Politics

Tips for Republicans

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For those who came in late, the sole reason for the disarray of the GOP is apparently either

(a) that damn Palin woman and her barefoot fans, or

(b) those latte-sipping moderates who keep criticizing the People's Tribune.

Expel your base or retreat into an echo chamber: If those choices seem dispiriting, Republicans can take heart. They're the same false alternatives that the Democrats allegedly faced four years ago. Then a politician who hadn't fallen behind the bipartisan Iraq war—but, unlike Howard Dean, actually wanted to be president—came out of nowhere to beat his party's establishment and take the White House.

There's a lesson there. If I were a Republican, I'd ignore the inane Palin debate and start looking around for a politician who had the good sense to break with the bipartisan consensus and oppose the bailout bill before it passed. Then I'd start planning an insurgency.

NEXT: On a Doctor's Moral Duty To Cut Off Limbs, or, It's a Szasz, Szasz, Szasz, Szasz World

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  1. Less government; lower, fewer, and simpler taxes; reduced spending; less meddling with the marketplace; more support of civil liberties.

  2. Well, your post is definitely more cogent – and succinct – than Jonah Goldberg’s latest column. People who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal aren’t “Jackalopes” they’re libertarian, jackass.

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MjRlMDEyZDcyYTNlODliYmRhZWRkNjc2OGE2YjViOWI=

  3. Libertarians within the GOP should consider striking now, while the party is reeling. Go to your local executive committee meeting and lobby for a renewed focus on shrinking government and reducing taxes. It probably won’t work, but even a small shift would improve where we are today.

    If the GOP would leave social and religious issues outside of their platform–going for moral persuasion rather than government compulsion to achieve their ends–maybe the limited government mantra could really take root.

  4. Just making less God talk would be a good place to start. Christ.

    Then what PL said.

  5. I’d ignore the inane Palin debate

    Hope we can believe in?

  6. “I’d ignore the inane Palin debate and start looking around for a politician who had the good sense to break with the bipartisan consensus and oppose the bailout bill before it passed.”

    Good God, do you realize none other than Mike Huckabee fits that description?

  7. I’d ignore the inane Palin debate

    But dude, she’s a somewhat good-looking broad! Obsess, dude, OBSESS!!!

  8. Ska,

    Indeed. I’d point out to them that God can manage for himself. But He is concerned with this statist trend we’re in and thinks that all good Christians should fight harder for the liberty of their brothers. [And sisters!] And sisters.

    Episiarch,

    She’s better than somewhat good looking. Please, credit where credit is due, even when the candidate isn’t Salma Hayek.

  9. break with the bipartisan consensus and oppose the bailout bill before it passed. Then I’d start planning an insurgency.

    Wait, didn’t we try that?

  10. I just read that Hillary Clinton is in consideration for Secretary of State. What hath God wrought?

  11. FDR lives! Government intervention is back! Milton Friedman and his moronic acolyte Ronald Reagan are discredited! Long live Maynard Keynes! Fuck free-market fundamentalists!

    Sorry, I got carried away.

  12. Wait, didn’t we try that?

    If Paul wants to run an anti-bailout, anti-war campaign in 2012, that would be great. But I suspect he won’t. He gets to be Howard Dean in this scenario.

  13. Why, by the way, do liberetarians give a fuck what happens to the GOP? You’ve got the LP, for Christ’s sake. Flog your own brand. So Bob Barr makes people want to vomit. Offer gravol with a membership. I mean, fuck, get creative. Donare now!

  14. “Lefiti | November 14, 2008, 10:17am | #
    FDR lives! Government intervention is back! Milton Friedman and his moronic acolyte Ronald Reagan are discredited! Long live Maynard Keynes! Fuck free-market fundamentalists!

    Sorry, I got carried away.”

    Lefiti, actual leftists are strongly against the bailout. For different reasons, but still against it.

  15. Fuck you, BDB, you narrowed-minded asshole. Everything doesn’t fit into neat little categories, doctrinaire fuck.

  16. I agree with Stephen Gordon, the GOP has effectively lost it’s branding. Not that it wasn’t tarnished and faded already but GWB & Co buried it and then did a little jig on the gravestone.

    The GOP has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are the party of big government, no longer running three steps behind the Democrats with a shoeshine kit shouting ME TOO! Now, they lead the parade. Well, except they don’t anymore because who needs pseudo-Democrats when you can have actual Democrats.

  17. Lefiti/All fake Lefitis,

    We intend to fight you on all fronts, that’s why. There are quite a few confused libertarians in the GOP, which is why limited government rhetoric worked there in the past. . .until we, like you, were Bushwhacked.

