What is the Republican message?

It’s pretty clear that Republicans are in deep trouble this year.  Gas prices are crushing the economy.  Housing prices are plummeting.  The stock market has lost 20% of its value.  Not surprisingly, Bush’s approval ratings drag along at record lows.  Most people are not self-identifying as Republicans.   The Democrats are energized behind an historic candidate.  Despite recent successes the Iraq War is not popular.  Not only are Republicans likely to lose the White House, they appear ready to lose many seats in the House and Senate.  And, of course, this has vast implications for the Supreme Court as well.  Picture Stevens and Kennedy or Ginsberg replaced by young, energetic liberals and imagine the decisions we’ll get.  The Court will be lost to conservatives for many, many years.

So, how do Republicans derail the Democrat freight train?  What issues will resonate with the American voters?  What solutions can Republicans offer that will so appeal to the middle-of-the-road voters that they will resist the temptation to make history by electing Obama and sweep in a Democrat Congress on his coattails?

I have a few ideas, but, I fear, not nearly enough to make the difference.  So let’s put our heads together and see what we can come up with.  By the way, I’d especially appreciate comments by non-Republicans as to what it would take to result in their voting for Republican candidates.

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Comments

  1. gkong3 says

    Being of conservative bent but not American…

    1. Lowered and simplified taxes. Means-testing for all welfare/social security initiatives.

    2. Reduced government interference in my life. (It has to be pitched that way)

    3. Colour blindness in the government, at least.

    4. Unashamed patriotism.

    5. Track record, man.

    6. Safety First!

    7. Family friendliness. Really.

    That would be a start, I think.

  2. Ymarsakar says

    Americans are like Arabs in this instance. We only back the Strong horse, and the Democrats have made the Republicans out to be sufficient weak. What else do you call people that go to the UN, wait, use diplomacy, listen to Democrat complaints, and tolerate treason and sabotage in the highest levels of government without striking back?

  3. Ymarsakar says

    Concerning oil, the Democrats have created a very nice Catch 22.

    By convincing Americans that Big Oil is to blame for such things, they have been able to create support to nationalize Big OIl and regulate them, aka loot them for the people’s benefit.

    Yet the justifications they use for such things is the price of oil, which is going up because of Democrat foreign policies and domestic policies concerning the economy and businesses.

    So what we have is a self-reinforcing loop. The more Americans try to punish and control oil companies, the higher the price of oil will go. The higher the price of oil, the more support for government intervention in business and oil. The more support for Democrat policies in government, the less oil is drilled, the less refineries are built, the less nuclear power plants are constructed to decrease energy prices. The higher the energy prices, the greater the support for Democrat intervention, and so on.

    The more Americans abuse potential friends in Iraq, the higher the instability and the higher the price of oil will be in the future, given that demand is going up by Arabs can’t produce more supply.

    What would help is if Iraq just gave as a gift to America, publicly, some kind of oil reserve and Bush forced the media to cover it for several days in a row to generate buzz and hype and what not.

    That won’t help supply or our refinery capacity, but it will help influence public perception.

  4. Al says

    Hi DQ,
    gkong3 does have a good start, but as Y stated, we need to educate the brainwashed voters if we want to stand a chance of coming out of this November with some of our freedoms left.
    There are people who are afraid of/dislike Obama. Just look at the constant articles on the AT. But fear is not enough to get enough votes. One of the levers, I think, is the price of gas. It should be possible to pry open the public mind on the issue of drilling and refining our own crude, (and creating more high paying jobs) to lower US gas prices. More Americans than ever before want to drill here now.
    More hard data on the actual cooling of the planet is surfacing. If we can demonstrate to enough voters that AlGore is really wrong, that C02 does not in fact cause global warming, and that we had better start weaving more blankets, maybe we can derail the train.
    Al

  5. Danny Lemieux says

    1. Someone who will credibly vow to go after waste in government.
    2. Someone who will credibly vow to reform entitlement programs.
    3) Someone who will credibly vow to secure our borders.
    4) Someone who will credibly vow to empower the less fortunate to help themselves.
    5) Someone who will credibly vow to eliminate earmarks and crack down on corrupt politicians.
    6) Someone who will credibly explain to Americans why nationalized health care will mean substandard, rationed health care and reduced patient survivability, but, at the same time, find a way to make available to Americans affordable catastrophic insurance.

