RPVNetwork

Grassroots Network of the Republican Party of Virginia

Ideology, Party Discipline and Campaign Organization

Ideology, Party Discipline and Campaign Organization

This is a long post. It took several hours to write. I hope you find it worth spending 5 minutes to read.


Anyone who scans these forums, even briefly, recognizes Virginia Republicans are engaged in an often painful examination of where we are, how we got here and, most importantly, how do we move forward. Most of the discussions have been useful but there still seems to be something missing. A great deal of discussion has focused on identifying a single cause (and corresponding silver bullet solution) for our declining fortunes in Virginia, particularly in NOVA. Attempts have been made to pin the blame on RINOs, ideologues, party elites, herd mentality by grassroots and sheer incompetence on the part of RPVA. I believe that none of the above are fully responsible for our current situation and all of the above share at least a portion of the blame. We can separate these issues into their component parts, it makes for easier examination; but must conduct a full 360 degree assessment of past mistake (and successes). Only then will we be able to craft a comprehensive plan to change direction.

Ideology -- This is unquestionably the most hot button issue in these forums. Most commentators advocate either compromising core believes to gain votes from moderates or taking an unyielding position in order to avoid losing conservatives. I think we need to reexamine these issue and recognize they can be broken into sub-issues that allow us opportunities to focus on areas where moderate voters may agree with us, seek compromise on non-core sub-issues and even do a little horse trading on some of them.

NOVA moderates who want a variety of government services, particularly enhanced transportation systems, do not necessarily want to pay $1.50 in taxes for $0.75 in services. Many of them also work for small nimble beltway bandits and instinctively understand that a smaller government focused on achieving excellence in providing critical services is more desirable than a large over bloated bureaucracy that tries to do everything. A strident anti government message that dismisses the need for services they value drives these voters toward the Democrats. A message that government cannot only live within its means but deliver a better quality of service in the process will bring them back.

Many voters in NOVA, and increasingly the rest of the state, are more libertarian than liberal or conservative. The want government to stay away from their finances, their gun cabinet and most particularly their family. This means they tend to shut out pro-life messages they perceive as purely anti-abortion intrusions into their personal decisions. But they are also often open to parental rights message that government officials in schools, social services agencies and the courts should not be allowed to insert themselves between parents and their daughters. This issue are was actually something of a success story for Virginia Republicans during the 80s and 90s when many pro-life candidates for State House and Senate races gained support from nominally pro-choice areas by using these sub-issues effectively. These moderate voters also tend to see gay rights issues, including gay marriage, as one of government intrusion into personal decisions. But many of them would be open to a trade-off whereby government recognizes their right to live and marry as they please but school systems are prohibited from advocating lifestyles of any type and government respects parental rights to determine values in their family.

My basic point regarding ideology is that it is more complex than left, right, center / black, white grey / surrender, stand-your-ground, compromise etc. We will never gain votes from hard core liberal ideologues and attempting to run to the left of Democrats is both demeaning and ineffective. But I believe there are actually far fewer of these voters than election returns indicate. Republicans can win NOVA with a basically conservative message if we focus on delivering the message correctly. We need to listen to all voters, determine what is most important to them, identify areas of agreement as well as disagreement, deliver compelling messages focused on areas of agreement, look for areas where we can horse trade without compromising truly core principals, respectfully but clearly articulate the areas where we cannot compromise and offer voters every possible opportunity to support us without compromising their principals.

Party Discipline(Leaders) We name streets in Virginia after the type of party discipline and unity demonstrated by many of our leaders: “One Way” and “Dead End”. This has been a growing cancer since 1978 when grassroots conservatives not only held their noses to vote for a Senator not of their choosing; but, actively made phone calls, walked precincts and worked polls in one of the most impressive volunteer efforts the state had ever seen and delivered a narrow victory. That Senator returned the favor with lackluster support for RPVA fundraising efforts, tepid endorsements of most conservative candidates, refusal to endorse others even after they had won the nomination, outright opposition to the Republican candidate for Senate in 1994 and a decision to retire when it became clear that he was the only nominal Republican who could hold the seat against the very real possibility of Democrats gaining 60 votes in the Senate. Today he is acknowledged as one of our most honored party leaders.

He has set the example for others to follow. In 1993 when the RPVA funded a three part bumper sticker for the statewide ticked reading “Allen/Ferris/Gilmore” in red, white and blue, Republican party officials in some areas handed out smaller white stickers reading “Beyer” that could be put over the center portion. I remember arriving at a parking lot in Centerville for a percent canvassing effort and being so disgusted by their open opposition to one of our candidates that I got in my car and drove home. In 2001, many of these same so called party leaders openly supported Mark Warner against Mark Early, helping to give Warner a relatively narrow victory in a campaign where he outspent Early 2 to 1, as well as giving the Democrats the opening wedge they have used so effectively in the past 10 years. We have had State Senators give radio interviews in which they proudly stated they were “Republican In Name Only”. More recently we have seen the State Chairman of RPVA encourage, or at least not stop, robo-calls aimed at our candidate for governor. Meanwhile, from last June to April 4th, members of the SCC were spending more time, money and political capital removing the chairman than supporting Republican candidates.