  18. But the real question is, what would Ty Pennington do?

    Maybe if we just visualize a better GOP

  19. The key must be that ANY bailout vote or similar big spending vote — even one, even once — must mean political death for any Republican that wants to call itself “conservative” in any future election if the word “conservative” is to mean anything. And I’d be amazed at the Republicans if they were smart enough to give RP 1/8 the power Democrats gave Dean post-scream.

    Democrats, unlike Republicans, have BALLS. Example? They let Kucinich speak, while Republicans could not even let Ron Paul roam the convention floor unattended. Grow a pair, Republicans, or keep loosing, but don’t think you can keep getting away with stealing libertarian rhetoric & then governing as statists. It won’t work. We’ve got the internet.

  20. Lefiti | November 14, 2008, 10:23am | #
    Fuck you, BDB, you narrowed-minded asshole. Everything doesn’t fit into neat little categories, doctrinaire fuck.

    If you take out all the enraged cursing, not much is left.

  21. And you’re right. Not everything fits into neat little categories. But libertarians weren’t the only ones against the bail out. Unless you want to call Dennis Kucinuch and Bernie Sanders “free market fundamentalists”. Which you could, but you’d look stupid.

  22. But the real question is, what would Ty Pennington do?

    Dude, what’s the blowtorch for?

  23. We’ve got the internet

    and look how much influence it has brought us!

    It will take more than 2 bad election cycles to dismantly the moral majority stranglehold on conservatism.

  24. JMR,

    Opening the dialogue with libertarians is a major component of any GOP return to “grace”. Whether Paul or some other libertarian is the face of that, or whether the RLC gets a seat at the table is a secondary issue. Naturally, I expect the GOP to continue to try to out-statist the Democrats, but this is an opportunity. A glimmer of hope exists, too–note all of those Republicans who voted against the bailout, for instance.

    I’m not sure we still have the Internet, by the way. It looks like many of “us” have drifted left since the glorious days of the 90s.

  25. Would voters be willing to have a Flake for president?

  26. Democrats, unlike Republicans, have BALLS. Example? They let Kucinich speak, while Republicans could not even let Ron Paul roam the convention floor unattended.

    Tell it to Jimmy Carter…

  27. I just read that Hillary Clinton is in consideration for Secretary of State. What hath God wrought?

    An aggressive foreign policy just like we have now? CHANGE! HOPE! BULLSHIT!

  28. start looking around for a politician who had the good sense to break with the bipartisan consensus and oppose the bailout bill before it passed.

    Part of the problem is the highest elected GOP politician – the senate minority leader and my senator – supported the bailout.

    McConnell is a good enough politician to handle an insurgency. Maybe they can pull off something in the House?

  29. Yeah, all the Republicans that voted against the bailout cuz’ “Pelosi hurt their feewlings” not because it was a poor idea.

  30. If I were a Republican, I’d ignore the inane Palin debate and start looking around for a politician who had the good sense to break with the bipartisan consensus and oppose the bailout bill before it passed. Then I’d start planning an insurgency.

    If you were a Republican, you’d be too busy trying to rescue General Motors.

  31. 1) Embrace southern evangelicals
    2) Win elections
    3) Implement their rhetoric
    4) Lose elections
    5) ???
    6) Profit

    The GOP is going to fill in “try harder to implement their rhetoric” in step 5 for at least one more election cycle.

  32. Which you could, but you’d look stupid.

    Bit late for Lefiti to be worrying about that, don’t you think?

  33. Take the Palin Pledge!

    I hereby resolve, from this moment onward, never again to mention by name or deed The Witch of Wasilla. In moments of extreme necessity, she will be referred to only as “She Who Cannot Be Named.” It is pledged.

  34. who needs pseudo-Democrats when you can have actual Democrats.

    Exactly.

  35. But Bingo – notice how Obama stole a lot of the moral right. He may support reproductive choice, but he does not support gay marriage. And you never hear him talking about “rights” with regard to anything other than healthcare, and I suspect it made a lot of church-going white and black folk more comfortable with him. Right off the bat he made the GOP defend their own territory.

  36. The libertarians talked sense with the Republicans in the ’80’s and 90’s, then the republicans went off the deep end starting in 2000. I think libertarians should await their return, not go and try and drag them back from the brink. I think they’ve proved that given support, the republicans will run straight for the cliff. Let the republicans learn the error of their ways and come back to the libertarians hat in hand and if they don’t, I’m perfectly willing to take the poison pill of decades of democratic super majority. Fuck’em!