  6. Oldflyer says

    “Vote for us, we aren’t as bad as they are!”

    Oh, you meant a new message. Well, what would you believe right now?

    I will say I sent a very small check to McCain 2008 the other day in response to the 100th urgent mailing from him, simply because you have no complaints if you did not put your money where your mouth is.

  7. Allen says

    1. Cut spending, across the board, by 2% every year for the next 4 years.

    2. Eliminate earmarks.

    3. Build a trans-Canada pipeline from the gas fields in Alaska to the lower 48.

    4. Standardize a reactor design and start construction of one new reactor per month on existing Federal land. The reactors will be operated on a cost plus fee basis by companies with existing expertise.

    5. Begin a phased withdrawl from Iraq, if they’re not ready now they never will be.

    6. Bolster the efforts in Afghanistan.

    7. Press for reform in Mexico with incentives. A Marshall plan for Mexico will help them and us.

    8. Stop the flood of people entering the country illegally. Worry about the other aspects after that is accomplished.

  8. suek says

    First, make it clear that the US Government can do nothing about the price of oil other than removing the prohibitions on drilling within US borders. Make the facts presented below _public_ knowledge. If they can get the Media to print it, that is. And if not, then do weekly talks with graphs.

    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/nationalized-companies-control-95-of-the-oil

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2008/06/who-in-hell-is-behind-5-gas.html

    Other than that, I’m pretty much with Danny and Allen.

    Healthcare and immigration are not going to be McCain’s strong points as a draw for Republicans. That’s kind of his whole problem – he’s closer to Dems than Conservatives on the issues that matter to Conservatives. Nevertheless – he’s still a better choice than Obama, who effectively wants socialism. I’m inclined that Repubs will reluctantly drag themselves to the polls and vote for McCain – I know I will – but there’ll be no joy in it.

  9. suek says

    >>find a way to make available to Americans affordable catastrophic insurance.>>

    This is an idea that just hasn’t been pushed enough. Most families have the resources to take care of the routine medical expenses – and if people paid with cash – as opposed to insurance – medical costs would go down. There are two problems that need to be addressed, though: catastrophic incidents and long term care.
    Catastrophic incidents are self explanatory. In the long term care, I’d include gerontology and terminal care. When my Dad died, he was in the hospital in intensive care for 6 days. There was no hope that he would recover without surgery, and surgery was impossible without a reduction of his tumor. I didn’t inquire about the medications they were giving him – it seemed to me that he was just on life supports. They told me that they expected to successfully reduce the tumor and operate, although it was clear to me that he was dying. Were they lying? overly optimistic If so, why? anyway – his insurance paid the bills which amounted to $60,000 for the 6 days. This was in 1992. They’d probably be half again as much today. Is this a reasonable cost? who decides? I’ve read recently of hospitals that won’t continue life support beyond a certain time frame – 10 days to 2 weeks, I think – if there’s no indication of probably recovery. Is this reasonable? The more effective medicine becomes, the more expensive it becomes, and the problem becomes one of sorting out what expense society is willing to bear in extending life where recovery is unlikely to result. Where do we draw the line between ending life support and euthanasia? Tough questions, and imo, one of the reasons people want health insurance that pays all the expenses – so they don’t have to make those decisions. At some point, though, I think we _must_ address them – as a society.
    I’m sorry – sort of wandered off topic…

  10. Marguerite says

    ‘1. Someone who’d end the war
    2. Someone who’d get health care for all Americans
    3. Someone who’d protect the environment
    4. Someone younger – not just more of the same’

    Gee, now who would that be? Would any particular big-daddy fill the bill, Helen, or did you have a particular father figure (or big brother) in mind to reach in my pocket to fulfill all your dreams??? :-) :-)

  11. Tiresias says

    The first thing they need to do is throw their leadership over the side – yesterday. I couldn’t believe it when in the wake of 2006 they promptly re-elected Trent Lott, et al to the leadership of the party. Roomful of morons?

