Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Conservatives And GOP Establishment Are Still At Odds

Now the debate among conservatives continues as to the best way to fight the Dear Leader, President Obama, the Democrats and their left-wing agenda continues as this article in National Review accentuates.
Well, Drew M. at Ace of Spades also makes some very salient points here and I do tend to agree a bit more with Drew M. on what he focuses on.
But National Review is also correct that conservatives need not despair and that there is a way forward, especially on Obamacare and how we deal with it.
First, let me take you on a trip to the Wayback Machine and the debate over the Panama Canal treaties that took place in the late 1970s.
The United States completed the Panama Canal in 1903 and maintained control over the canal and a strip of land on either side. It was known as the Panama Canal Zone. It was governed in a rather complicated manner. But the United States controlled it. Needless to say that the people and government of Panama fed on each other for the United States control of the Canal Zone was the real eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll.
The situation strongly divided conservatives. And do you know who led the opposition to the PCT?
Ronald Reagan.
And he debated with one William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review, over the treaty. Mr. Buckley and National Review favored the treaty. It was in the debate that Mr. Reagan repeated the famous line from the late Republican senator, Strom Thurmond (R-SC), "The canal is ours, we bought and we paid for it and we should keep it".
Reagan and his allies did lose and the treaty was ratified by a vote of 68-32. In that vote, out of 38 GOP senators, 22 voted no and 16 voted yes. A majority of Republicans were opposed but the treaty won anyway.
Guess who won the GOP nomination in 1980? Who won the presidency in a 44-state landslide with 51% of the vote in a three-way race?
Ronald Reagan.
So why the trip in the Wayback Machine?
To make the point that conservatives and the establishment have long been fighting each other and sometimes over whole issues.
Thus while the Democrats and the left are salivating over what seem to be open cracks, no fissures, in the Republican/conservative coalition, lets get some things straight.
One, there are very few true Rockefeller Republicans left in congress. The only one that I can name off hand is Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME.). I suppose now many would like to add Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) but when one has an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 75%, I would classify him as a moderate conservative.
When some are referred to as RINOs, Republican In Name Only, it is on specific issues and or overall demeanor in dealing with the other side.
But the bottom line is that open honest debate does not hurt the movement. But not coming together at some point will hurt overall.
In the National Review piece by Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru, they make a valid and important point.
We are not going to see more conservatives elected as it appears that the United States does not have enough conservative voters to elect conservatives. Here is the point:

There is no alternative to seeking to expand the conservative base beyond its present inadequate numbers and to win the votes of people who aren’t yet conservatives or are not yet conservatives on all issues.

Very true. At some point we need to do a better job at keeping the base and trying to find more voters that may not be as conservative as we may be. But the other fact is that many do not realize how much they are conservatives but just have that block that they will not vote for a Republican. That is on us to not dismiss but encourage those fence-sitting voters. Some people talked with one Ronald Reagan and made him realize that the Democrat party was not going to change, that he did and he became a conservative Republican.
But Drew M. has a devastating point about how establishment candidates were not all that stellar in the 2012 election, especially in several senate races. He names names:

Have there been setbacks in Senate races? Yes. Have some "tea party" favorites been disasters? Obviously. But let's not pretend that "establishment" candidates haven't lost races either. Connie Mack in Florida, Pete Hoekstra in Michigan (not only wasn't he a "tea party" guy he ran an ad that was worse than Christine O'Donnell's notorious "I'm Not A Witch" ad), Denny Rehberg in Montana, George Allen in Virginia, and Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin all were "establishment" picks and all lost.

The only name I disagree with is George Allen. He has always been a solid conservative. I think that the argument in regards to his candidacy is that his time as an elected official has past. Not because of his record, but because some people in politics just have a certain shelf life. And Mr. Allen past his.
But otherwise, Drew M. is spot on.
BOTH the establishment and Tea Party candidates took some hits in the last election. The Tea Party did have a couple of clunkers. Christine O'Donnell and Todd Akin come to mind. OK, Mr. Akin was not all Tea Party, but he did court their support before he went crazy about rape. Sharon Angle was in Nevada state politics before running for and winning the GOP nomination for senate. In fact I think that she ran a great campaign and no one would have beat the repulsive Sen. Dingy Harry Reid (D-Nev.). And before anyone screams that Mike Castle was a lock to win the Delaware senate race that Miss. O'Donnell ended up losing, where is the proof? Ask Sens. Allen, Hoekstra, Mack, Thompson.
Oops! My bad!
Why they did NOT win yet we were told that they were locks. Each and everyone of them.
The fact is both the establishment and Tea Party took a hit in the last election. An election that the incumbent president won with 51% of the vote, two less than in 2008. Whenever one hears how he, the Dear Leader, President Obama won in a landslide, just yawn. Because he had to fight, lie, cheat and maybe even steal to win every vote that he has.
That is part of the debate between conservatives. Should we go balls-out, scorch the earth and slam Democrats in every way possible. Or should we be more strategic, sober, and try to reach out to new voters?
Both my friends. Both.
We have to show the other side that we are serious about what we talk about. That we want to repeal O-Care and replace it with something that will be better. That is more market oriented and makes it easier for people to purchase insurance as they wish. To have the coverage that they want. Without offering a viable alternative, then what is the point about repealing O-Care?
That when we talk about a strong and capable armed forces, we mean to encourage and recruit the best and the brightest. We do not need to use the armed forces as some social petri dish. That our friends and allies respect us. And our foes and outright enemies fear us.
We need to call out Islamofacist terror for what it is. We need to be clear we are not against the Islamic religion but those that seek to pervert enough of it to create animus. We do not need psychobabble about so-called historical wrongs.
There are three examples.
The bottom line is that we in the conservative movement will disagree and sometimes it will be ugly. But we need to unify on the common threat and what we would do differently. The threat is the left-wing dominance of the Democrat party. What we would do differently is return the federal government to its proper role.
We are not in disagreement on that and while we will debate, when it comes time for elections we must unify and speak in one clear and unmistakable voice.
That is the trick we must learn.

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