  37. Do I detect a decline in the quality of Lefiti’s snark?

  38. And the way Obama seems an intellectual but still calls himself a Christian, these thing don’t mix. Obama realized the Straussian idea that you win elections by pandering to the religious simple minded.

  39. I’m perfectly willing to take the poison pill of decades of democratic super majority.

    Good news! It’s a suppository!

  40. zsz,

    Please. As bad as the Republicans are and can be, that’s nonsense. Most of them were standing on some sort of vaguely understood principle, which some threw under the bus when they were adequately bribed to do so, but still. It’s simply not true that there’s no libertarian current running through the GOP. What is true is that that current doesn’t dominate the party–it just provides a spark here or there but can’t seem to turn over the engine.

  41. There is some libertarian leaning among some of the GOP no doubt.

  42. The Republicans have become the crybaby party as of late and some had a press conference where they said they wouldn’t vote for the bailout because of what Pelosi said.

  43. Oh. Perhaps I misread your statement–sorry. Hard to post and participate in a conference call simultaneously.

    Pelosi is annoying, though doing anything because of her is silly. I’m actually more concerned about Obama rolling over for Pelosi and her ilk than I am about him leading the way to any craziness. Though that’s still a possibility, too.

  44. Do I detect a decline in the quality of Lefiti’s snark?

    You must have an electronic microscope, Hazel.

  45. Dammit! Fumbly fingers foil pithy attempt at wit.

    Electron microscope. Electron!

  46. If you were a Republican, you’d be too busy trying to rescue General Motors.

  47. Do I detect a decline in the quality of Lefiti’s snark?

    Lefiti’s drivel never rises to the level of snark.

  48. If you were a Republican, you’d be too busy trying to rescue General Motors.

    Only if you are George Voinovich so far……

  49. But not your use of alliteration!

  50. Exactly Reinmoose, we have 2 socially conservative fiscally liberal parties now. The dems know that unions and large, entrenched corporations are their bread and butter; these are the groups most threatened by free market reforms and culturally very conservative. So they will give lipservice to a few socially liberal policies, but they won’t ever implement any widespread changes (such as marijuana legalization or gay marriage) because that would scare off their constituency.

    Basically the moonbat-leftist-hippy-“anarchist”-greenparty portion of the Dems has the exact relationship that libertarians have with the GOP, only on the social side instead of the fiscal side.

  51. The problem is that I think that the GOP will go the “compassionate conservative” way which is the antithesis of libertarianism; fiscal liberalism with social conservatism. The new school, which will probably rule, wants go down that route, while calls to return to libertarian concepts is more of a call from the old guard. Except for the new small crop of Ron Paulians of course.

  52. The GOP can do a Reagan and pay lip service to the religious right and then ignore them while formulating policy (Sandra Day O’Connor anyone?) or they can double down on a bad hand and nominate some ignorant hillbilly whackjob preacher. I’m not even mrginally a GOP member so I’ll just wait and see.

    Early in the primaries I posted, in all seriousness, that if Huckabee got the nomination I’d actively campaign for the then Dem frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. If the Republicans go there, they will fucking regret it. Major parties have died before.

  53. zxz,

    Very likely, that’s the way they’ll go. However, I hold out a sliver of hope that they’ll attempt to recapture 1994. Or, at least, a coalition of limited government types will restore their voice in the party. If they try and fail, they may start to look elsewhere, which could be good news for the LP (or another third party).

    Most likely, we’ll just stay on course to some unique brand of American tyranny.

  54. If Paul wants to run an anti-bailout, anti-war campaign in 2012, that would be great. But I suspect he won’t. He gets to be Howard Dean in this scenario.

    Nah dude, Howard Dean actually turned out to be relevant, serving as the architect of the 50 State Plan that’s allowed the Democrats to take over Congress. Ron Paul doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of even holding office in the Republican Party apparatus, let alone becoming Chairman. Which is unfortunate, but still, reality.

  55. Really I don’t care what party is more libertarian as long as their are options for people to vote that way. I have NO sentimentality for either party. Fuck ’em both. In NC we have a lot of businesscrats, that lean fiscally conservative and are socially liberal. To think that one party or the other should be standard barer for freedom is a antiquated and time wasting exercise. I voted for businesscrats and Ron Paul Republicans and Libertarians in the last election.

  56. “Basically the moonbat-leftist-hippy-“anarchist”-greenparty portion of the Dems has the exact relationship that libertarians have with the GOP, only on the social side instead of the fiscal side.”

    This is pretty much true. It is why they dumped Gore for Nader in 2000, and after a few years they will finally realize Obama is a centrist and abandon him for the Green Party, too. Give it six years.