    I am also at something of a loss to understand why the Republicans are in trouble at all. The Democrat party ought to be the party on the run.

    The Democrats came to office in 2006 with Pelosi yakking about an energy policy, and how she and her pals would handle the whole thing. So two years later – what’s happened with the cost of energy? What’cha done, Nance? Presided over prices going up 150%? This is a recommendation?

    She also came in announcing that people on the minimum wage needed a raise – except of course, as it turned out, those people who work for her husband’s fish processing plants in American Samoa – they didn’t need, and didn’t get, a minimum wage raise. (This is the kind of conflict of interest and generalized BS that the media would make certain would get a Repubican in jail.)

    Speaking of which, Diane Feinstein gets to quietly resign from her committee chairmanship, instead of being put where she belongs: in a cage right down the hall from Randy Cunningham for steering billions – BILLIONS – of dollars worth of government contracts to her husband’s busiinesses.

    Anything you care to name about Harry Reid. He has engaged in shady real estate deals, he has used his office to use your money to build a bridge down the highway from a piece of desert land he stole in Speculum, Nevada; thereby putting up the price of his land by thousands of percent. He wrote off the war on terror, said we couldn’t possibly win in Iraq, lied about and defamed out troops, and generally has the lowest personal rating in the lowest-rated congress in history.

    Congress’s approval rating is a good bit lower than Bush’s: as of today 9% of the American people approve of congress. And who runs that congress? Democrats. And it’s Republicans who are in trouble? Excuse me? Only if they approach it like half-wits. (Not to worry, liberals: they will.)

    The MINUTE Democrats took control in 2006 the price of oil began to rise, the economy began to get shaky, the price of food and basic consumer goods began to rise, the real estate market began to go to hell, the stock market began to stall – and it’s REPUBLICANS who are in trouble? This is like Alice in Wonderland, to me.

    However – what to do? Stop accepting the debate on Democrat terms, and start telling people, loudly and often, who it is who: 1) said we lost in Iraq; 2) is opposed to drilling for more oil; 3) wants to raise taxes – the perfect prescription for an economy perhaps heading for a downturn; 4) is throwing your money at people who screwed up buying houses they couldn’t afford in the belief that they’d be worth more tomorrow (we call these people “speculators,” do we not? I mean, when they hope that a barrel of oil will cost more tomorrow than it does today) than it is today – and were wrong; 5) wants to control us to the point where we’re told what kind of lightbulb we can buy; 6) is led by two crooks, Pelosi and Reid; 7) and is a party that basically seems to want the demise of the American capitalist system, and works to undermine that system; 8) lied about and defamed the American military; 9) routinely opposes people who have actually read the Constitution for judgeships; 10) is solely responsible for the state of American education.

    I don’t understand how, with the record of the last two years, there are any democrats left. And their presidential candidate tells us that we shouldn’t drill for oil, it wouldn’t do any good “now.” Well hell, Barry – why go to college? Why go to law school? Neither of those will do you any good “now.”

    All the Republicans need to do is SAY this stuff – often!

  12. suek says

    >>All the Republicans need to do is SAY this stuff – often!>>

    Medved commented this afternoon that McCain had given an excellent speech Saturday on his economic plan … have you seen a report on it? ANYWHERE? The MSM – dead tree and tv both – is just plain ignoring most of everything the Repubs are doing. _How_ are they supposed to get the word out?

  13. says

    Interesting comment, all.

    Helen, I had to laugh out loud when I read yours. My Congressman is Pete Stark and, man, would I love to have “someone younger — not just more of the same” replace him! I’d love to see it happen to Justice Stevens, too!

