Repub­li­cans, not con­ser­va­tives, lose their way

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Thomas Sow­ell

AGallup poll two weeks ago showed that far more Amer­i­cans de­scribe them­selves as “con­ser­va­tives” than as “lib­er­als.” Yet Repub­li­cans have been clob­bered by the Democrats in both the 2008 elec­tions and the 2006 elec­tions.

In a coun­try with more con­ser­va­tives than lib­er­als, it is puz­zling — in fact, amaz­ing — that we have the fur­thest left Pres­i­dent of the United States in his­tory, as well as the fur­thest left Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Repub­li­cans, es­pe­cially, need to think about what this means. If you lose when the other guy has all the high cards, there is not much you can do about it. But, when you have the high cards and still keep tak­ing a beat­ing, then you need to re­think how you are play­ing the game.

The cur­rent in­tra­mu­ral fight­ing among Repub­li­cans does not nec­es­sar­ily mean any fun­da­men­tal re-think­ing of their poli­cies or tac­tics. Th­ese tus­sles among dif­fer­ent seg­ments of the Repub­li­can Party may be noth­ing more than a long-stand­ing jock­ey­ing for po­si­tion be­tween the lib­eral and con­ser­va­tive wings of that party.

The stakes in all this are far higher than which el­e­ment be­comes dom­i­nant in which party or which party wins more elec­tions. Both the do­mes­tic and the for­eign pol­icy di­rec­tion of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion in Wash­ing­ton are lead­ing this coun­try into danger­ous wa­ters, from which we may or may not be able to re­turn.

A qua­dru­pling of the na­tional debt in just one year and ac­cept­ing a nu­clear-armed spon­sor of in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism like Iran are not things from which any coun­try is guar­an­teed to re­cover.

Just two nu­clear bombs were enough to get Ja­pan to sur­ren­der in World War II. It is hard to be­lieve that it would take much more than that for the United States of Amer­ica to sur­ren­der — es­pe­cially with peo­ple in con­trol of both the White House and the Congress who were for turn­ing tail and run­ning in Iraq just a cou­ple of years ago.

Per­haps peo­ple who are busy gush­ing over the Obama cult to­day might do well to stop and think about what it would mean for their grand-daugh­ters to live un­der sharia law.

The glib pieties in Barack Obama’s tele­vised ser­mon­ettes will not stop Iran from be­com­ing a nu­clear ter­ror­ist na­tion. Time is run­ning out fast and we will be lucky if it doesn’t hap­pen in the first term of this pres­i­dent. If he gets elected to a sec­ond term — which is quite pos­si­ble, de­spite what­ever eco­nomic dis­as­ters he leads us into — our fate as a na­tion may be sealed.

Un­for­tu­nately, the only po­lit­i­cal party with any chance of dis­plac­ing the cur­rent lead­er­ship in Wash­ing­ton is the Repub­li­can Party. That is why their in­ter­nal squab­bles are im­por­tant for the rest of us who are not Repub­li­cans.

The “smart money” says that the way for the Repub­li­cans to win elec­tions is to ap­peal to a wider range of vot­ers, in­clud­ing mi­nori­ties, by aban­don­ing the Ron­ald Rea­gan kinds of po­si­tions and sup­port­ing more of the kinds of po­si­tions that Democrats use to get elected. This sounds good on the sur­face, which is as far as many peo­ple go, when it comes to pol­i­tics.

A corol­lary to this is that Repub­li­cans have to come up with al­ter­na­tives to the Democrats’ many “so­lu­tions,” rather than sim­ply be nay-say­ers.

How­ever plau­si­ble all this may seem, it goes di­rectly counter to what has ac­tu­ally hap­pened in pol­i­tics in this gen­er­a­tion. For ex­am­ple, Democrats stu­diously avoided present- ing al­ter­na­tives to what the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress and the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion were do­ing, and just lam­basted them at ev­ery turn. That is how the Democrats re­placed Repub­li­cans at both ends of Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue.

Ron­ald Rea­gan won two elec­tions in a land­slide by be­ing Ron­ald Rea­gan — and, most im­por­tant of all — ex­plain­ing to a broad elec­torate how what he ad­vo­cated would be best for them and for the coun­try. Newt Gin­grich like­wise led a Repub­li­can takeover of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives by ex­plain­ing how the Repub­lic agenda would ben­e­fit a wide range of peo­ple.

Nei­ther of them won by pre­tend­ing to be Democrats. It is the mushy “mod­er­ates” — the “kinder and gen­tler” Bush 41, Bob Dole and John McCain — who lost dis­as­trously, even in two cases to Democrats who were ini­tially very lit­tle known, but who knew how to talk.

Thomas Sow­ell is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.