  57. That is if the GOP doesn’t go so bat shit insane talking about the impending Obama Fascism that they drive the moonbats into his arms out of pure partisan loyalty.

  58. You free-market fundamentalists are just like fundamentalists of every stripe–militantly, passionately ignorant. Meanwhile, the state grows!

  59. I’m pretty sure Howard Dean wanted to be president.

  60. The GOP can do a Reagan and pay lip service to the religious right and then ignore them while formulating policy (Sandra Day O’Connor anyone?)

    Not anymore they can’t. With Reagan, the religious right was still getting used to the novelty of having politicians listening to them. Now, having been told that “this is a Christian country” for the past decades, they’re convinced that political power is their right, and they’ll fight tooth and nail against any candidate that doesn’t show them the proper respect. The GOP has a choice; they can either accept their merger and become the party of the Religious Right, or they can break to the center and lose much of their base. Maybe they can do both with the right candidate for a while, but eventually that’ll run out, and the choice will arise again.

  61. If you take out all the enraged cursing, not much is left.

    BDB, Left Feetie just isn’t nearly as good at that as Jamie Kelley.

  62. Lefiti,

    In other words, you and people like you are winning. Absolutely. I think we’ve noticed that over the last few decades, with a brief glimmer of hope during the 90s. Just remember, Bush and the GOP of the early Oughts was one of you, too, whether you want to believe it or not.

  63. Aughts, sorry.

  64. When are we going to finally realize that way too many people think the GOP means “manly” and the Democrats are “pussies”?

  65. As a libertarian-leaning Republican,

    I can tell you guys that my own personal nightmare seems to be unfolding. Instead of moving away from social conservatism, the GOP seems to think Palin is proof that it works… the problem of course is that their diagnostic sample was this last election, in which a ho-hum candidate who won the primaries only because there were so many vote splitter, was barely convincing his own party to come along.

    Then, he nominates a woman who fits the bill for social conservatives and all of a sudden they jump on board again.

    This is thought to prove that Palin somehow led to a competitive edge, when if fact all she did was bring back a base that would have been there for almost any of the other GOP candidates (except maybe Guliani) in the first place.

    The party is misreading the tea leaves, and they are going to pay in the long run.

    It’s time to adopt the Watchmen attitude, methinks. Destroy and rebuild. I am losing faith that the GOP can right its course without its own political revolution.

  66. Lamar,

    You’re right: the trouble all started when we let women vote.

  67. “Lamar | November 14, 2008, 11:29am | #
    When are we going to finally realize that way too many people think the GOP means “manly” and the Democrats are “pussies”?”

    I stopped thinking that when the Republicans said Speaker Botox of San Francisco and a gay man from New England with a speech impediment were being too “mean” to them.

  68. Free-market fundamentalists feverishly fudge future fiscal freedoms and fettered Federalism for fortunes foolishly foretold by classical economics?

    Doh-bama!

  69. “You’re right: the trouble all started when we let women vote.”

    You let your woman vote? I hope you don’t let her vote on what she’s making you for dinner!

    “I stopped thinking that when the Republicans said Speaker Botox of San Francisco and a gay man from New England with a speech impediment were being too “mean” to them.”

    That’s why they recruited Joe the Plumber. Don’t tell me the guy doesn’t look like the plumber from a porno who is here to “lay some pipe.”

  70. I always thought Palin looked like the secretary-looking porn actress way before Flint made a porno about her. I thought that was her subliminal appeal. She looks like she would take off her glasses and shake out her bound-up hair before getting down to business.

  71. Palin is Bailey from WKRP.

  72. Shem: I meant his role would be something like what Howard Dean did in the 2004 primaries. I agree that he won’t be allowed to take on the later tasks Dean took. Nor do I think he wants to.

  73. ProLib,

    Palin is Bailey from WKRP.

    And who wouldnt vote Bailey for President?

  74. Republicans won’t need to pander to the socons after two years of Democratic tax increases and hate speech legislation. By the way, what is it going to take for ya’ll to believe the Clintons are behind Obama? Hillary at state and Bill on the supreme court?

  75. Hmm… it looks like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford might fit the bill. He’s fiscally conservative, doesn’t appear to be too big on the moralizing, and opposed the bailout in no uncertain terms in the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/25/AR2008092503602.html).

  76. Sanford/Flake?

  77. The GOP has a choice; they can either accept their merger and become the party of the Religious Right, or they can break to the center and lose much of their base.

    Where is the religious right gonna go? Not to the Dems, the Greens or the Losertarians. Maybe they’ll just stay home and that would cost the Republicans. If the GOP bets the future on the religious right, they are going to fade away. It’s a shrinking demographic.

