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Why Does the Republican Party Exist?

Republican hands are wringing themselves pretty raw. The Monday-morning quarterbacking is in full swing, as exhausted “consultants”, “operatives”, and “strategists” autopsy their dreams of victory.

But the reason for the GOP’s second “thumpin'” in as many years isn’t terribly hard to pinpoint, and it isn’t that the Party was insufficiently obsequious to gimme groups, that John McCain refused to “go negative”, or that a towel-clad Sarah Palin didn’t know that Africa is a continent.

The Republican Party lost this election, and the last one, because it lost its way. It has ceased to be a credible voice for limited government and the individual freedom and responsibility that it entails. And because Republicans have enacted prosperity-killing policies that expand government and diminish the individual, they have spawned, or at least exacerbated, the economic tumble on everybody’s mind.

Winning elections is a means, not an end. It is a means to enacting policies based on principles. But for 20 years, Republicans have enacted policies that offend what they claim are their principles, principles that nurture prosperity. And so they’ve ceased to be the Party that allows people to become better off than they were four years earlier, and no one trusts them any more.

The Republican Powers that Be, with their endless emphasis on “attracting new voters” into the “Big Tent” with “appeals” based on their parochial “issues”, seem to have forgotten their ultimate reason for being.

When they realize that sound strategy doesn’t sacrifice the end to the means, they’ll be back on the road to victory.

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6 thoughts on “Why Does the Republican Party Exist?

  1. “The Republican Party lost this election, and the last one, because it lost its way. It has ceased to be a credible voice for limited government and the individual freedom and responsibility that it entails.”

    The problem with Republicans is that they espouse a set of core principles (see above quote) and then proceed to violate them in their governing actions. Only the ignorant and those who can live with a high level of hipocracy will support a party in such a situation.

    If I have “individual freedom and responsibility” then my constitutional right to terminate my pregnancy must be allowed and respected. But Republicans would love to have their “limited government” policing all of our sexual lives. Contradiction.

    Republicans are all for fiscal responsibility. But in reality Reagan, Bush, and Bush the lesser all exploded the deficit and the debt. “Tax and spend liberal” Clinton gave us a record budget surplus and reduced our debt with a federal budget that passed congress without a single Republican vote. Once again contradiction.

    So when you remake your party to avoid a threepeat of “the thumpin”, pick a set of principles and then, here’s the hard part, are you listening, cause I’m talking to you chucklehaeds like you were five year olds, GOVERN ACCORDING TO THOSE PRINCIPLES.

    Please do something because beating you has just become so easy it ain’t fun no more. This time we did it with a black guy with a muslim name who nobody had ever heard of four years ago. Next time, who knows, we might try an openly gay person, or a former domestic terrorist, or maybe a transvestite Mexican. I don’t know, but we have to spot you guys quite a few points just to make it fun.

  2. As someone who did outreach for the McCain campaign, imho we lost this election because our past election strategies have finally run their course. Voters will not cast a ballot for us just because the other guy might be a socialist–heck, most of the electorate doesn’t even know what a socialist is. And the idea of using social issues to motivate conservative voters to the polls seems to be failing us. I think that is because this political strategy does not solve problems but really only contributes to an inability to reach broad-based, bi-partisan solutions.

    Reagan, who said that gov’t wasn’t a part of the problem but was the problem. That was right then. Our nation was on the verge of becoming…well, Sweden-like in its Socialism. But that’s not the case today. And Reagan’s quote, and our continued emphasis on small gov’t, ineffective gov’t, just sounds like something from a period piece movie. We need to move on to what’s impacting the country today, not what was affecting it in 1980, almost a generation ago.

    Perkins, Norquist, and others of their philosophy have not evolved and will rightly whither on the vine of ideas. Perhaps that’s because they’ve spent too much time in DC. But whatever the reason, Reagan retreads will not save this Party. Imagination, intelligence, and thought are needed now. Might the Republican Party go back to its roots, and I don’t mean Reagan, but Roosevelt? Such would have broader appeal in today’s electorate. But from what I experience in outreach for the McCain campaign, I think our Party’s base will need time to suffer several loses at the polls, which we will if we “go back to Reagan”, to come to that realization.

    And the Party needs to take stands that are unpopular with our base, stands against moralizing, against anti-science, against anti-intellectualism, against ignorance, against the gov’t. It’s our gov’t, it’s what we make of it. We can no more hate it than hate ourselves.

  3. As a pro I know told me, the Republican Party exists for the sole purpose of electing Republicans, not for any principles. They have made a strategic decision (blunder, really) to become ‘Rat Lite, with at best minimal differences in the scope of (and notably not the perceived need for) socialism and big government, and a de-emphasis (and in some cases outright abandonment) on the still-very-real differences on cultural issues. That the voters have chosen experience in socialism when precious little separates the two halves of the “bipartisan” Party-In-Government is not at all surprising; after all, the Democrats have been advocating and putting it into practice for 75 years.

    I honestly don’t know if the Republicans (or a successor party) can come back, even if they rediscover the virtues of shrinking the government. While we may not have officially reached the point where the “Peggy the Moochers” have become an absolute majority (yet; they likely will before 2016), not only do they outnumber the “Joe the Plumbers”, but the truly-well-off who don’t want Joe crashing the gates at the country club are siding with Peggy, and together they constitute a majority.

  4. Well said. There is time to raise better candidates – and where needed…challengers – for 2010 and 2011, if we start talking and looking now. And raising money for the right PACs.

  5. The fact that they are already “beginning the campaign for 2010 and 2012” does not give me any more faith that they will change.

    Now is NOT the time to start campaigning for the next election. If you immediately start to campaign for the next election, then there has been no soul searching. Nobody is going to change, because they’ve alloted no time for it.

    They need to STOP, re-examine themselves, kick out their leadership, and find new blood. You don’t do that in 3 days.

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