Our party leaders have evolved from emulating Benedict Arnold to impersonating the Three Stooges. This cannot be allowed to continue. Virginia Republicans enjoyed a steady growth in volunteers, fundraising and grassroots activism from the mid 70s through the late 90s. Since then we have had a slow steady erosion of all three. Prince William County, the second largest in the state, had less than 200 people attend the 2009 county convention. There are no leaders without followers and very few people will follow a leader who is disloyal or incompetent.

We ask a great deal of our grassroots supporters, including voting and working for candidates they may have opposed during the nomination process. We should demand no less of our leaders. Candidates for statewide office should be required to commit to raising $500,000 for the RPVA and $500,000 each for other statewide candidates if they are elected. They should commit to raising lower amounts for Congressional, State legislative local candidates and local party organizations. Similar targets should be established for candidates for other offices. All elected Republican office holders should commit to endorsing the Party’s candidates within 3 days of the convention or primary. Failure to meet fundraising or endorsement commitments should result in a proportional loss of support from the party for the individual’s reelection.

I am about the furthest one can get from a doctrinaire ideologue, often agree with moderates on policy issues and have voted for several moderates in primary elections; but few things make my blood boil more than elected party leaders deliberately undermining the campaigns of Republican nominees or withholding support for party fundraising. If they cannot or will not support the Party, they should not accept its nomination.

Party Discipline(Followers) Grassroots activists can, should, MUST make their voices heard. They must also recognize they are not the only constituency in the political environment. Donors, who may or may not overlap with activists, have a right to be heard as well. But voters trump all else. Party rules facilitate the ability of small groups of activists to dominate sparsely attended county or state conventions, nominate marginal candidates, pass dogmatic resolutions and issue “interesting” public statements in the Party’s name. It may feel good for a day or even a week but elected officials are in office for 2, 4 or 6 years and nominating a fringe candidate or handing the opposition a resolution/statement that can be used as a club against us is just plain stupid. The sting of the voters’ rejection at the polling place will remain long after the triumph of the resolution in the high school auditorium has faded from memory.

Grassroots activists in Virginia are some of the most sophisticated in the nation, particularly in NOVA. Most of them have been active at some level for decades. Many of them work or have worked for elected officials or government agencies. More than a few of them have held elected office. They read newspapers and public policy journals, watch television talk shows, listen to talk radio and educate themselves about both issues and public opinion. They know very well how most of their neighbors will react to certain candidates, resolutions or statements. Many of them simply don’t care. Too many of our grassroots are more interested in maintaining a dogmatic ideological purity than in advancing a public policy agenda.

Equally important, elected officials cannot, should not, and in most cases will not allow themselves to be dominated by groups that represent a small fraction of 1 percent of voters. The same rules that allow activists to dominate conventions also allow incumbents to bypass them and seek reelection through primaries.

Grassroots activists in Virginia have more ability to determine the Party’s nominees and policy platform than in almost any other state. To my knowledge, only Utah comes as close to empowering the grassroots as Virginia. But with power comes responsibility. The continual efforts to reshape the party as the private play toy of small groups of activists has decimated party organizations in NOVA, driven away many potential voters, donors and volunteers, and culminated in a state leadership fight that may yet cost us the governor’s race.

If these small groups of activists cannot or will not control their desire to “make a statement” regardless of the cost to the party’s ability to win elections and shape public policy, than the SCC should dilute their power by adopting party rules that broaden the nominating base and limit the role of conventions. At the very least, if a convention is called for the purpose of nominating a candidate to local office and does not receive applications for certification as a delegate from at least 5 percent of the Republican vote in the last election, the convention should be cancelled and a primary held in its place.

Campaign Organization – Close examination of statewide campaigns since 2001 indicate Republicans could have and should have survived ideological splits, disloyal leaders and runaway activists while continuing to win a string of state wide victories. All of these factors hurt but none were fatal, individually or collectively. No, we defeated ourselves with some of the worst campaigns in history. Larry Sabato has made a fairly good living chronicling some of these errors. They could serve as textbook examples of how not to run for statewide office.

Mark Early seemed to believe that he would win ROVA as a conservative and NOVA as a native son so he could get by with less than impressive fundraising and wait until after Labor Day to get serious about campaigning. By the time this campaign got started, Mark Warner had already raised twice as much money, albeit mostly from himself, recruited and trained the most extensive field staff the state had seen upto then, and developed a comprehensive list of over 3 million voters complete with contact information and policy preferences. Nevertheless, Warner only won by about 4 percent. If we had actually fought this fight instead of assuming we had it won, Mark would only be remembered as the “other” Warner.

Jerry Kilgore had one of the best and most comprehensive transportation funding proposals ever put forward by a Virginia candidate. You could find it about 6 levels down on his website and there was a passing reference to it in one of his brochures. When I asked his NOVA field rep when or if they would hand out copies of the transportation plan at slug lots, she asked “what is a slug lot?” She had however already lined up her next job as a field rep for Jim Nussle’s campaign for governor of Iowa. He also lost. Meanwhile, the Kilgore campaign poured limited resources into an easily dismissed commercial about the death penalty. The same field rep told me this was because over 80 percent of voters in Va. supported the death penalty. It’s called preaching to the choir. In Virginia the ACLU supports the death penalty. No one ever believed a Virginia governor would try to repeal it, Kaine promised to apply it, end of debate.