    Personally, I don’t think the usual lines — cut taxes; cut spending across the board; eliminate waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse; etc. — will work at all this time around.

    I like a lot the idea of featuring the need for off-shore drilling, nuclear reactors and other steps to produce more energy in American. But American politicians have been promising energy independence for 35 years and done nothing but make matters worse. Sooner or later, the American public is going to get fed up with having their economy ruined by outsiders and take matters into our own hands by actually taking serious steps toward energy independence. Maybe the destruction of our economy wrought by the oil price explosion will Anger Americans enough to do the trick. If not, it’s hard to imagine what will.

    I also like the idea of catastrophic health insurance, but only if it is explained and viewed as a decent thing for a decent society to do — not as a right and not as a stepping stone to full socialized health insurance.

    Helen is right that most American want someone to end the war, so the question is whether Republicans can persuade Americans that it matters on what terms and under what conditions the war ends. Or do most Americans really want the abject surrender that Helen advocates? I honestly don’t know. Helen may be right about what Americans want in this area.

    Helen is probably also right about most Americans wanting some form of national health care, no matter how terrible that care is and no matter how thoroughly the government is guaranteed to mess it up. I don’t know what Republicans can say that will attract votes without giving into a really bad idea that the American voters seem to have embraced.

    I think Helen is wrong about protecting the environment, if by that she means preventing America from producing the energy it needs to grow and prosper. But Republicans need to emphasize reasonable protections for the environment so long as they are consistent with the health of the American economy.

    As for the Republicans being under-reported, that’s probably true, but no wonder. McCain is not exciting. He doesn’t even excite his own party’s voters. Obama, on the other hand, is historic. He makes news just by existing, being who he is and being nominated for President. Fortunately for Republicans, I guess, most of the news he’s been making lately is negative, which, from the media’s standpoint, makes him more newsworthy, of course. The media loves negative news.

    Republicans can get the message out at their convention and through advertisements of course. They also need to learn how better to work the media, with interesting stories, photo ops and things that an objective media person (yes, there are some) would think might interest and entertain (yes, entertainment value is crucial) the American public.

    Most importantly, grass roots efforts are critical. Bush won because of grass roots, largely from the religious right, efforts on his behalf. The Democrats lost largely because their candidates did not inspire their grass roots. This time the matter is reversed. The Democrats are inspired by Obama. The Republicans are grudgingly supporting McCain and, I fear, will not work for him nearly as hard as they worked for Bush. I’m afraid this will make all the difference in the end.

    One comment to Tiresias. Blaming the run up in oil prices from the minute the Democrats took over Congress on those Democrats is a little like blaming Bush for 9/11. The seeds for the oil price explosion were planted long before 2006. However, Republicans can exploit the terrible ideas, largely supported by Democrats, that caused the problem (rejection of off-shore drilling and exploration, nuclear power, proper exploitation of oil shale and coal, etc., etc.) The simple truth is that while all politicians claim to be for American energy independence, the Democrats have been the biggest supporters of the very legislation that has made that independence impossible.

    Please continue to post your ideas. I have a feeling we are a long way from putting together a winning platform.

  14. Tiresias says

    Oh no, Don – don’t misunderstand. I absolutely agree with you, but we’re not talking about convincing reasonable, reasoned, or necessarily thoughtful people. We’re talking about convincing the American voter, for whom facts tend to matter a lot less than presentation. You know, the President always gets the credit, or blame, for the economy – and, in any direct sense, they have about as much to do with it as your cat. Reality rarely enters into it.

    Certainly the run-up in oil prices began – or at least had the seeds sown – long before 2006. But it should also be pointed out – often – that Nancy Pelosi made doing something about oil prices a big selling point for the mid-terms in 2006. She put herself and her party squarely on ground zero and invited the republicans to drop a bomb on her head. I think they should damn well do so.

    And possibly you don’t remember how hard many a democrat did in fact try to blame the “frat-boy” for 9/11!

