by John Hawkins | May 21, 2009 6:47 am
“The big mistake of Republican leadership is thinking that going through the motions of listening to their ‘base’ is the same thing as actually listening to the base. They keep trying to drag us to where they think we should be instead of joining us where we are.” — Yael
If candidates who believe in small government, fiscal responsibility, a strong military, patriotism, freedom, and traditional values can no longer win elections in the United States, then we’re finished as a great nation.
A choice between modern liberalism and the “Democrat-lite” philosophy of people like Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is like a choice between cutting your throat with a chainsaw or a rusty saw: one may be a little faster than the other, but both will eventually kill you dead as a doornail. This is something the average conservative understands, but the GOP Establishment does not.
At first that may seem puzzling. How is it that so many politicians who’ve actually managed to get elected again and again, often over long periods of time, can be so dumb?
Well, keep in mind that many of these politicians got to D.C. in the first place because they were the scion of a famous family, had so much money that they practically bought the office, or happened to be extremely well connected. Then because of gerrymandering and the incredible advantages of being an incumbent, most of these sitting members of Congress have seldom had a competitive race since. If they have, some slick consultant who has 50 IQ points on them has come in and fed them every line, directed every commercial, and mapped out every campaign strategy.
At that point, after winning yet another election, they go back to D.C. where their staffers cater to them like a celebrity’s entourage and everybody they run into has a great pitch for a museum of cow flatulence or an explanation of why the program to help train orphaned baby seals as lifeguards for Antarctic beaches is dramatically underfunded.
The longer this goes on, the less it becomes about doing what’s right for the country and the more it inevitably becomes about saving their jobs. Because the staffers tend to be sycophantic, the consultants get business by telling members of Congress what they want to hear. The media tends to be liberal and every dumb move is reinforced until it becomes conventional wisdom on Capitol Hill.
That’s what creates the infamous “D.C. bubble” you so often hear about and it’s extremely difficult to pop because very few of these members of Congress read blogs or listen to talk radio. The honest truth is that most of them really don’t know what the base thinks and worse yet, in many cases, have come to think that what the Right believes doesn’t matter because it’s the job of conservative activists to serve the Republican Establishment, not vice-versa.
Granted, the Democrats in Congress don’t really care much for their base either; however, unlike Republicans, they are smart enough to appreciate what their base can do for them when they’re happy — and fear what they can do to them if they’re not. That’s why Democrats pay attention to the netroots no matter how crazy they may sound. It’s why they stay out of primaries. It’s why they take great care to show the Far Left that their heart is in the right place, even if they ultimately disappoint them on the issues.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Republican Party keeps saying we need to get back to our principles and talks about how important it is to attract more young voters and Hispanic Americans. Then, we get a viable young conservative Hispanic candidate like Marco Rubio running for the Senate in Florida and they arrogantly try to shove him aside to make way for a better-connected, moderate pol who’s more acceptable to the GOP Establishment.
Our party leadership goes on “listening tours” where they don’t talk about hot button issues, say the base needs to get over Reagan, and they don’t seem do any real listening.
We get “moderate” Republicans who provide the crucial votes for the Democrats on every key issue. There’s nothing wrong with being a moderate Republican and we do need them in the party, but when the stakes are high and they’re the deciding vote on an issue that’s important to the base, except under the rarest of circumstances, they should be voting our way.
What it all comes down to is that the Republican Establishment is out of touch, doesn’t respect the people who put them in office, and has no principle they wouldn’t compromise for little more than a few kind words from the media.
Getting rid of many of the “Old Bulls” in the Republican Party may be the only saving grace of the last two disastrous election cycles that the GOP suffered through. Not only did those failures show that the policies advocated by the GOP Establishment have failed the party entirely, it helped get rid of a lot of Republican politicians who looked at the base about the same way that 14th century French monarchs viewed their serfs. Hopefully, the pain the party experienced during Bush’s second term, along with a more motivated and demanding base, will be enough to teach the GOP Establishment a lesson — so we won’t have to spend another few election cycles wandering around in the political wilderness, waiting for the establishment to die off or be voted out of power so we can move forward.
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