Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What a mess

The Republican Party is in tatters. The coalition scrapped together by Reagan is dissolving, and many fingers are pointing. Some secularists blame the social conservatives for the ills of conservative movement, while social conservatives are themselves splintered. The Palin wing of the Party has attracted some social cons, but certainly not all of them. A new, more moderate social conservative movement is growing in America--perhaps we could call it the Party of Sam's Club, as Tim Pawlenty did years ago, and Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam echoed in the Weakly Standard.

In any case, fingers are pointing. They will continue to do so. Both Douthat and Dreher think that placing the blame on the social conservatives is foolish.

Douthat does have some criticism though:
No, social conservatives aren't the problem for the GOP. But they haven't been the solution, either: Too often, on matters ranging from the Iraq War to domestic policy, they've served as enablers of Republican folly, rather than as constructive critics. And calling Catholics who voted for Obama "mindless" and "stupid" is a poor substitute for building the sort of Republican Party that can attract the votes of those millions of Americans, Catholic and otherwise, who voted for the Democrats because they thought, not without reason, that George W. Bush was a disastrous president whose party should not be rewarded with a third term in the White House.
Good point. I'd say, exactly the point.

I would also like to add that there needs to be some self-examination infused into the populist wing of the GOP. I think the notion of Sam's Club Republicans does a good job to address this. I've read recently some pieces on Huckabee vs Palin, and how they're really not so different. People seem to think that basically because their politics are similar that the candidates themselves are somehow similar--or equal.

I would have to vehemently disagree. First of all, Huckabee was more experienced, certainly smarter or at least better spoken, but most importantly he was very, very likeable. He was the sort of person who, I believe, could have lead this nation as a whole despite political differences. He has some of Obama's charisma that can transcend political boundaries.

Palin does not, nor will she ever. Her tone from the beginning was acerbic and divisive--exactly what this country does not need. She did not come across as very wise, but rather very ambitious. Bobby Jindal, who vocally said he would not consider a VP slot and wanted to finish the job he started in Louisiana, exhibited wisdom. Palin...well, not so much.

So who will Social Conservatives support next time? As a group, will they exhibit wisdom? We shall see...


Anonymous said...

Great read, E.D. I do wish you could've met Palin. Something about her doesn't translate well over the airwaves. Of course, she'll need to work on that. We'll see where she takes herself over the next four years. Of course, I <3ed Huckabee in the primaries, so I cannot disagree with you on your compliments; however, I do wonder (as I did then) how electable he is. Jindal is a looker. I'll have to also look into Pawlenty's initiatives.

I didn't notice Catholics being singled out for criticism over voting democrat; but, I may simply have missed it.


E.D. Kain said...

Thanks, Ellie...