    But I’m willing to keep it less pointed, and more on a par with what you say. Point out, as often as it takes, that it is the democrats who have rendered it next to impossible for us to do anything about it.

    And geniuses like Schumer and Obama with their repeated mantra of “drilling for oil won’t do anything to help us now” should be held up as the fat targets they’ve made of themselves.

    Perception will outweigh reality every time, and this is the most hated congress in the history of the country. Well, who’s in charge?

  15. says

    Off-shore drilling sounds good. But the Outer Banks are already in danger. Destroy California, if you’re hell-bent on drilling off-shore. It’s always sliding downhill or on fire anyway. :-)

    I know the arguments against universal health care. And I read Danny’s comment, “Someone who will credibly explain to Americans why nationalized health care will mean substandard, rationed health care and reduced patient survivability. . . .”

    But what about a poor person with a sick elderly parent? Do we just say, “Tough situation, man.. Should have worked harder. Better luck with your next dad.”? How does actual people figure in.

  16. says

    Hi Helen,

    Which people, the ones paying or the ones mooching off of the payers? Why are we talking to the poor person? Why aren’t we talking to the elderly Dad? He’s had a whole lifetime to prepare for his elderly years. Why didn’t he prepare for his old age? Anyway, we tell him he has what he has put aside all those years, plus whatever “medigap”insurance he has been prudent enough to keep, plus Medicare, plus Medicaid, plus what his family can do for him, plus charity (the real kind, not the forced by government stealing people’s money kind) and, possibly, the catastrophic health insurance discussed above.

    When I was young I donated every year to my local public television station. It was a worthy cause. The day they started taking my tax dollars is the day I swore never to make another donation. I was already paying through my taxes. I think you’d be amazed at how willing people are to meet real needs when they are not coerced to do so.

    I live in California and I’d welcome off-shore drilling. It would provide badly needed oil, and would not in any way destroy California. I know you are speaking lightly, but, really, you’re right. It would do far less damage than earthquakes and fires.

  17. gkong3 says

    DQ: Yeah, I hearya. This is why I said it has to be pitched a certain way, see?

    Let’s take Helen’s points one at a time, for example. And let’s add nuance to them, and spin them the right way.

    1. Someone who’d end the war

    Yes, by all means, end the war. But what does that mean? Does that mean giving up, declaring we lost and come back with our tail between our legs? Or does that mean declaring we won, and as we accomplish each objective we scale our involvement back until the Iraqis can handle the job themselves, and we just have a few military bases scattered around the place like there are just about everywhere?

    2. Someone who’d get health care for all Americans

    … who are willing to pay, or somehow compensate for it. I am no libertarian to insist that government get out of the entire process; have a tiered system if necessary for all of me.

    Ever heard of medical tourism? If you can’t afford to have yourself treated in the US, go to Thailand. World-class medical facilities at a third or less the price, and you get to see the world too!

    3. Someone who’d protect the environment

    Yes, indeed. Especially the business and free market environment. Most important.

    Oh, you meant the ecosystem! Oh, that’s different. Life will find a way. Let Darwin sort the problems out. MOst importantly, trust in the power of property rights.

    4. Someone younger – not just more of the same

    Age is becoming less and less a problem; our lifespans are increasing all the time. But do you want someone without relevant executive experience in just about any field to become President? Especially in a field where he and he alone is accountable for the actions of those under him?

    I agree, this election, it’s going to be about marketing. Which is why it’s a shame Mrs McCain isn’t lending him any of her advertising and marketing people. (Or if she is, she needs to fire the whole lot of ‘em).

  18. Danny Lemieux says

    Tiresias says, “The first thing they need to do is throw their leadership over the side – yesterday. I couldn’t believe it when in the wake of 2006 they promptly re-elected Trent Lott, et al to the leadership of the party. Roomful of morons?”

    Tiresias is onto something! I am one of many conservatives who felt absolutely betrayed by the Republican congress. In the end, they showed themselves to be no different that Democrat hogs at the trough. But then, I live in Illinois and that is pretty much the situation here.