George Allen truly was coasting to reelection. So his campaign decided to conduct a series of grueling bus trips around the state in August where he would get little sleep, be constantly moving, give the same basic speech till saying anything different to spice it up seemed attractive and just to make it interesting, the staff would feed him some of the jokes they told about the “monitors” the Democrats were sending to his events. Instead of responding to the inevitable gaffe with a quick apology and the sacrifice of the staffer who provided the wrong name, the campaign decided to conduct a case study in how to make a bad situation worse.

By 2008, the damage had been done. Nothing Gilmore, or anyone else, could have done would have changed the outcome. He and his campaign went through the motions and made fewer mistakes than his predecessors but it was obvious their hearts weren’t in it.

Two common threads run through all these races. Excessive reliance on paid staff who were unfamiliar with the state and an attempt to apply a cookie cutter campaign plan that had worked previously in some other place and time. Mark Early more or less tried to repeat Gilmore’s successful gubernatorial race based on following a popular incumbent and running against a weak self funding opponent with next to no base outside NOVA. That plan worked well in 97 against Don Beyer. It failed miserably in 2001 against Mark Warner. Kilgore tried to repeat George Allen’s successful race using the death penalty instead of parole reform and substituting Tim Kaine for Mary Sue Terry. Again, worked well in 93 and failed in 2005. Allen was trying to recreate his own successful statewide wins with the help of the campaign manager who had defeated Tom Daschle in South Dakota. There is no question; Tom Thune beat Daschle with a combination of an early campaign start, grueling bus tours across South Dakota, hard attacks and shoot from the hip tactics. All of which were particularly ill suited to an incumbent sitting on a double digit lead against an opponent with almost no name recognition.

The instructor at the College Republican Field-rep School I attended in 1977 told us there are no cookie cutter campaigns. Each race is a unique event in time, location and personalities. Every campaign must be approached as if it were the first ever to be conducted. The planning must be meticulous and based on a comprehensive analysis of the state or district which must be conducted anew for each and every race. The manager must learn and know every item of quantitative or qualitative information available regarding the district and the field staff must become as familiar with their assigned areas as they are with their home towns. This is the bare minimum required to even have a chance of winning. That instructor was Karl Rove. His weekend seminar still stands as the best I’ve ever attended.

We need to insist our candidates apply these lessons in Virginia. No funding without a detailed campaign plan. Staff must commit to learning their assigned regions quickly and demonstrate they have done so early in the campaign. Most importantly, each candidate must clearly articulate who will vote for them and why with minimal dependence on voting against the opponent or force of habit.

Views: 108

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I was going to let the whole ideologicl fight go by. Frankly, I am begining to get tired of it. But after some though I decided to post a link to a discussion I started on the NextRight blog sight some months ago.

http://www.thenextright.com/woodbridgeva/is-the-republican-party-ca...

If this does not come through as a hyperlink, try coppying the URL and pasting it in your browser.

That discussion, like most on ideology, qucikly descended into the usual "Your a RINO" accusations. I thought about that for awhile and gave the following reply. I think it applies her as well.

The bottom line is that advancing a public policy agenda, as opposed to merely grandstanding, requires money, volunteers, votes and yes professionals who are willing to work very long hours for not a lot of money and minimal if any thanks from the people they serve. As I noted in my original post, I believe those who aspire to elective office or party leadership should be held to a very high standard of party loyalty, ethics and faithfully representing the views of their consituents (all of their consituents, not just the doctrinaire ideologues), but I accept a less rigorous standard for donors, volunteers and voters. After all, we are asking them for their support, why should we force them to pass a litmus test to provide it?


So what is a RINO?
Submitted by WoodbridgeVa on Sun, 01/18/2009 - 14:50.
Let's take a few sample issues --

I participated in the first pro-life march around the Supreme Court. I oppose abortion except to protect the life or health of the mother and believe any claims the procedure is necessary to protect her mental health should be determined on an individual basis and backed up by analysis from a competent nuetral mental health professional. I fully support informed consent and parental notification laws at the state level and federal laws making it a crime to transport a minor across state lines to avoid state laws. I could tolerate legalized abortion prior to the fetus showing separate brain activity from the mother but it would be a reluctant toleration. Nevertheless, I have absolutely no objection to stem cell research of any kind. Am I a RINO? Do you want my vote, money and volunteer support or am I not ideologically pure enough?

I thought government in the 60s, 70s and 80s was too large, too intrusive and too expensive, at all levels (federal, state, local). I believe one of the only things Carter did right was to initiate some of the early derregulation. I believe we could and should devolve housing and education policy to the state level and shut down HUD and DoEd. I certainly believe the tax rates of the 70s were conficatory and the best tax policy is to develop the simplest policies to raise the revenue needed for legitimate government expenditure with the least impact on the economy. However, I remember that Reagan's exact quote was "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem." and he followed that statement with "Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work—work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it." I beleive there is a legitimate role for government in our society, including regulating the worst excesses of people like Maddoff, Ebbers etc, providing services such as national & state parks, and directly or indirectly supporting research or investments where risk or ROI time horizen discourages private sector participation (think Hoover Dam or National Intitutes of Health). I think ideologues who consistently chant that "if government is the answer, it must be a stupid question" beg the retort "well why should anyone vote for you to run it then?" Am I a RINO? Do you want my vote, money and volunteer support or am I not ideologically pure enough?