  78. There’s always the Constitution Party.

  79. Where is the religious right gonna go? Not to the Dems, the Greens or the Losertarians. Maybe they’ll just stay home and that would cost the Republicans. If the GOP bets the future on the religious right, they are going to fade away. It’s a shrinking demographic.

    Yep, that’s about it. Some of the younger ones would go Democratic if the Democrat in question had enough populist rhetoric, and some of the more politically active ones would go Constituional Party or start their own movement, but by and large most of them would stay home. Take the attitude of let God wipe out the sinners.

    And I agree totally that the religious right is a losing bet. Unfortunately for them, it’s also the only tactic they have that doesn’t involve accepting the necessity of fighting a guerilla war for the next 8-10 years in order to recalibrate and launch another attack. If they want to win again, they’re going to have to retreat, something which they can’t possibly do, after having sucked down the “we are the country’s only hope” message for years and years.

  80. Do I detect a decline in the quality of Lefiti’s snark?

    Lefiti’s drivel never rises to the level of snark.

    Okay, that’s true. It just seems even worse than his usual standards. At least the “Hail Market” thing was mildly amusing. Now he’s just ranting and throwing curse words around.

  81. You’re right: the trouble all started when we let women vote.

    Nah, it started when we started letting them wear shoes. 🙂

  82. I’m going to second (or third) the Jeff Flake suggestion…

  83. If they want to win again, they’re going to have to retreat, something which they can’t possibly do, after having sucked down the “we are the country’s only hope” message for years and years.

    Agreed. The GOP should retreat, rebuild and then reassert. Stoop thinking about POTUS and start thinking about districts. If, as you apparently believe, they’re already convinced the the Jesus brigade is their only hope, they are doomed to extinction.

  84. Yep, I like Sanford and Flake, though right now I am very much pulling for former NM Governor Gary Johnson to get in the race. I think he would be an excellent candidate, and has less baggage than Paul did.

  85. From today’s WaPo, an op-ed piece from Christine Todd Whitman and Robert M. Bostock.

    Four years ago, in the week after the 2004 presidential election, we were working furiously to put the finishing touches on the book we co-authored, “It’s My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.”

    At the time, this idea was roundly attacked by many who were convinced that holding on to the “base” at all costs was the way to go. A former speechwriter for President Bush, Matthew Scully, who went on to work for the McCain campaign this year, called the book “airy blather” and said its argument fell somewhere between “insufferable snobbery” and “complete cluelessness.” Gary Bauer suggested that the book sounded as if it came from a “Michael Moore radical.” National Review said its warnings were, “at best, counterintuitive,” and Ann Coulter said the book was “based on conventional wisdom that is now known to be false.”

  86. I realize this is what parties always do when they get their butts kicked, but all of this talk about how great it would be if the GOP would ditch half its base is just dumb. Parties are, by necessity, coalitions of people who don’t agree on every point. In 2004, the No. 1 issue that won Republicans the White House was “values.” I don’t think the country has done a 180 on this in four years.

    Believe it or not, there are deluded social conservatives who think it would be a great thing to jettison the libertarians (which pretty much sums up Huckabee’s politics). They are just as asinine.

    After you finish your temper tantrums, please rejoin us here on planet Earth and deal with reality.

  87. Well, they certainly will have to jettison the social conservative/Jesus crowd if they ever want to get a vote from me.

  88. If you take out all the enraged cursing, not much is left.

    The guy is like some sort of reverse troll – instead of successfully pissing other people off, he seems to just rage and sputter with little feedback.

  89. Believe it or not, there are deluded social conservatives who think it would be a great thing to jettison the libertarians (which pretty much sums up Huckabee’s politics). They are just as asinine.

    Well, yeah. Team Red jettisoned the libertarians years ago. Some libertarians just had a hard time accepting that.

  90. Well, they certainly will have to jettison the social conservative/Jesus crowd if they ever want to get a vote from me.

    Fine, but they’ll have to give up five votes to get yours, so which way do you think they’re going to go?

    Look, social conservatives talk, but what, exactly, has been done legislatively in their favor? Not much. Both parties sermonize, just about different topics. So what’s the difference?

  91. So, if the GOP tries trotting out the “we believe in small goverment” schtick again, who would believe them? George Bush grew the size and expense of government to levels Bill Clinton never dreamed of.

    The Republicans are Ford and GM: damaged goods and a tarnished brand that no one’s buying anymore. And it’ll be another 30 years until people start believing their lies again.

