We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
When a candidate or party loses an election, the tendency is to over-read it and to self-scrutinize, sometimes to a fault. When they win, the tendency is to over-read it and not self-scrutinize enough. Often, the process devolves into a circular firing squad for the former, and a circle jerk for the latter. We try to avoid both of those unseemly activities.
These election thoughts by guest poster Bruce Kesler:
Jon Henke, over at The New Right blog, says “Republicans deserved to lose.” His argument parallels mine in Appearances and Mood that “it is among conservatives that reform must come….Rank and file conservatives mostly looked to this inadequate leadership instead of to ourselves to step forward and fight.”Henke writes:
The problem is a movement that plays small-ball and cedes responsibility for infrastructure to business interests, leadership that rewards those who make friends rather than waves, an entrenched Party and Movement support system that mostly supports itself, an echo chamber that has rotted our intellect, a grassroots that is ill-equipped to shape the Republican Party, and a Republican Party that has replaced strategy with tactics, substance with marketing.
From there it’s downhill in the Comments on Henke’s post, as the argument devolves into whether the Party should be with libertarians or traditionalists, economic or social conservatives, Hispanics or Southerners, and so forth.In other words, the arguments are for further splitting asunder the Reagan coalition.Insane.
Instead, the discussion should be on how to not only rebuild the Reagan coalition but how to enlarge it.
There were five primary slippages in Republican votes during this election.The younger voters who are the children of liberal Boomers came of age and along with their educated parents went Obama.The working middle class suffered additional economic loss on top of their struggles with taxes, tuition, mortgages, car payments and just getting by.The staunch conservatives didn’t see McCain doing much more for their priorities other than not surrendering in Iraq.The aspiring poor and working class didn’t see any vision presented by McCain of support for getting ahead. The large business interests, most entwined with government programs, either were inactive or shifted their donations to Democrats promising or controlling programs that would enrich them.All this was exacerbated by the major media’s evasion of examining Obama’s record and promises, indeed his lack of the former and illusory nature of the latter, but concentration of nitpicking McCain and Palin.
It will take years and a new kind of energetic leadership to win back substantial portions of these constituencies and to neutralize the self-appointed elite media’s penchant for seeing any Democrat constituency as an underdog to be defended.To do that, new leadership of Republicans, must be willing to confront entrenched interests, including within the Republican Party who have gone along to get along.Rank and file conservatives, whether libertarian, national security, or social traditionalists can come together and join with these now Democrat-leaning voters by focusing on an issue that negatively affects them all.
Recall, Reagan’s first major act was to fire the air controllers whose union demands threatened to shut down air traffic.The country rallied around Reagan, to the dismay and ruin of union demands.Reagan’s popularity grew from there.We will not be blackmailed.
Unions are at the core of many of the ills that threaten the above groups.While private jobs disappear, government payrolls climb.While basic government services are trimmed, increasing portions of budgets are consumed by government workers’ pensions and other benefits beyond what’s available to private industry workers.While productive citizens’ wages and savings are eroded, spending programs are pushed by unions that will increase taxes.While tuition escalates beyond reach, faculty and their unions demand retention of light teaching loads, fat paychecks and benefits.While construction jobs are scarce, unions demand control of public works projects, often excluding minorities, and increase taxpayer costs.Union contributions to the Obama campaign and 527’sdwarfed others’ contributions to McCain’s by several-fold, as did contributions from college faculties.
Unions, now, want payback from the Obama administration and Democrat Congress.They want more government bureaucracy, to increase regulatory restrictions on private industry and workers.They want manipulated “card check” instead of secret ballotboxes, to increase their dues take from those forced into their grasp.They want expanded welfare programs, to shift personal expense onto others.They want union-controlled public works projects, that discriminate against minorities and run up the bill to taxpayers.
Another front on which similar gains can be made is to tighten up the tax-exemption of 501(c) “charities.”Almost 90% of the largest and their managers contributions went to Democrats.Most 501(c)’s have little to do with aiding the poor.They sit on $13-trillion of assets, more of which should be directed at the needy and at scholarships and such, and less on exorbitant salaries, perks and edifices.
The immediate front upon which a conservative activism can play out and enlarge the base, across class lines and into increased recognition among the poorer and compassionate of where their interests lay, is in getting involved heavily in fighting back against the undue union demands and the pretenses of so-called “charities”, and making it loudly explicit why.
Sorry this "analysis" seems to be part of the problem, not the solution. First, there were 3 million FEWER votes in 2008 than in 2004. That is hugely important. The decline was probably in conservative ranks who didn't turn out for McCain. The only notable switches from recent past voting patterns was with youth and minorities (although there was no increase in absolute turnout). Post election interviews seem to indicate that there was no wave of support for big government. Yes, the U.S. appears to be still a center-right country. So why did the two above mentioned constituencies vote for Obama. In case anyone failed to notice, he is the first minority candidate nominated for the Presidency. Hey, that's cool, let's vote for him.
So what now? Republicans must unite to defend against big government, onerous regulations and interference, rewards to special interests and, most importantly, non-radical, at least, Supremes. They must not let themselves be cowed by accusations of racism or bigotry, NOT ONCE. In the backrooms, reconstruction must begin so that the Republicans propose and support fundamental tax simplification and transparency (No. 1 priority!), limited government, lower taxes, entitlement reform, free market stimulation, and, very important, secularize and moderate, if not limit discussions to delegation of issues to states, all social issues positions. In the end, youth and minorities (minus blacks, of course), as well as women, can be won back by a clear and simple message that these are the policies which will best help you achieve your dream of personal betterment in a growing economy.
Start with the primary system, until its made impossible for enough votes to be collected to have locked the nomination up before the convention, the selection and viability of your candidates will be controlled by the liberal media. Who will murder and then bury your best candidates .