An important election looms this November. (Will there ever be an election deemed “unimportant?”) As the election approaches and we prepare for the machinations that accompany an American election year, it’s worth our while to reflect on what is at stake. Continue reading
The concept that the whims of public opinion, the fads of the moment, or the opinions of an ideological opponent should fundamentally alter what a particular political party stands for has always seemed rather odd to me. It is an argument I see trotted out in articles from Left leaning sites on a regular basis. The argument is always, without fail, that the Republican Party needs to become more like the Democratic Party. Yet the reverse is never suggested for consideration. Great “concern” is showed time and time again by often very radical and liberal writers, as well as general media types, that the Republican Party will fade away into oblivion and cease to be relevant if it doesn’t reject the “extremist” factions and beliefs that it currently contains.
As if they really care. Continue reading
For the past 30 years, I have lived the life of a self-described right wing capitalist pig. For the past 16 years, though, I have been living in Mesa County, Colorado – in the center of the Rocky Mountains’ Tea Party stronghold where, as it turns out, I don’t think that I’m conservative enough. Continue reading
By the time you read this, “The Shutdown” may be over, but the first ten days did reveal some things worth noting. In purely random order they include the following:
The conventional wisdom endlessly trumpeted by the “mainstream media” is that the shutdown is a disaster for Republicans. Yet the very fluid first week polls on “Blame” averaged 44% of the people pointing the finger at Republicans, and 35% at Democrats- bad numbers for the GOP, but hardly catastrophic. Continue reading
If conservatives hope for a new generation of activists and voters, go where the youth are, a panel of young conservatives told the Western Conservative Summit Saturday afternoon. Charlie Kirk, a 19-year-old executive director of Turning Point USA, Francesca Chambers of Red Alert Politics, and Jesse Blumenthal of Engage DC agreed that much of recent Continue reading
Building on Friday night’s message of optimism and looking to the future, the morning panel featuring Michael Barone, Guy Benson, and Mary Katherine Ham handicapped the next few election cycles, including important gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia in 2013, as well as the 2014 midterm elections.
Benson opened the discussion noting the possible bellwether battle for governor in Virginia featuring conservative Ken Cuccinelli and his formidable foe, Terry McAuliffe. He contrasted that with New Jersey’s own race where incumbent Republican governor Chris Christie currently holds a sizable lead in his race.
Benson stressed the importance of Colorado’s September recall elections, and pointed to the strength of Republicans in the House midterm elections as positive points moving forward in the next eighteen months.
Ham pivoted to communication challenges with so-called millenials–the under-30 crowd–and the importance of acknowledging social issues, but in a constructive and meaningful way.
Ham noted the divergent views held by young people, who are moving increasingly toward support for same-sex marriage, but who are now supporting bans on late-term abortion in larger numbers. Technology plays a large part in those trends, she said.
“Thinking about which issues work for them and which do not, and the ones that do not we need to not make a barrier to joining us on other issues,” Ham said.
The “giant machinery” of government impedes the ability of government to work well, Ham said, and bridging the gap between younger voters’ expectations of government services with the reality of those services delivered on the ground, might prove a successful avenue of messaging for this important demographic.
Ham described this as “a simpler and more refined government [that] can do the things it promises it is going to do.”
Barone took a different tack, and pushed back against the notion of ownership of the future.
“No one owns the future, you get a chance to rent it,” Barone said, arguing that opportunities for conservatives still exist.
Barone pointed to pundits who have declared a permanent majority for Democrats following the 2012 elections, just eight years after pundits said that Republican successes in 2004 meant control for the GOP for the foreseeable future.
Some of those conclusions, Barone said, have come from demographic numbers that give mixed signals at best, or have been interpreted to suit one’s own conclusions.
Past voting performance was no guarantee of future voting behavior, Barone said, citing the shift of Baby Boomers’ support for George McGovern in 1972 to support for Mitt Romney 40 years later.
“I don’t think that there is anything inevitable,” Barone said. “There are challenges for Republicans but there are also challenges for Democrats.”
For Barone, opportunities could lie in the increasing libertarianism of younger voters on issues like gun rights.
Republican efforts to make college more affordable, said Ham, also makes sense in light of concerns over greater student debt due to spiraling college costs.
Ham, who is expecting her first child in August, joined the panel via Skype.
(‘76 Contributor) Bipartisanship is greatly overrated as a formula for good government. Every major government boondoggle in recent memory was launched with bipartisan enthusiasm. Bipartisanship has its role in the day–to–day affairs of government. What separates genuine bipartisanship from bogus bipartisanship is one thing: honesty.
In Congress or any state legislature, it is normal for hundreds of bills to be passed with bipartisan support because much of government consists of making adjustments or improvements in ongoing programs that have broad public support. When dealing with the core functions of government, we seldom see sharp divisions along party lines. Continue reading
(’76 Editor) Two important articles published recently, along with a classic from the early Reagan years, remind us how deep and grave are the pathologies threatening American self-government—and map out the fundamental change of thinking we must achieve as conservatives if our country is not to go the way of Rome or Britain.
Contemporary writers Jeff Bergner and Matthew Spalding in recent weeks have echoed the insights of Stan Evans, Bill Buckley’s compatriot in the 1980s, warning that the fateful options we face are to understand the soul of America either as unlimited government seeking a coercive utopia (the liberal or progressive vision), or as limited government wherein freely choosing individuals can order their own lives (the Founders’ vision). Continue reading