Republicans Vs. Democrats. Conservatives Vs. Liberals.

Pat Hynes and Soren Dayton have been writing about how the GOP/conservatism is stacking up to Democrats/liberalism.

Here’s Dayton’s take on it,

“First, the GOP has (had?) succeeded for nearly 20 years at really critical points. The Cold War was won. Welfare rolls were cut and poverty fell. Tax rates were cut nearly 50%. Inflation has fallen by nearly 10 times and is, by many estimates, a problem of the past. The standard of living has improved dramatically. (yes, I know about the stagnating wage, but can you really doubt that the life of someone on the median income is not dramatically better?) America is still the economic leader of the world. We are the only country that is willing to invest blood and treasure in our values around the world. After 20 years of transforming America and the world, the GOP is running low on ideas. And the conservative movement is fighting yesterday’s wars.

Second, the leaders of the conservative movement are getting old. They have been fighting for 40+ years with tremendous success. For example, Morton Blackwell was a floor leader in the convention fight that led to the Goldwater take over in the Young Republicans in 1963. He later was a co-founder of Heritage and the Leadership Institute. And while they have changed with the time, there is a limit to the amount that you can ask of these people.

Third, as the major bullet-points of the agenda have been implemented, the organizations, people, etc. that supported these changes have become transactional and, in some cases, corrupt.

There is no question that the conservative movement needs a renewal. It needs new ideas, new organizations, new people, and new technologies. This is a natural transition. The point is that a new group of leaders needs to step up. We need ideas, politics, etc. Most fundamentally, we need to start answering the questions of today and tomorrow, not refight Reagan’s fight. After all, nearly all of the great evils of his day are dead: the Soviets, confiscatory taxes, confiscatory inflation, outrageous moral decay, etc.”

I think this is largely correct.

Conservatives and Republicans have become increasingly complacent in recent years because of the electoral successes we’ve had.

The Republican Party in particular has become lax about corruption, spending, and small government issues. They’ve also allowed themselves to become distanced from their base, have done a poor job of reaching out to new constituencies, and haven’t put in the needed effort on honing their approach to domestic or online issues.

Conservatives in general haven’t seen a need to change with the times either. Our issues are, with the exception of the war on terror, about the same as they were in the Reagan years. However, while some parts of the Reagan agenda are as relevant as they were the day he came into office, other issues have moved to the forefront and the GOP hasn’t done enough to address them.

Also, in actuality, conservatives have a much bigger and stronger “new media” presence than the Left does, but we do a much poorer job of leveraging what we have.

While the Left has a mediocre presence on the radio, conservatives have numerous radio hosts with large audiences, but they do very little to promote the new kids on the block (blogs) or raise money for the GOP. The same could be said for the bevy of large, popular conservative online magazines and think tanks.

Everyone talks about the Daily Kos and the huge impact it’s had on politics, but the truth is that there are probably a dozen conservative websites/radio hosts with bigger audiences, who could easily make bigger splashes, but have chosen not to do so for whatever reason. (Click here to see just a few of them)

All that being said, don’t buy into this liberal triumphalism that the Left is out there pushing. The Democrats have an old, stale, largely unpopular agenda that they’re pushing and the American public hasn’t bought into it. To the contrary, the American people were — quite correctly, I might add — very dissatisfied with the performance of the GOP and thought they needed a change in 2006. Moreover, the conservative base was — and continues to be — de-energized and we have an extremely unpopular Republican President. All those factors are dragging down our numbers significantly across the board.

That’s not to say that the GOP and conservatives don’t have a lot of work to do — we do — but the Democrats and liberals have won a political battle, not a war, and things will flip back our way, perhaps even sooner than most people expect.

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