  92. Oops! Screwed up the link. Is this any better?

  93. I think that a better plan would be to listen to people, then have discussions.

    The social cons might just begin to understand that their pet issues aren’t best dealt with with government force, and that liberty, including economic liberty of course, is in their best interest. The libertarians might just begin to understand that much of what the social cons like is rather innocuous, particularly compared with what the Democrats want to do.

    There will be some places where the two sides can’t agree; however, an Obama administration might just get them to agree to disagree, for the sake of the common ground they do have. Frankly, we’d be better off if some things, like abortion, were just left out of party platforms. Individuals can still have their opinions and beliefs, without every single one of them being in the official platform, right?

    That would take some leadership. Coalitions can form organically, but it takes a few talented, committed leaders to help negotiate the rough spots.

  94. 1. stop calling anyone who has a college degree and can think critically an elitist. 2. admit that there are “real Americans” in large cities. 3. stop siding with big business on every issue effecting the economy

  95. It’s all about Palin …get it.
    McCain was a nothing candidate and the GOP gave us Sarah (I can’t complete a senctence) Palin? Please do insult more the 50% of Americans again with some one so totally unhinged from reality.

  96. That would be Joe Barton in Texas. He would be the guy who opposed the bail-out and is already close to leadership. He ran against Boehner after the 2006 debacle, but was cut off by the loser leadership that wanted Boehner (also known as more of the same failures)

  97. 1. stop calling anyone who has a college degree and can think critically an elitist. 2. admit that there are “real Americans” in large cities. 3. stop siding with big business on every issue effecting the economy

    This is a collection of lefty strawmen with no connection to reality. Nice fantasy if you’re a Dem, but reality is another thing.

  98. More GOP self examination.

    U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra

    Republicans never addressed the issue that was compelling to America: Government is too big and doesn’t work anymore. What good is an Energy Department that can’t predict an energy shortage or a Treasury Department that can’t anticipate a financial crisis? We failed to address what many people now believe: Republicans like big government as much as Democrats.

    It’s going to get ugly.

  99. Bigoted H&R commenters are the last group of people the Republicans should listen to for advice. Considering that most people here don’t believe the average Christian has an IQ of 50, one would expect the calls for abandoning the fundies. However, value votes were significant in 2004, and will continue to be. I say the GOP occasionally throw them a non-freedom threatening bone, like stem cell research, and remind them which party is committed to religious freedom, then strees limited government, personal responsibility and national security over and over and over.

  100. James Ard, I’m with you 100%.

  101. If the GOP continued to give some lip service to the religious right but actually did things to rein in the government, well, I’d be okay with that.

  102. Flake is a Republican with the occasional bones thrown to libertarians and “libertarians.”

    I agree with Stephen Gordon, the GOP has effectively lost it’s branding.

    The GOP has been essentially the same since Nixon. The country has gotten smarter, and the left has been able to push back thru Netroots and the like. Oh, and the country finally got shitty enough for social progress. And by social progress, I mean, electing the Smart Guy.

  103. “This is a collection of lefty strawmen with no connection to reality. Nice fantasy if you’re a Dem, but reality is another thing.”

    Really? I would say that it is an infinitely more reasonable list of proposals than the pie in the sky idea that the GOP can be won by Libertarians through talk of smaller government, and civil Liberties.

    In fact, it’s Goddamn hilarious. The GOP only exists due to the religious right. If you take away the concessions given to that base, then you will render the GOP as irrelevant as Libertarianism.

    You guys need to stop pretending that everyone else is out of touch, when in reality, the universe that many of you twiddle your thumbs in isn’t even apart of the average person’s consciousness.

    As for strawman arguments, have you read this blog lately? Libertarians are the queens of hyperbole when discussing other people’s platforms.

    Of course, when Libertarians are criticized, they suddenly revert to the careful labeling logical fallacies. How convenient.

    I get it, Libertarians are too varied to be categorized, yet everyone else is perfectly uniform, and worthy of immediate categorization.

    If only it made up for a shitty grasp of nuance.

  104. When are you folks going to grow up and get out of denial on all the major issues. Federal and state budgets now total around $4.5trillion a year. This is several times the govt spending by any other sovereign state, communist, social democratic or conservative, in the entire the world. BTW federal spending is now around 22.5 of GDP versus 18.5% when Clinton left office. Against this background ideas of containing govt are pure fantasy. The same applies to almost the entire values area. The country thinks its a bad idea for the GOP to be dominated by religious fundamentalists, supply side economics don’t work, there IS NOT a majority for denying choice to women it couldn’t even pass in the Dakotas for godsake. As for Palin as Joan of Arc, the Dems must be rolling around with glee.

