After the shellacking of the Republican Party by the Democrats on November fourth people are asking themselves “what happened?” and “what do we do next?”. The “what happened”was eight years of a lackluster president who enacted the surge about two and half years too late, surrendered on the public relations front, and abandoned the conservative principle of small government while joining the Republican-controlled Congress in a frenzy of (then) unprecedented deficit spending.
In answer to the next question, “what do we do next?,” I believe some are beginning to outline a strategy for the coming years. On Scott Martin’s Live Blogging, one commenter suggested that the proper response is Newt Gingrich-style guerrilla conservatism.
Our friends on the left gave President Bush no peace, no room, made no attempt to give the man a chance. They hated him for his win in 2000, and hated him even more in 2004. In the end, they got him in the 2006 elections, and finished the job tonight. While we ought to be more polite than the left, we should still follow their lead, and give Mr Obama no peace, and no room to maneuver, as little freedom of action as possible.
We won’t win all of the battles, and probably will lose far more than we win. But when Bill Clinton, who ran as a moderate, took a hard left turn in 1993 and 1994, guerrilla conservatism spanked him hard in 1994; that’s what we need to try again.
When it comes to taxes, we must hound the next president on his promises, promises we already know he will break. When it comes to spending, we must hound him on busting the budget.
Lying down and playing dead is not an option. Conservatives will have to become the insurgents on this political battlefield for the next few years. The RINO’s have scattered, defected, or are actively compromising to save their own political skins, the Bushites have been routed, and the most vocal of the neocons have been discredited. Those members of the GOP who decided to act and spend like drunken Democrats deserve no place of leadership and probably don’t have the courage to stand up to Obama to begin with. The hard work of freedom by default once again falls onto the shoulders of the true conservatives to stand up for what is right. It is up to conservatives to stand for traditional morals and values and principle without apology and regardless of criticism, personal attacks and the ebbs and flows of the political landscape and “popular opinion.”
If the big-government, principle-compromising, country-club types are allowed to continue to run the Republican Party it will only suffer disaster after disaster until the United States is effectively a one-party state with only a token opposition. That is the ultimate goal of Obama and the left.. Those who have declared a “paradigm shift”in American politics realize that the U.S. is not far from that now and will stay that way unless and until conservatives move quickly and decisively to reclaim the Republican Party and the moral high ground.
The Democratic Party has successfully purged itself of moderates and true centrists and perhaps the Republican Party should purge itself of the squishy, rudderless elements who have governed so poorly in the past. The Republican Party disintegrates and loses elections when it wanders from the straight and narrow path of free enterprise, traditional morals and values, small government, lower taxes, and personal restraint and responsibility. The temptations of power seems to have an amazingly corrosive effect on the political party in power, and during the first six years of the Bush administration the Republicans could not resist gorging themselves at the public trough and overplaying their hand both domestically and internationally.
The Republican Party is far more successful as an opposition party as the most driven, the most committed and most conservative of its ranks rise to the occasion and rally to the defense of the “Shining City on the Hill.” The left has now elected a president that has deep ties to cultural and ethnocentric radicalism and it would be irresponsible, and nothing but self-destructive appeasement, to not vigorously oppose any and every forthcoming policy that violates the fundamental principles of conservatism, traditional values and common sense. The current occupant of the white house believes that he needs to “break free from the essenticonstraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.” It would be irresponsible for the political opposition to appease that demand.
The choice and duty here is clear and the republic needs its defenders now more than ever. Defeatism is already raising its ugly head among certain elements of the right and the Republican Party but such knee jerk, defeatist reactions accomplish nothing constructive and only serve to undermine the common sense conservative movement. One can blindly acquiesce and surrender to the coming “Liberal Nanny State” or a campaign of sabotage can be launched before it gets off the ground.
The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States should not be seen as the end of the ideological and cultural wars for the heart and soul of America, but as the beginning. The 2008 election may have been a victory on one hand, but it should not be construed as surrender on the other. It is always darkest before the dawn, but if conservatives don’t fight now the conservative movement, and a meaningful Republican Party, will indeed be condemned to the ashbin of history. The left will not be content to relish its victory but will instead embark on a program of “perpetual revolution” socially, economically and ideologically. We are witnessing the fruition of the nearly complete liberal domination of education and academia, the media, and Hollywood. It was inevitable that given enough time they would eventually completely conquer the state as well.
You can’t be a nice guy when your enemy has no scruples. The Founders explicitly warned against turning the republic into a mob-ruled democracy yet that is how the U.S. is now being governed. Already the left is beginning to prepare for the conservative backlash. And I believe that conservatives must make every effort not to disappoint them. Norman Lear has warned about “an invigorated right-wing grassroots, media and organizational infrastructure.” It remains to be seen if he is right and if his fear will be viewed as a call to action by those who still believe in fighting for the republic. The left thinks it has managed to create a paradigm shift in American politics. Whether that is true remains to be seen.
As for the Republican Party, if it doesn’t end cross-over voting in the early primaries then it doesn’t matter what else happens. Allowing Democrats and liberals to have a role in picking your presidential nominee is ridiculous and must never be allowed to happen again. Diluting conservatism is a continued recipe for disaster.
Conservatives must seize control of the Republican Party, not just be one of the factions. The pundits call the right “the base” of the Republican Party but “the base” doesn’t control the party. Conservatives are intent on rectifying that now. Those who have sold out the party and its principles have led that same party into the twilight land of the “loyal opposition” that controls little and exerts even less influence that it did during the dark days following the fall of Nixon. Those responsible for the political disaster of the last few years should be held accountable for their actions, or lack thereof, and themselves condemned to the ashbin of history.
Conservatism always has been and always will be a force to reckon with because it most closely approximates the reality of the human condition, based, as it is, on the cumulative judgment and experience of a people. It is the heir, not the apostate, to the accumulated wisdom, morality and faith of the people. Our challenge is not to retreat to the comfort of self-congratulatory exile but to sweat and bleed and be victorious in the arena of public opinion.
- Tony Blankley
Unless the Republican Party can rediscover its conservative soul, it may effectively be doomed to extinction.
David Huntwork is a conservative activist and freelance columnist in Northern Colorado where he lives with his wife and three young daughters. He is the author of the book No Apologies: In Defense of Common Sense and the Conservative Ideology which can be purchased at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=3576295.
Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions at DaveHuntwork@juno.com.
You may also view his bio and past columns at: http://DavidHuntwork.tripod.com.