I believe in a strong national defense and was disgusted by the anti-war protests of the 70s (they are a large part of the reason I became a Republican). I served 20 years in the National Guard because I believe military service is a moral obligation for all who are physically capable. I lost friends and family on 9/11 and fully supported swift, merciless retribution in Afghanistan. I thought the link to Iraq was much more tennuos but was willing to concede the nations of the world should not tolerate continued disregard for U.N. sanctions without imposing meaningful penalties and the situation in Iraq had reached the point where forcible regime change was the only penalty left to impose. I thaout the conduct of the war between 2003 and 2007 was textbook incompetence that nedlessly elevated casualties on both sides. I believe combatents captured in Iraq and Afghanastan should have been treated as POW' under the Geneva convention until new protocals recognizing enemy combatent status could be established by the international community. I believe these enemy combatents should be held in Guantanimo or elsewhere until we can be entirely confident they no longer pose a treat. I beleive water boarding is torture prohibited by any rational undestanding of domestic or international law and those who defend it sound like sadists or fools or both. Am I a RINO? Do you want my vote, money and volunteer support or am I not ideologically pure enough?

Charlie Cook is merely pointing out that we have steadily moved our definition of ideological purity to the extremes and moved our defintion of RINO in a similar direction. People like me who were once considered the backbone of the Reagan revolution are now being castigated as RINOs. Fourty years ago, conservatism attempted to delivere persuasive messages to all Americans. Today, we increasingly preach to the choir while inviting the choir members to leave the congregation if they are theleast bit off key. Keep this up and the RNC will be holding the national convention in a 50 room Holiday Inn with rooms left over for other guests
Peter Sperry said:
It has been interesting reading the direction this discussion has taken. I notice for example that all of the comments have related to the first point I made regarding ideology. Yes it is important but so are the other two points regarding party loyalty and campaign organization. Many of us fail to appreciate the importance of these two issues. It is much easier to reach an ideological accomadation with someone in the nominating or platform development process if you trust them.

Well said. I, like others here, count myself a proud member of The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. However, to paraphrase Reagan, someone who agrees with me 80% of the time is my friend, not my 20% enemy. I think the takeaway from this thread is that we have to be willing to build coalitions and welcome segments that may not agree with us on 100% of the issues.

I'll relate a personal example. My wife and I are going through a difficult pregnancy. We recently went in for a series of tests and were informed that our son has a heart defect that will require open-heart surgery within the first three months of being born. He also has a rare brain malformation that will almost certainly result in some neurological difficulties. The doctors give him about a 1 in 3 shot.

We were completely taken aback by the counselling we received. Predictably, the "genetic counsellors" put the option of early termination front and center. They had some fairly clever arguments about how open-heart surgery on a three month old would constitute pain and suffering, and that coupled with the brain malformation would likely mean that his quality of life would be poor. Admittedly these arguments gave us pause. Now, I'm an Evangelical, and I believe that life and liberty are granted to us by our Creator, and that no man has the right to take those away. Thus, it wasn't our decision to make - it's in God's hands.

I realized some important thigs that day. First, it's easy to talk about being pro-life on the internet. I consider myself to be strong in my faith, and even I hesitated when presented with such a grim prognosis. Until you're actually faced with that sort of decision, it's easy to make black and white declarations. Second, I vowed never to be judgemental on the abortion issue again. As Christians, we believe in the will of God, but I can easily see how someone not of my faith persuasion would think otherwise.

I suppose the moral of my post is this - let's not forget who our true enemy is. They are the statists, the 20% who self identify as "progressive" and seek only power and dominion over the rest of us. They are the same people who believe that our Constitution is an outmoded document and seek to remake and "level" our social fabric in their own image. There can be no "reaching across the aisle" to these types. Rather, we should be spending every waking moment figuring out how to grind their bones to dust.

But let's not tear each other apart on stuff like the triggerman rule.....
I've got a better question Peter.

I believe in most of what you said but do NOT believe in embryonic stem cell research. I'll go a step further. I DO NOT believe we should be creating and storing human embryos for ANY reason. I believe that embryonic stem cell reasearch is only one very small step away from experimentation on disabled or dying humans. I see no reason why we allow humans to be created only to be held in the embryonic state so that someone who cannot have children of there own can inject one into them. I find it disgusting and an abuse of human life. I believe that my view is the morally and ethically correct view. At the very least I believe that since a large portion of the country agrees with me we should not put taxpayer dollars towards this medical fallacy. Don't forget that no one was stopping private money from going to this program. If stem cells were indeed promise of the future plenty of private funding would have been doing it. Does this view make me an EXTREMIST or just a little bit more conservative than you.

I believe that the war in Iraq was executed with conciencious efficiency. In World War II we lost more men in 1 day than we did in the entire Iraq war to date. Also in World War II virtually all of Europe had to be rebuilt. Not just the infrastructure but all of the structure. I know we live in the instant satisfaction world but lets not forget that it doesn't work that way in war. I usually finding myself more discouraged with my Government when it does nothing in the face of its enemies than when it takes action. When Somali thugs dragged the bodies of dead US Soldiers through the streets we should have made an example of them. Instead we did nothing. Action like that lead directly to 911. I believe that the ONLY way to ensure our freedom is to have a military so powerful that the dicatators of the world dare not tempt us. For wanting a truly strong National Defense would you call me an Ideologue or an Extremist??

