Friday, March 8, 2013

GOP: Define the Enemy, not Yourselves

There will be primary fights in both parties. That is the nature of politics and human ambition. If a primary does ensue, it is vital that primary voters rally around the candidate who is electable, not just conservative. National Review Founder and Editor William F. Buckley counseled his peers to balance pragmatism and purpose: “Support the conservative candidate who is the most electable.”

Delaware, 2010: At-large Congressman Mike Castle was a shoo-in for the US Senate. Was he the most conservative candidate? No. Was he the most electable? Absolutely. One Delaware native shared with me that she knew Castle as if he were a close friend. "Close friends" get elected, not just the right talking points.

Then came Christine O'Donnell, a crack-pot politician with a dubious record of suing conservative think-tanks, misusing campaign funds, and misrepresenting her previous campaigns. The issue was never her conservatism, but that she was not fit for office in the first place. Never should one Republican attack another Republican because he or she is too conservative, but based on a record of caring, competence, and character.

The savagery of Republicans attacking each other as "too conservative" or "not conservative enough" puts the GOP on the defense in general elections, or forces winning primary candidates to backtrack toward the center, often at their own peril. In the 2012 President election, Romney tacked to the right for nomination, then wasted time explaining himself and denying previous comments, when he needed to be attacking President Obama. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher understood the crucial importance of defining the debate so as to beat one's opponent. No one can set the parameters for the fight if they are too busy defending themselves.

The GOP needs to stop defining itself and start redefining the Democratic Party apparatus, a coven of entitled corporatists who spend other people's money at the expense of poor, working class, and minority voters, all while "keeping" minorities in the party through a series of lies, insults, and outright race-based peer intimidation. Today’s Los Angeles Times cover story highlights this false disarray among the Republicans. “Senate Debate over Drones Divides Republican Party ” is not the right. Paul's filibuster united conservatives all over the country, while only two US Senator, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, made a "wussy fuss".

The real civil war is taking place in the Democratic Party, with President Obama doing to his party what George W. Bush almost did for the GOP -- destroy the brand. The gun control debate has forced media elites into a corner, like Piers Morgan, who has had his proverbial posterior handed to him many times by Second Amendment advocates. Democrats from conservative states, like Heid
Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, openly oppose
massive gun control constraints.

Even in California, pro-business, pro-reform Democrats (who would feel more at home in the Republican Party, but fear the faltering Democratic machine-chicanery) are breaking ranks with the ill-liberal establishment in Sacramento. State Democratic leaders like Assembly President John Perez cannot intimidate everyone forever. Business interests which have donated to Democratic causes in the past will have nothing to give if they have no business. Like unions, Democratic donors create their own worst enemies once their candidates attain power.

The XL Keystone controversy is exposing another deep division within the Democratic Party. The green lobby wants clean energy, which may also clean out our wallets. Another faction of the green lobby wants to protect nature. They resist green technologies because they disrupt natural habitats.
The "greens" are clashing with the "union lobby", which wants XL Keystone approved, yet unions are losing stock and popularity throughout the Great Lakes states, and even major cities in California. In 2012, union interests crippled traffic and stalled flights out of LAX, hampered trade at the Port of Los Angeles, and brought down the Hostess Brand corporation, along with the Twinkie. The Aviation Safeguard Association broke away from the Service Employees International Union, and now the members of that splintered group make more money. Michigan passed right-to-work legislation, and before that Wisconsin enacted widespread reforms which saved cities and school districts millions. Governor Scott Walker’s reforms were so successful, his recall challenger Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, could not mount a serious challenge to the collective bargaining reforms.

Republicans do not have to agree on everything, and they never will, and it does not matter. The GOP is an ideological coalition of life, liberty, and limited government. The Democratic Party is a coalition of clashing ideologies, in which unionism, gay-rightism, environmentalism, and socialist-progressivism impulses seek power at the expense of the individual, the city, and county leadership.
Republicans should never criticize Republicans for being “too conservative”. The issue must be competence, experience, and electability. Republicans must expose and exploit divisions and dysfunctions in the Democratic Party, defined by incompetence, inexperience, and a faux-electability based on distortions and fear-mongering. Republicans, you have met the enemy, and it's not you: it's the Democratic supermajority of tax and spend, regulate and frustrate. Expose the Dems while expressing yourselves, and let's take back California!

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