  105. 1. stop calling anyone who has a college degree and can think critically an elitist. 2. admit that there are “real Americans” in large cities. 3. stop siding with big business on every issue effecting the economy

    This is a collection of lefty strawmen with no connection to reality.

    Romney: “For decades, the Washington sun has been rising in the east –
    Washington has been looking to the eastern elites”

    Giulilani: {after saying nice things about McCain} “On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education.”

  106. The GOP is not, nor has it ever been, primarily composed of religious nuts. Both parties are almost mirror images in this regard–the crazies get too much rhetoric, but don’t compose anything remotely like a majority and don’t get much at all in the way of legislation. Case in point: for six of the last eight years, the GOP controlled all three branches of the federal government. Yet abortion is still legal, evolution is still taught in school, etc.

    Whether libertarian values are part of the mainstream or not, I’m going to fight and argue for them, regardless. Wherever and whenever I can.

  107. “Yet abortion is still legal, evolution is still taught in school, etc.”

    So, are you suggesting that such ideals, just because they were not implemented, were not vehemently lobbied for? Are we suppossed to trust that platform, just because the party failed to find a way to win those concessions?

    You may feel comfortable flirting with those issues, and rolling the dice, but I’m not. I would rather interpret a party’s value based on the ideas that they propose, than whether or not they will be able to ram them up someone’s ass with fundamentalist gusto.

    One could make the same argument for Liberal Presidencies. Libertarians love to invoke the sky is falling script when a Liberal president is elected, yet see no reason for hysterics when it’s someone elected by religious fundamentalists. Wow.

    What the GOP accomplishes, and what they were elected to accomplish are two different things.

    It says shit all about the nature of their political base, which is composed primarily of religious interests. I can’t even believe that this is a controversial assertion on here. Well, maybe I can.

    But hey, they’re for lower taxes, so who cares, right?

  108. The lies and pandering so dominate political discourse these days, that separating the wheat from the chaff is well nigh impossible. My only point is that many partisans have extremely fictional views of what their opposite numbers are and represent. It’s almost hysterically funny to hear Democrats go on and on about these deregulating, free-market-loving fools in the GOP. Yeah, all ten of them in elective office, right?

  109. Flake supported the “comprehensive immigration reform” which, by the way, including immediate eligibility for Earned Income Tax Credits for the newly ‘normalized’ residents.

  110. It’s far far worse than that for your side I think.

    The mainstay of 9/11 until at least 2006 was message discipline. The party did its utmost to march in lockstep or at least appear to, behind Bush. And Bush has many many failures. Katrina, the Social Security defeat, for example. Iraq blinkers for a lot of the time. Are you going to find a Republican who was right on several of those issues?

    Ron Paul maybe, though you never know.

  111. Bigoted H&R commenters are the last group of people the Republicans

    Emphasis added.

    Another thing Team Red needs to work on is the attitude. They act like your stereotypical lefty college activist – whining about how everything is rigged against them, everyone who disagrees with them is biased, and it’s just not fair, man. Naturally, if an accepted insider disagrees on anything but lockstep obedience, that person is obviously counter-revolutionary really a liberal.

    Continuing the not-very-metaphorical metaphor, they’ve spent the last few years purging the conservatives and libertarians. Recently, some of them have tried to set up a half-assed cult of personality around Sarah Palin – and we can probably expect a little purge either of or by the Palinites soon enough.

  112. Eh. Social Conservatism is neither here nor there as far as the last election goes.

    First you’ve got an unpopular outgoing President. Then you’ve got the Iraq conflict starting to wind down. The Foreign-Policy strength the GOP has played as an electoral card wasn’t relevant.

    Next, Social Conservatism really wasn’t an issue this time around for one reason or another. I suspect that while it is a powerful motivator for some, it lacks the broad appeal of the Economic strength ascribed to the Democrats. That issue was superseded by the Economy

    It left them with Fiscal Conservatism. And they blew that one right out the window. A small kitten running as the Democratic Candidate could have beaten John McCain this time around.

    It doesn’t say much about the issues themselves, other than their importance in the mind of the voters.

    In other words it’s just like 1992.

  113. The GOP could improve its prospects a lot just by ending the inane influence that Iowa and New Hampshire have on the primaries. Why do the parties kow-tow to those 2 states? God only knows. They could further improve their chances by closing their primaries to democrats and independents.

    Suppose Jeff Flake were running for president. Word would get out that he’s Mormon. A whispering campaign would creep through the churches of the south and midwest (which, by the way, is how we got Bush); Mormons cannot be legitimized by allowing one to become president. Evangelicals would throw their weight behind Huckabee who once again rises like flotsam to the top early in the primaries, neutralizing the GOP’s most viable candidates, only to fall again later. At the end of the day, the GOP would again have a candidate that moderates and independents respect and love but would never vote for.