As with Brian's discussion on Room for Moderate Voices I believe the real question is: Why don't the moderates stop trying to ask the conservatives to Stop being conservatives? I have no problems with Moderates in the party but it seems the moderates want to silence the conservatives. I'm very sorry if the passionately held beliefs interfere with your world view. I'm sorry if they don't fit into your idea of how to game the political system. The fact is that the US Political System is broken for that very reason. The true beliefs of the people no longer come to the front. Instead you've got two sides of the coin just trying to play a game. Some of you have been close to Washington for TOO LONG.

I also do not think we have a problem with Party Loyalty. If we did McCain wouldn't have gotten ANY votes. He certainly didn't get the middle which was where his policies have always claimed to be. At least until he wanted to look like a Reagan Conservative. We all swallowed hard and voted for him knowing he was the lesser of two "Big Government" evils.
Brad,

You have my very best wishes for the best outcome possible. no matter what choice you and your wife make in this most difficult situation.

Brad Smith said:
Peter Sperry said:
It has been interesting reading the direction this discussion has taken. I notice for example that all of the comments have related to the first point I made regarding ideology. Yes it is important but so are the other two points regarding party loyalty and campaign organization. Many of us fail to appreciate the importance of these two issues. It is much easier to reach an ideological accomadation with someone in the nominating or platform development process if you trust them.

Well said. I, like others here, count myself a proud member of The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. However, to paraphrase Reagan, someone who agrees with me 80% of the time is my friend, not my 20% enemy. I think the takeaway from this thread is that we have to be willing to build coalitions and welcome segments that may not agree with us on 100% of the issues.

I'll relate a personal example. My wife and I are going through a difficult pregnancy. We recently went in for a series of tests and were informed that our son has a heart defect that will require open-heart surgery within the first three months of being born. He also has a rare brain malformation that will almost certainly result in some neurological difficulties. The doctors give him about a 1 in 3 shot.

We were completely taken aback by the counselling we received. Predictably, the "genetic counsellors" put the option of early termination front and center. They had some fairly clever arguments about how open-heart surgery on a three month old would constitute pain and suffering, and that coupled with the brain malformation would likely mean that his quality of life would be poor. Admittedly these arguments gave us pause. Now, I'm an Evangelical, and I believe that life and liberty are granted to us by our Creator, and that no man has the right to take those away. Thus, it wasn't our decision to make - it's in God's hands.

I realized some important thigs that day. First, it's easy to talk about being pro-life on the internet. I consider myself to be strong in my faith, and even I hesitated when presented with such a grim prognosis. Until you're actually faced with that sort of decision, it's easy to make black and white declarations. Second, I vowed never to be judgemental on the abortion issue again. As Christians, we believe in the will of God, but I can easily see how someone not of my faith persuasion would think otherwise.

I suppose the moral of my post is this - let's not forget who our true enemy is. They are the statists, the 20% who self identify as "progressive" and seek only power and dominion over the rest of us. They are the same people who believe that our Constitution is an outmoded document and seek to remake and "level" our social fabric in their own image. There can be no "reaching across the aisle" to these types. Rather, we should be spending every waking moment figuring out how to grind their bones to dust.

But let's not tear each other apart on stuff like the triggerman rule.....
Brian,

"No, they get to choose between a center-left party and a center-right party. The fact that both parties include individuals you disagree with doesn't make either stupid or crazy."

When I listen to what Democrats say and see what they do I am compelled to conclude that they are either aliens from Saturn or crazy. I have no supporting evidence of aliens from Saturn. If Republicans wern't stupid, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

"Not all of them are liberals. There are many who are moderates, just like Republican moderates. They don't agree with everything the party does or says - many are pro-gun rights, some are liberal on social issues issues and national security but conservative on fiscal issues."

Again, it does not matter where you put them on a political scale. They have voted for and support liberal Democrat candidates and policies. Have you not noticed, as I have, a great divide between the personal beliefs of many Democrats and their voting preferences? Nearly every one of them that I have encountered in my personal life are as conservative as anyone here...until they enter the voting booth. I think you counsel gaining their support by positioning the Repbulican Paraty in opposition to their personal beliefs instead of promoting the conservative principles that we share. Your approach is to take the party toward them and I argue to bring them to the party.

"The Iraq war and the divisive social policies..."

What "divisive social policies"?

"...that we employed to win in 2004 have driven a large number of independents and moderates who generally leaned Republican and voted Republican into the hands of the Democrats. That doesn't make them liberal, and it doesn't make them stupid. Again, everyone who disagrees with your world view isn't stupid. They just see things differently."

Again, it doesn't matter if they're liberal, conservative, confused, stupid or crazy. It only matters that they voted for liberal Democrats and to this day support liberal Democrat policies.

"I have no idea what "gimblebabble" is, because it's a made up word - which seems to be your go-to rhetorical advice when you can't articulate a legitimate disagreement with something I've written."

"Gimblebabble" is a nonsense word used as an exclamation when encountering nonsense. It's a great word as it allows the writer to avoid an exclamation that might be considered inappropriate.

"We have a rump because many in the middle have been driven out of the party - either because of President Bush..."

Bush was too conservative?

"...or because of local leaders who prefer ideological purity."

What is "idealogical purity". I hope it isn't a token for abortion.

"This party has already "embraced" conservatism. It is the de jure ideology of the party. The fact that some of our elected officials have failed to put into practice well does not mean that the rank and file Republican does not tend to be conservative."

