To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Advice to the GOP: Take Advice from People Who Have Won

Karl Rove's piece in Newsweek that every conservative pundit is doing post-Obama -- The GOP's Path to Power:

Losing the election has led to a debate about whether the GOP should return to its Reaganite tradition or embark on a new reform course. This pundit-driven shoutfest presents a sterile, unnecessary choice. The party should embrace both tradition and reform; grass-roots Republicans want to apply timeless conservative principles to the new circumstances facing America.

In the coming year, we will be defined more by what we oppose than what we are for; the president-elect and the Democrats in Congress will control the agenda. We must pick fights carefully and center them around principle. The goal is to have the sharp differences that emerge make the GOP look like the more reasonable, hopeful and inviting party—which is easier said than done. A road map [...]
I think that most of the discussions centered around the future direction of the Republican Party are pretty silly right now. Most of the pieces coming out on this topic are shockingly similar to most other journalistic enterprises -- one large, self-serving, masturbatory activity. Everyone near the right is telling you what they think the GOP should become now; and the most surprising part of it? Everyone thinks the GOP should be the total embodiment of their own self. Well, no shit. If it was up to me, the GOP as a political group would think just like me. But most likely that shift would only gain them one vote. Me.

The more interesting political discussion, and it's what someone like Karl Rove is good at, focuses on what the Republican Party needs to do in order to start winning elections again. Put aside whether you want them to win or not, and you certainly won't like all the answers; but that doesn't necessarily make those answers wrong either. Most people having this future-of-the-GOP discussion don't care if the GOP actually wins elections. If they want to give their opinion about which direction the party should take, go ahead, just don't pretend that it's the best advice to get Republicans elected.

On the worthy-ness of a Bush guy advice: I think Bush has been more-or-less a net loss for the Republicans over the past 4 years, but it isn't clear to me that any other type of Republican -- (one that wasn't a big-government, social-conservative) -- could have won in '00 and '04. Or that any other electoral strategy would have worked as well as the one that the Bush campaign put together. If that's the case Bush was only a failure for the GOP because he won. Which in most people's mind doesn't make him any less of a failure, but poltically it's much hard to pin the death of the Republican Party on him.

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