the Tea Partiers truly demanded?  And what will they do if they fail to get it?


Sometimes it seems that conservatives don’t realize just how much work they need to do to truly make this a center-right nation. The recent Gallup polls indicate that forty percent of the country self-identifies as conservative. That’s a pathetically low number. Why doesn’t sixty-five to seventy percent of the country self-identify as conservative? (And please don’t blame the mainstream media. Our message should be loud enough, strong enough, logical enough to be heard above the din of the mainstream media. If we haven’t made our message this loud and this clear, it’s our fault, not the Fourth Estate’s.)


There needs to be a real revolution within the right—a revolution that casts out the demon of ignorance, and elevates intelligent traditionalism—the sort that Buckley, Friedman, Sowell and Kristol, among others, represented—to its rightful place in the movement. There needs to be a real revolution that simplifies and clarifies conservative principles so that those principles can be communicated to those who aren’t already in the conservative camp.  There needs to be a real revolution that brings about a vibrant, vigorous conservatism, not the old, musty, dusty stuff that passes for conservatism today.


If that real revolution doesn’t come, then we deserve to be trashed as teabaggers—and we’ll find ourselves steeped in spitefulness.


Two Strikes Against Us

In any Presidential election, the Republican candidate starts off with two invariable liabilities.


The first liability is negative coverage from the mainstream media, a liability GOP candidates should always be prepared for. Despite all the complaints about mainstream media bias from the right, such bias never seems to go away—because it really can’t go away. Media bias is a constant based on who the journalism industry attracts—if conservatives are reluctant to go into journalism for whatever reason, progressives will naturally dominate the field, and bring their worldview into American newsrooms and studios.


Another liability for Republican Presidential candidates stems from the modern perception of the GOP’s conservative philosophy. The average, ideologically unaligned voter will naturally be suspicious of a Republican Presidential candidate promoted as a conservative: if conservatism means skepticism towards the federal government, then why would someone want to vote for a candidate to run a system that candidate is wary of?


While the liability of media bias cannot be resolved anytime soon, future Republican Presidential candidates can find a way around the liability of preconceived notions. In short, GOP candidates must always make clear that they are not, in fact, against government per se.


The Republican Party long ago lost its credibility regarding its putative opposition to big government. However, Republican Presidential candidates can still credibly oppose bad government. If future GOP White House contenders provide details about what they plan to cut from the federal budget, they will begin the process of restoring the GOP’s image as a fiscally responsible entity.


It’s not enough to prattle on about tax cuts. At the end of the day, what good is a tax cut if it’s not paired with clear cuts in federal spending? Since when have tax cuts, in and of themselves, brought fiscal responsibility to Washington?


Tax cuts are supposedly intended to “starve the beast,” but as we found in the 2000s, the beast kept right on eating. Having a tax cut without a spending cut is similar to having a car with two gas pedals and no brakes…a recipe for disaster.


The Tea Party movement is supposed to be about fiscal responsibility in Washington, right? If that’s indeed the case, then the GOP cannot capture the Tea Party spirit in toto unless the party makes clear its commitment to responsible government—which includes a clear commitment to cutting federal spending.


Are there political risks involved in proposing actual cuts in the federal budget—the effective elimination of politically popular subsidies, the real reduction in the amount of money that goes to certain entitlements? Sure…but the GOP must take those risks, or else the party will inevitably collapse.


The GOP will not and cannot last long as the “tax cut-and-spend” party. The “tax cut-and-spend” approach contributed to the party’s loss of face (and power) in the late-2000s. The only way the GOP can return to full health is by reestablishing itself as an entity that believes in government—that is to say, streamlined, fiscally sound government, free of redundancy and recklessness.


There are still many Americans who consider themselves alienated from the GOP. They have too many disagreements with Democrats to ever consider themselves members of the party of Pelosi. Yet these voters, these parents, these workers, these citizens just want the GOP to make sense again.


They want the Republican Party to stand for something—first and foremost, legitimate fiscal responsibility. They have other grievances—the apparent lack of a foreign policy based on achievable goals as opposed to abstract catchphrases, the failure to embrace a federalist approach to hot-button social issues, the fixation upon glorifying rural Americans to the exclusion of urban Americans—but their main compliant is the GOP’s lack of commitment to fiscal propriety.


They want the party to watch every dollar, and be a true steward of the people’s money. They want the party not just to say no to Democratic proposals, but to say yes to new concepts that will bring fiscal logic back to Washington. They want the party to realize that a growing deficit is but a quicksand pit. They want the party’s leaders to report for duty in the war against government waste, fraud and abuse, instead of just being phony soldiers.


These men and women want fiscal fairness—which means cutting taxes and cutting spending, not one without the other.


Why can’t the GOP just give the people what they want?


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