In context, am I to undestand; 1) The rank and file are conservative. 2) Elected Republicans have failed to put conservativism into practice. 3) The strategy is to move the party toward the middle instead of moving the middle to the party. Have I got it?

"If there is anything that is "gimblebabble" it is this. Both sides were to blame for the financial crisis..."

Wrong. It's not a financial crisis, it's a political scandal that created a financial crisis, the Democrats created it and the Republicans failed to stop it.

"...and McCain and the rest of the party did as much as they could to point out where the Democrats' failures led to the crisis."

I totally disagree. As events unfolded I watched every minute and found the response timid, lame, infrequent and almost apologetic. Repbulicans were handed the issue of our time and blew it. The result is that today's Havana is the model for American cities of the future.

"Eight years of Republican rule was enough for the American people, and I don't think there was any candidate who could have won that election."

Again, I totally disagree with this ass/essment. When you're 60 years old and your 401k has lost a third of it's value and your home is worth 20% less today than yesterday, and the government is pushing pallets of $1,000 bills out of the holds of C5A's circling over Wall Street, it's a game changer. That plugged in Republicans don't recognize that is a shame.

"So, instead of lamenting our loss and griping that Obama is causing the country to commit "national suicide,"...

Name a national policy that is not suicidal for the country. Just name one.

"...people like Peter and I are focusing on what we need to do in order to counteract the damage and ensure Republicans win in the next round of elections so that we can begin the work of undoing the damage the Democrats will inevitably do over the next four years."

And people like me are trying to tell you that if you do what you've done, you'll get what you've got. Listen.

"Please. There was plenty of action on the conservative agenda in a variety of places."

Escaped my notice. What were they?

"You keep speaking about "Congressional reform" but I have yet to see you define what exactly you think needs to be reformed and how. And I hope that what you propose is actually feasible, and not some wholesale rewriting of the Constitution that is just a waste of time and energy because it will never be passed."

Sorry. I didn't realize that a conversation about Republican ideology require me to write an essay about the corruption of Congress and propose solutions to solve everything. Since Congress operates according to the rules it makes for itself, reforming Congress requires two things at minimum; an educated electorate and an conservative majority. A conservative majority to pass chages and an educated electorate to keep those changes in place. This is too big an issue to go into in detail here but suffice to say for now that reforms are needed in selection of commttee chairmanships, appropriations and ethics.

"That's true. But we won majorities in the Senate multiple times in that period, and we won the White House 5 times. It isn't like we've been completely in the wilderness like we are now for 45 years."

A year ago I made this same observation and warned that if the Democrats got away with blaming Bush, Republican deregulation, unbridled capitalism, etc., etc., etc., that the election would be lost and just as people equate the Great Depression with Hoover and Republicans, they would equate this calamity with Bush and Republicans. "History isn't one damn thing after another, it's that same damn thing over and over."

Yes, it is a choice, but it is a choice that most politicians are forced to make in order to win the nomination and then to be elected."

George H. W. Bush had 20-30% support before the Gulf War. When the war was won, he had 90%. That's leadership.

"This is one of the concerns I have with the way the system works today. In Virginia, to win a convention nominating contest, you need to persuade the party activists, many of whom are far more conservative than the overall population, to nominate you to run. The arguments and policy ideas that you advocating to them are necessarily going to be more conservative, and may not play well with the entire electorate. So candidates have to push to the right to be nominated, and then moderate in order to be electable - especially in majority-Democratic areas, where the party seems to be even more conservative, which is odd."

I do not understand and I really want to understand how it is, exactly, that promoting liberty, opportunity and justice don't play well with the entire electorate. I don't get it and I don't believe that's the problem. Instead, I propose for your consideration, that the problem is in relating policy ideas and arguments to the principles of liberty, opportunity and justice. Where am I wrong?

"Then let him talk about those issues in those races."

What issues? Abortion again? I am so sick of hearing about it...

"We don't need to simply keep elevating any candidate if he's not a good fit for the next rung office. For example, a pro-choice Republican can't do any damage on the abortion issue if she's elected to be a school board member, but she could do some damage as a Senator. There's no reason to keep her from running for school board simply because she has a view that differs from most on an issue she'll never see at that level."

I see this point and I appreciate it. You'd have a compelling argument if school boards were about reading, writing and ciphering. Unfortunately, school boards are often about anything but "education." What happens when controbversial social and cultural issues invade the school board either from within, from without or by federal mandate?

"Like I said before, I'm not interested in labeling. The only label I am willing to embrace, if only for expediency sake, is Republican. But I would probably fit under your definition of a 'Constitutionalist,' given my stance on constitutional interpretation."

I am gratified.

Believing that the Constitution says what it says without strained interpretations by a Supreme Court desiring to rewrite the fabric of American society doesn't make you a right-wing extremist, in my opinion. It makes you a rational patriot.

Thank you. I'm not entire confident that I deserve that title, but I'll take it.
Mark- I disagree that the Iraq War was efficient at some points. When we moved in and gained the foothold, we did not stop the tremendous looting that happened, and we did not stay in areas we had taken to insure that it didn't revert back to violence. I fault Bush and Rumsfeld for trying to conduct a war on the cheap with soldiers, equipment and money. I do understand that Clinton left our military and Defense gutted, in order to put funds into his Liberal programs. It wasn't until Gen. Petraeus took over that the war started turning around in our favor. Let's hope he will be allowed to have a say in the current situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I would not bank on that as I remember Hillary saying it took a "willing suspension of disbelief" to listen to what he had to say. Hopefully, if the Republicans can ever win the Whitehouse again, he would be my number one pick for Defense Secretary, even though he has said he has no aspirations to be in Washington, in any other capaicity other than as a military man.