    The GOP will be in the wilderness for a long time.

  114. I’ve got to admit, as a Democrat, I’m really having fun watching the circular firing squad that is the Republican Party right now.

  115. Wow, finally an idea that doesn’t involve mindlessly following some Republican “personality” around for the next four years just to watch them get crushed in ’12. Being against the bailout won’t be enough though, they’ll have to be able to articulate a well-rounded platform that appeals to independents and not so much the toothless.

  116. Eric, acting like a stucked pig may be unbecoming, but it doesn’t mean you haven’t been stucked. Obamania anyone? Look, I’m no Christian, but I appreciate the fact that they generally help keep my taxes lower. If you can show evidence, other than Huckabee, where Christians want to toss Republican values of limited government I’ll look at it.

  117. Chuck, thanks for making my bigot point.

  118. The truth hurts – it isn’t my fault that the GOP cowtowed to the least educated people in the country for votes. You either yell Hussein a lot or get into the 21st century.

  119. Btw, I don’t come to reason.com to play the political correctness game. Quiver in some other corner.

  120. Oh, please. There are sixty-six million geniuses and fifty-eight million idiots in the country? Is it just possible that intelligence isn’t the deciding factor in whether one votes for either party? I’m just flabbergasted at the illusions that partisans carry about their opponents. And about themselves. “Reality-based indeed.”

    Democrats aren’t all Gaia-worshiping Maoists and Republicans aren’t all war-mongering Crusaders. It’s so obvious a point that I’m appalled that I have to make it.

  121. Chuck, the most uneducated voters voted for Obama. Hopefully Reason won’t scrub this post for PC sentiments, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  122. In fact, if you can show me anything about southern christians in the PC hadnbook, I’d like to see it.

  123. Whigs, Bull Moose, Republicans… get it over with.

  124. Republicans have two paths to victory. Oppose Obama and hope he screws up majorly. A few cities must be significantly damaged, a couple endless wars must be started, and the economy must fall apart.

    Or go along with everything obama does and just offer minor changes and assume Obama wont do the stuff above.

    Everything else is just fantasy. Republians no longer have enough people to win a presidential race.

  125. Everything else is just fantasy. Republians no longer have enough people to win a presidential race.

    1952 – GOP landslide
    1956 – GOP landslide
    1960 – Dem squeaker
    1964 – Dem landslide
    1968 – GOP in a weird 3 way race.
    1972 – GOP landslide
    1976 – Dem squeaker
    1980 – GOP landslide
    1984 – GOP landslide
    1988 – GOP landslide
    1992 – Dem in another weird 3 way race
    1996 – Dem landslide
    2000 – GOP squeaker
    2004 – GOP squeaker
    2008 – Dem convingly, almost a landslide

    I don’t see dominnace by either of the two major parties. Yes, the GOP could self destruct just as the Dems could have done in 1980-88.

    Thus, this discussion.

  126. “Whigs, Bull Moose, Republicans… get it over with.”

    You mean Federalists, Whigs, Republicans. Why have the Democrats survived so long while other parties eventually die off?

  127. kusterdu, probably because the Democrats today are unrecognizable compared to the ones that existed when the Whigs were around. Remember, they’re the ones who wanted slavery.

  128. George McClellan wanted slavery?

    You sure?

  129. I’m not sure what you mean by that, Joe. If you are offended that zoltan ascribed “slavery” to the Democrats, keep in mind he was saying that Democrats are a very different party now than what they were. So are the Republicans, for that matter. Also keep in mind that the south was predominantly Democratic until the 1960s.

  130. What I’m saying, kusterdu, is that there were a great many Democrats, even in the heyday of slavery, who opposed it.

    Lincoln’s second Vice President was a Free Soil Democrat.

  131. Eric, acting like a stucked pig may be unbecoming, but it doesn’t mean you haven’t been stucked.

    You guys have apparently been “stucked” since 1988, to be charitable. Y’all never stopped whining.

    Look, I’m no Christian, but I appreciate the fact that they generally help keep my taxes lower. If you can show evidence, other than Huckabee, where Christians want to toss Republican values of limited government I’ll look at it.

    Sure: the rest of the actual power structure in Team Red, excluding Huckabee for the sake of argument.

    Alternately, most Reds elected in the last 28 years. Very few cop to being anything but Christians.

  132. Do these tips fall for Obama or not? Just asking though.

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