I posted a comment in response to this post by Larry Kudlow, in which he referred to this article on NRO.
Agreed in the main with your column about the importance of the “values” constituency.
One point of disagreement, however. You seem to imply we should primarily build the red state base.
I think we can reach deep into blue areas and take many more votes away from the Ds. There are segments of the D coaliton which can be hewn off. African Americans are essential to D success, and they are taken for granted. The GOP needs to tell its story loudly and clearly to African Americans, and listen to their responses. Start this conversation as soon as possible. The GOP can pick up votes here, and this will hack structural members out of the D edifice. Mexicans. This group is up for grabs. There are many areas where the GOP can make a strong appeal. We need to do this. They have children. They are the future. If the GOP can turn the flood of Hispanic voters into a source of strength, or at worst a 50/50 split, then the future of the party is assured. Bush’s plan to move toward choice in schools, health care and retirement planning will take these functions away from D populations such as unionized teachers and unionized government employees and place them in the hands of millions of voters, who will not be willing to give up this control once they have it. This will be a dynamic process which will increasingly strip these important social functions away from government and create new GOP consituencies.
The future looks good.
Let’s just not get “victory fever”. After we celebrate for a little while, let’s do like the Germans did after conquering Poland. Let’s go back and look at the last election and what really happened in all the detail we can gather. Let us study our victory with cold and ruthless self-examination and prepare for future campaigns on the basis of facts and evidence shorn of any wishful thinking or self-delusion. This world-historic realignment will continue if keep our heads.
For now, party on. But as the dust clears, let’s get the real “lessons learned” and keep moving.
5 thoughts on “Future Victories”
I think the Keyes/Obama matchup exemplifies the future of American politics.
If the Rs go into the culture war mode this will be the high point for them for a long time to come.
I don’t think America is ready for vagina police.
BTW I voted Bush/Obama.
The Keyes/Obama race is an outlier that exemplifies mainly the ineptitude of the Illinois Republican establishment. Keyes is shrill, ideologically rigid, not an Illinoisian and not in the mainstream of Illinois or national Republican politics. He is hugely atypical, and of course he lost (though by less than I expected, which suggests that a decent Republican candidate would have had a chance). I think it’s pretty clear that his example has little future.
There is a culture war, but the Democrats started it. It’s amusing to hear them complain when Republicans fight back. The “gay marriage” controversy is typical. This was a nonissue for most voters until gay activists and Democratic elected officials framed it as the equivalent of heterosexual marriage and tried to browbeat the public into approving it. However, they couldn’t get it through state legislatures. So instead of regrouping and trying to achieve more-limited but politically realistic goals — sex-neutral and marriage-neutral reforms of insurance, retirement, inheritance, etc. — which might over time have helped them to gain acceptance for their long-term objective, or facilitated some kind of politically workable compromise, they decided to impose the full-strength version via the courts. Naturally there was a backlash, most recently in the form of the eleven anti-gay-marriage initiatives approved by voters in this election. Way to go, gay/Democrat activists! You guys remind me of Yasser Arafat. He could have had most of the territory he asked for, but decided instead to start a war and try to get it all. And lost.
The Democratic Party wants a culture war? Fine, they can treat the values and sensibilities of 50% of the population with contempt. But they shouldn’t be surprised if the people they’re pissing on eventually fight back. And if the other political party sees that the Democrats have rejected these people, and offers them what they want, the Dems shouldn’t blame that party for problems which they themselves caused.
“… the ineptitude of the Illinois Republican establishment…” Nope. Keyes nomination represents the evil genius of the IL GOP leadership. After Jack Ryan crumbled, they took one look at Obama, who is a rock star, and said, “we need to find some chump to step in front of this train”, and their chump showed up in the form of Keyes and his well-meaning but dumb supporters on the Religious Right. The GOP establishment managed to not spend any money or political capital on a certain defeat, and at the same time disgrace, humiliate and marginalize their real enemy, the cultural conservatives in their own party, who as usual walked right off the cliff in a cloud of self-delusion as usual. I love these guys, they are my friends, but they have no common sense about politics.
Keyes may be shrill, but he certainly can make sense from time to time. I heard one of his speech and Q&A sessions when he was in the Republican presidential primaries, and he made an excellent point about capital punishment.
The question was, if you believe in God, foregiveness and the fallability of man, how can you support the death penalty.
Keyes’s response: “It’s simple. God expects us to try, but he does not expect us to be perfect.” He went on to discuss tempering justice with mercy, and that mercy has to include the actual victims, not just the perpetrator. He basically agreed that many people do not see that the death penalty has any real deterrence, but hinted that that was probably their agenda, not a real analysis. He pointed out that you can argue against nearly any punishment as being too harsh given the possibility of punishing an innocent man. But that means giving up trying for justice, and we do have to at least try.
So it was a well thought out position. But what made it for me was the sound bite.
Guns, vouchers, taxes, the Constitution, all had points positions that i felt at least mildly comfortable with. At the end of the session, i was left with a feeling that this was a guy i could follow.
Matya no baka
I voted for Keyes as a protest in the 1996 Illinois Republican primary. I agree with him on many issues, but I didn’t expect him to win. He’s a lousy candidate because he comes across as shrill and inflexible, which he is, and I’m not sure he would be effective if elected. He was less likely to win vs. Obama in Illinois than McClintock would have been vs. the much less appealing Bustamante in California. Running candidates like Keyes is not the best way to advance your agenda. (It was a good way to advance Keyes’s agenda, though.) As in California, a successful candidate has to be attractive to the voters. Illinois has a large population of lefty Democrats, like it or not, and the IL Republicans need a Schwarznegger or someone like the current governor of Maryland. They won’t find such a candidate until they get their act together.
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