I agree whole heartedly that America should have the best, strongest and most awsome military in the world, which it has been, other than when Clinton stripped it to the bones, and Obama will be doing the same. As Reagan said, "talk softly, but carry a big stick." China is building a vast military, an is funding their weapons and equipment needs. Under Obama, we are defunding our military and equipment needs, expecially at a time of increasing problems in Afghanistan, and a risk of Pakistan (a nuclear country) falling into the hands of the Taliban. And, he is appologizing to the world because the United States has been a very bad country- after all he was still a small child when we did our terrible deeds.

And, yes, I also have no problems with Moderates being in the party either, just so long as they vote Republican, and, don't run for elected office. I have read all of the comments here on this thread, and, the Moderates have said everything they can to try to change the minds of Conservatives. Conservatives don't need to be schooled or scolded for standing with their principles, no matter where they are standing. I especially like the comment that the parties are made up of a majority of center left and center right people. I ask then- Why are the far left Liberals running the show, if the left has a majority of "center left" voters? And, if a majority of the Republicans are center right, then why can't Republicans win a post for Dog Catcher? Reagan didn't believe in pale colors, but, rather bold and bright colors, so there was a distinct difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, not one just being a lighter version of the other. The message should be clear- this is what the Republican Party stands for, with respect to the party platforms both state and national, if you agree with the positions on most of the issues, then we are the party for you, but, the Moderates need to stop trying to pull the Conservatives farther to the center, and also need to stop trying to change the platform to conform to their beliefs.

Brad- I am sorry for your current situation, and, I join George in hoping for the best outcome possible.

Mark Collins said:
I've got a better question Peter.

I believe in most of what you said but do NOT believe in embryonic stem cell research. I'll go a step further. I DO NOT believe we should be creating and storing human embryos for ANY reason. I believe that embryonic stem cell reasearch is only one very small step away from experimentation on disabled or dying humans. I see no reason why we allow humans to be created only to be held in the embryonic state so that someone who cannot have children of there own can inject one into them. I find it disgusting and an abuse of human life. I believe that my view is the morally and ethically correct view. At the very least I believe that since a large portion of the country agrees with me we should not put taxpayer dollars towards this medical fallacy. Don't forget that no one was stopping private money from going to this program. If stem cells were indeed promise of the future plenty of private funding would have been doing it. Does this view make me an EXTREMIST or just a little bit more conservative than you.

I believe that the war in Iraq was executed with conciencious efficiency. In World War II we lost more men in 1 day than we did in the entire Iraq war to date. Also in World War II virtually all of Europe had to be rebuilt. Not just the infrastructure but all of the structure. I know we live in the instant satisfaction world but lets not forget that it doesn't work that way in war. I usually finding myself more discouraged with my Government when it does nothing in the face of its enemies than when it takes action. When Somali thugs dragged the bodies of dead US Soldiers through the streets we should have made an example of them. Instead we did nothing. Action like that lead directly to 911. I believe that the ONLY way to ensure our freedom is to have a military so powerful that the dicatators of the world dare not tempt us. For wanting a truly strong National Defense would you call me an Ideologue or an Extremist??

As with Brian's discussion on Room for Moderate Voices I believe the real question is: Why don't the moderates stop trying to ask the conservatives to Stop being conservatives? I have no problems with Moderates in the party but it seems the moderates want to silence the conservatives. I'm very sorry if the passionately held beliefs interfere with your world view. I'm sorry if they don't fit into your idea of how to game the political system. The fact is that the US Political System is broken for that very reason. The true beliefs of the people no longer come to the front. Instead you've got two sides of the coin just trying to play a game. Some of you have been close to Washington for TOO LONG.

I also do not think we have a problem with Party Loyalty. If we did McCain wouldn't have gotten ANY votes. He certainly didn't get the middle which was where his policies have always claimed to be. At least until he wanted to look like a Reagan Conservative. We all swallowed hard and voted for him knowing he was the lesser of two "Big Government" evils.
Peter,

Your original post touched on three issues; Ideology, discipline and organization. My, by now boorishly labored point, is that you will not get discipline (loyalty) or the support for organization without getting the ideology right first. So as not to be misunderstood, I do not use the word "ideology" as a token for (omg) abortion. I mean ideology as a complete set of fundamental beliefs based on mutually supporting principles. The principles and the ideology must have integrity, which is to say that they must not contradict one another and must support one another.

You cannot get orgainzation without discipline. You cannot get anyone to be disciplined unless they have loyalty. You cannot get loyalty to an ideology that people don't believe in. You cannot get people to belive in an ideology unless the principles that support it are accepted.

At the root, the Democrat party has one principle called the government, the State, the collective.

I believe that freedom is better than slavery, I appreciate opportunity over fear of insecurity and I value justice over "fairness". I believe in keeping my word and in honoring a contract. The Constitution is the contract between the people and their government. I want a government that honors that contract. Where I probably part company with most is that I don't want the government to do things. I want the government to stop doing things and undo much of what it has done because everything government does makes matters worse by limiting my freedom and opportunity and denying me justice.

