Who’s Right? Who’s Left?

Ever since the election, which saw a rookie politician win the presidency, (even a blind pig finds an ACORN every once in awhile), the Republican party has had a debate with itself over just what is the definition of a Republican. The words are flowing fast and furious, with Rush Limbaugh, as I understand it, saying that Colin Powell should just become a Democrat and get it over with, and Powell insisting he is not leaving the Republican party.

After every election loss ( and there have not been as many as the Democratic party) the Republican, and indeed the Democratic parties always feel as if there should be a “makeover” of philosophy- as if it was the philosophy alone that was responsible for the loss. Philosophy alone is never the culprit, the blame can and must be shared with the candidate who is the face of the party.

During the 1980 primary contest between President Carter and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Kennedy supporters worried that Carter had moved too far to the center to energize the party base; Carter supporters blamed the president’s loss to Ronald Reagan on Kennedy’s more-liberal-than-thou insurgency. Moderate and liberal Democrats are still arguing about whether Al Gore went too far in 2000 in abandoning Bill Clinton-style triangulation for a more populist pitch — or whether he didn’t go far enough. Limbaugh and like-minded, if less strident, Republicans can make the case for purity by citing the party’s capture of Congress in 1994 under the banner of Rep. Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America


The Republicans are split now over ideology, and  just how inclusive they need to be, when what they need is to develop a consistent, ethical platform that reflects the conservatism that is and should be the heart of the Republican party. Then they need to begin living that philosophy.

The most consistent fault I have found, was that the Republicans had relented on fiscal conservatism, and when they were in power, spent like drunken Democrats. Trying to emulate your opponent is not a winning strategy, and the Republicans, including Powell, came off looking like Democrat- lite. When a Republican, even Powell, votes for the opponent, it’s possibly not a black thing, but it is  trouble in River City.

I have said before that Barama didn’t so much win the election as McCain lost it. I know there will be many libbies who will come on here with interminable stats to refute my assertions, but the truth is that as trashed as the Republican brand was, Barama should have swept every state. The fact that he didn’t reflects the fact that for many, even as faint as McCain’s efforts were, the idea of conservatism still runs deep and true among many of the people in the U.S., and if presented correctly, with a candidate who truly reflects this conservatism and free market values, the Republicans can win.

But I do have to caution the Republican party- you have to actually walk the walk as well as talk the talk. That was the big problem before

Not every Republican — or Democrat — agrees that inclusiveness is the ticket to electoral success. One of the hoariest debates in both parties is whether majorities are built by uncompromising allegiance to principle or a willingness to abide and even encourage diversity within the ranks. For some conservative Republicans, Powell, Ridge and Schwarzenegger are RINOs — Republicans In Name Only. From that perspective, the RINOs let both the nation and the party down by acquiescing in President George W. Bush’s overspending.
It wasn’t so long ago that the Democratic tent seemed too small to hold its disparate elements. Through the early 20th century, Southern segregationists and Northern liberals met uncomfortably at the party’s quadrennial conventions; during the Vietnam War, Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson’s hawks and Sen. George S. McGovern’s doves similarly elbowed one another for position. Those tensions were refashioned but not eliminated at the century’s end. 

As can be seen, angst is in both parties, and the Democrats have done better in their ” big tent” philosophy than the Republicans, even though there is still rancor in their ranks. Republicans should heed that simple fact here demonstrated by the Dems- not everyone shall agree.

In this sense, the “Big Tent” can be large enough for most of the disparate views of conservatives, as long as there are core values all share, and central to this is the philosophy of smaller government, and fiscal conservatism. Really, all else is a distraction, side issues that are important to some, not as important to others.

Fiscal conservatism and smaller government are issues that transcend race, or gender- these issues affect everyone, and I’ll bet that if the Republicans can beat the drum of opportunity, and walk the walk of smaller government, instead of having a contest to see who can “out- republican” the other, conservatives will win.

Let’s face it- there are more people who are in the heartland of this country, and who are conservatives, than liberals who live on the coasts.

Conservatives have to learn to agree to disagree on certain issues.

Remember, an oak tree is uprooted by high winds and dies, but a willow tree bends with the wind and lives.

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5 Responses to “Who’s Right? Who’s Left?”

  1. Big Dog says:

    People claim that the Republican party needs to move more to the center and emulate the Democrats before they will get the votes. McCain was everything they were asking for and he lost.

    McCain was all the things Powell wanted but he voted for Obama. That tells me that he voted for him because of color.

    Powell has not been a Republican for some time.

    There are thousands of counties and cities in this country. The election map always has more red than blue when displayed by each subdivision.

  2. Darrel says:

    McCain lost because he didn’t capture enough of the center and was a weak candidate while Obama was a formidable opponent with wide crossover appeal (ask Hillary).

    I let people label themselves. Powell has always been a republican and says he is a republican. His approval rating (70%) is higher than Limbaugh (30%) and Cheney (37%) combined. Republicans would be smart to listen to Powell’s opinion rather than those two clowns. I expect (and look forward) to them not doing this.

    Regarding your “more red” counties observation: land doesn’t vote, people vote.


  3. Blake says:

    Darrel- people WITH LAND vote, and most people with something to lose vote more conservatively ( unless you are a hollywood weirdo with more money than sense).
    Don’t worry, the people will tire of the dilettante soon as they have to begin paying all the money he needs. And he needs A LOT.

    • Darrel says:

      And people without land vote. Because land ownership is irrelevant to voting.

      And I don’t worry. If the repub’s were to lay a glove on Obama in the next election they would need to look to someone like Powell who has great, and broad, appeal.

      I don’t expect the republicans to figure this out until well into Obama’s second term.

      I also noticed this silliness among the left after Clinton. All those people who thought Gore wasn’t to the left enough and were going to vote for Nader. Unbelievable stupidity. Now we have the same silliness, on your side. Enjoy.


      • Blake says:

        Granted- but hopefully we aren’t as fractured as the dems with Gore in 2000- we just need to get beyond the petty side issues and unite with the core issues, as I have laid out.
        If we continue to be fools, we’ll get what we deserve.
        I do think that Barama will overreach and even have you denouncing him before 2010 as the petty little tyrant I think him to be.