Debating the demise of the Republican Party

by Sal on January 25, 2008

in Politics

There has been much talk of the demise of the GOP in recent weeks.  Rush Limbaugh has been making the case that if Huckabee or McCain are nominated, it will destroy the GOP.  In an article today, Peggy Noonan states that the GOP is already in shambles, and it is because of George W. Bush. 

On every domestic issue other than taxes and social issues, Bush has been somewhat of a disaster.  In an effort to build a permanent Republican majority, he tilted left on issues such as education, spending, health care, immigration, and other such domestic issues.  He was firm on the war, (almost to a fault in not sooner realizing that his war strategy wasn’t working and needed adjustment) terrorism, taxes, and judges (minus the Harriet Meyers debacle), but not so anywhere else.  Were we conservatives too complainant during the early years of No Child Left Behind, the Prescription Drug bill, and massive increases in spending?  Did we gloss over those issues because of our concern for National Security and the economy? 

Bush’s strategy now seems to have backfired.  We have lost the congress, and are in danger of losing the presidency as well.  Even if we do win the Presidency, it will be with a weak quasi-Conservative or a media-pandering moderate.  The party does not have the same unity of purpose anymore, it is too fractured.  Is Bush to blame as Peggy suggests, or is it something else?  What must the party do to return to its Conservative roots in the model of the era of Reagan?  Who is out there who can lead the party back to Conservatism and into the next several decades?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ryan January 25, 2008 at 8:48 pm

I have a few thoughts about the last decade or so of Republican politics:

The Bush family themselves are largely to blame for our mess. Bush 41 betrayed Reagan’s principles and found himself ousted after 1 term, losing to BJ. Dubya had Republican majorities and decided to “new tone” himself and the party into Democrat-lite, who happened to be pro-defense. You are never going to win a battle with Democrats about who cares more if the argument leads to whose programs would be bigger or how much money is one willing to spend to achieve these mammoth entitlements.

Partially the party in general is to blame. Ever since Newt stepped down in 1999, some Republicans have this uncanny fear that BJ will come back to call them all heartless. Couple that with the lure of Washington’s treasure chests, which were completely in Republican hands. Yes, we gave some back to the people it belongs to in 2001 and 2003, yet increased non-military spending way too much for comfort. Drunk with power, we’re now feeling the hangover.

Then, the party tried playing the Democrat game of being nice and “compassionate.” As it turns out, a “compassionate conservative” is just a guilt-ridden, high-spending version of a real conservative, which in many districts in the South and West is called a “Blue Dog” Democrat. Many of those Blue Dogs are sitting in formerly Republican seats.

The Republicans have spent the last decade blurring the lines between themselves adn the Dems. The lesson of Reagan and his huge victories centered around clear distinctions between the two parties. We need to distinguish ourselves, our philosophy, our vision, our plans, from the Democrats or face minority status once again.

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