The question I have is, why does the Republican Party deserve my loyalty?

Peter Sperry said:
It has been interesting reading the direction this discussion has taken. I notice for example that all of the comments have related to the first point I made regarding ideology. Yes it is important but so are the other two points regarding party loyalty and campaign organization. Many of us fail to appreciate the importance of these two issues. It is much easier to reach an ideological accomadation with someone in the nominating or platform development process if you trust them. And runnign stupid campaigns hurts everyone.

I've often felt that much of our "ideological" divisions in Virginia were more reflective of the fact that Conservatives felt moderates were not holding up thier end of the bargain in terms of supporting candidates and moderates felt conservatives were deliberately forcing the party and its candidates to take public positions even the conservatives knew would result in defeat at the polls. So would the more doctrinaire ideologues be more willing to tone down the rhetoric if the moderates were more supportive of conservative candidates and would the moderates be willing to provide that support?

And can we please get RPVA to hire some campaign managers who do not start micro-targeting in April?!
I'll grant you Sandy that the war was not run perfectly. Still, there has not been another war in human history of that size and complexity that was fought with fewer casualties and property damage. It's war so there will be things after the fact that you look at and decide you could have done better. But those who accept that the war was run with some kind of incompetence are grossly underestimating the effectiveness of our forces. That fact that we allowed the war to be portrayed that way, including misleading comments from certain US Senators about our defeat, shows the inability of the party to work an effective PR campaign. I understand the media is against us, but it seems that even our politicians refuse to stand up and tell it like it is. The financial crisis was another prime example of this as George has stated.
This analysis is spot on even if I have disagreements with Your take on Social issues, However I am perfectly comfortable with moderate GOP candidates if they are in areas that are unwinnable for Conservatives. (Alexandria and Arlington)
Another misconception Brian is that conservatives won't vote for moderate candidates. Clearly that have been voting for them right along. The problem is the conception that somehow a center right republican has a better chance at gaining the moderate vote. Of course this is the case in some areas and not so in others.

Nationally we have seen time and again that if one considers themselves a moderate democrat they are not going to vote for a moderate republican. Why change sides when you disagree with the social stances of both candidates. Certainly those democrats that are social conservatives (New England Catholics and Pro Union Democrats for instance) are more likely to switch sides for a conservative as we saw with Reagan. Many have been Democrats since Roosevelt. That had more to do with WWII and his Pro Union Stances than anything else. We now seem to have gone astray in thinking that gaining the middle happens by dropping social issues. I believe you have it all wrong. I'll grant that you've been at this a long time and I could be misreading this but that's how I see it. Many of the seats we lost we lost to social conservative Democrats.

So before primaries staunch conservatives hoot an holler about trying to get more conservative candidates. In the general elections we see conservatives vote for the Republican by and large then try to sway his/her opinions once in office. All I see here is a pattern of conservatives standing for their principles AND their party. Somehow this is taken as conservatives being intolerant of moderates.

To be principled is to be intolerant. God was not tolerant and does not expect us to be. "For the wages of sin is Death". Does that seem tolerant.

"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.: Mathew 7:14

Should I complain to God because he is not a "Big Tent God" and only gave us one path to heaven.

My point here is NOT to inject religion into politics, rather to show the basis behind a principled person. We fight for our principles, vote for the candidate closest to them (usually the republican) then try to convince that person to get even closer to our principles. If I happened to live in NOVA I would still have the same principles. I would not change MY principles because they don't win there. I would simply be in the minority. I would still vote republican unless the candidate was unprincipled, and I would still speak my mind loudly.

You seem to want us not only to accept moderates candidates, but to be quiet in doing so as to not offend liberals we may sway. I'm sorry I just can't do that.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter disclosed plans Tuesday to switch parties, a move intended to boost his chances of winning re-election next year that will also push Democrats closer to a 60-vote filibuster-resistant majority.
"I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans," Specter said in a statement posted on a Web site devoted to Pennsylvania politics and confirmed by his office. Several Senate officials said a formal announcement could come later in the day or Wednesday.
I believe that Senator Specter has proven what we all have been discussing. A RINO is a RINO. They call themselves Republicans, but it is their loyalty and not ours that should be questioned.

I don't see how this immediately helps either side. If by changing Specter makes the Dems Filibuster proof then that shows that they were filibuster proof already. If he is willing to change all of his stances now to suit his newly adopted party then he is so shallow what party would want him. I believe that if we position ourselves right that should be a seat we can win.

What other of the Rino's will soon be willing to change sides to suck on the teet of power? Snow? Collins? Should we continue to support these candidates and just wait for them to turn on us when it suits them.

I say an emphatic NO NO NO a thousand times NO. We need to find more principled candidates...PERIOD. I'm not saying I need to agree with you on everything. I just want to know that your beliefs are based upon Constitutional Principles and not whims. Enough of our candidates that pander to the "middle". That is NOT being principled. Nor is pandering to the Right for that matter. Let me know that you believe what you believe and will ride it WIN OR LOSE. Then I'll know that you'll fight for my party even if it means you'll lose your seat within the party.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

****************************

 

U.S. DEBT CLOCK

****************************

 


 

 

(sales help fund this site)

 

Badge

Loading…

© 2021   Created by Tom Whitmore.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service