11.01.2008 0

Editorial: The GOPs Defining Moment

  • On: 11/05/2008 14:08:41
  • In: Conservative Movement
  • The Republican Party needs to come to terms with itself, if it intends to come to grips with the American people. Tuesday’s debacle proved anew that the GOP of Ronald Reagan is now nothing more than a distant memory. And the truth is, the farther it removes itself from those former days of stalwart stands, the further its fortunes will likely decline. And rightly so.

    The Democratic Party, on the other hand, for better or worse, leaves no doubt as to where it stands on its guiding principles, its willingness to run on (instead of away from) them, and its unequivocal determination to bring them to fruition. Like it or not – and the majority of Americans clearly do – President-Elect Barack Obama established himself as the most liberal of liberals, with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi standing proudly at the same end of the ideological continuum. And, they carried the day.

    Now, the GOP has to make a decision. It has arrived at its Defining Moment. Is it going to continue operating under the dome of the Big Tent, trying to be all things to all people, pleasing few and offending many? Or, is it going to reign in the rogue elephants and once again return to its base?

    The fact is, the defeat of John McCain was not the people’s judgment on the conservative cause. It was, at least in part, the people’s judgment on Mr. McCain’s tepid brand of Democratic Republicanism. John McCain, for better or worse, is a moderate liberal. That is what he has lived as. That is what he ran as. That is what he lost as. And if the Republicans continue to undercut their conservative base by running tepid moderates, while the Democrats continue to reinforce theirs by running true liberals, the Grand Old Party may one day in the not-too-distant future find itself the Gone Old Party.

    The alternative is to return to their Reagan roots. Will it work? In every state (except, of course, Taxachusetts) where a tax referendum was on the ballot, tax cuts carried the day. In the three states where gay marriage was on the ballot, it was banned. And, perhaps most significantly, in the one state and four localities where term limits were on the ballot, the people in their wisdom told the politicians “don’t quit your day jobs.”

    Some 50 years ago, when faint-hearted Democrats were convinced that the only way to beat a Republican was to act like one, the plain-spoken Harry Truman advised, “Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.” On November 4, the GOP should have learned the lesson that the converse is also true. Otherwise, the nation will continue to be saddled with two-party elections—and one-party rule.


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