    If McCain and the “clean” Republican leadership in Congress would take the lead and openly break with that past (dump Trent Lott overboard, no life jacket) by committing to severely limiting pork barrel politics, I think that it would resonate. After all, it is a DEMOCRAT Congress that is really in the public opinion tank today – so, Republicans should make hay on this issue while the sun still shines.

    SueK brings up a good point, though…if the MSM won’t report it, how will the word get out. Good news is that the MSM is also despised by Americans. So, use radio, paid ads and the internet to attack the MSM media’s lack of balance. Show courage. Hit hard!

  19. wc says

    Millions of Americans work in the health care industry, so Republicans may want to target them by emphasizing how socialized medicine will likely lower their pay and generally make life at work intolerable.

    I’d also do what Hilary did somewhat successfully. WHo do you want getting that call at 3 am? I’d examine other things she did successfully against Obama.

  20. suek says

    >>But the Outer Banks are already in danger.>>

    In danger from what threat? and in what way would drilling add to that threat? (and by “Outer Banks” you mean specifically where? I’m assuming an off Florida area.)

    It’s true that oil spills from wells were a problem at one time, but not in recent years. In fact, even in Katrina, not a single oil well in the Gulf had a spillage problem. As I understand it, shipping oil is a greater threat than pumping it… Sabotage could be a problem, but there’s no way of totally eliminating sabotage threats…

  21. suek says

    Helen…this is for you. While you’re reading it, please consider what it would take for you to give up your Christian faith. Then consider how likely it is that these muslims are going to give up _theirs_ and how likely it is that they will not follow the commands of those they believe are divinely inspired.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/former-cia-agent-in-iran-comes-in-from-the-heat/?print=1

    My opinion is that George Bush took on the muslims because he understood the power of faith, and realized that they, too, are men of faith, and that they will do what they believe their faith commands them to do. Most liberals underestimate muslims because they believe in intellectual persuasion is always possible – they generally scorn religious faith, and because they think it is the result of ignorance, think they can educate extremists out of thinking in a way that they(liberals) consider extreme. Instead, what they do imake very educated extremists who are even more dangerous.

  22. Danny Lemieux says

    If I was to guess, the Outer Banks are in danger because of over-development. I don’t think they have found any oil off the Outer Banks, though. I believe that the coastal areas with oil deposits are southern and western Florida and California. Somewhere I remember reading that there was a big oil reserve in the northern Great Lakes, as well.

    I believe that the biggest North American Oil deposits are in the northern plains states (the Bakken deposits), the Rocky Mountain States (oil shale), Alberta (tar sands) and the north slope of Alaska.

    Overall, North American oil reserves are believed to be bigger than those of Saudi Arabia.

  23. Zhombre says

    One word: jobs. Tapping domestic energy sources — offshore, in the plains states, or the trans-Mississippi West– will provide industrial jobs that can’t be outsourced. It would surely be a boon to those rural counties in NC and other SE states where the factory and mill jobs have vanished. Friend of mine lives in eastern NC; poverty is endemic, the largest employers are Wal-Mart and the state.

    I can’t fathom why the President of the U.S. has to go beg the Saudis to increase oil production when we do nothing at home to use our own resources. Are Arabian sands, or the coasts of Venezuela and Nigeria and Brazil, less pristine and less environmentally sensitive than American land? It is the pinnacle of arrogance and folly to allow the rest of the world to exploit their oil and sell to us at elevated prices while we do nothing to exploit our own energy sources, and effectively keep a lid on American industry and innovation.

  24. Danny Lemieux says

    Thanks for the link, Helen. Are you aware that any drilling that would occur would likely be far out of sight of any beach community in North Carolina?

    Have you ever looked out at the view over the water from South Padre Island (TX) or Naples, FL? Seen any oil derricks spoiling the view?

  25. suek says

    “Offshore drilling for oil and natural gas would be devastating to our prized islands.
    In addition to threatening dangerous oil spills, each offshore oil platform would release 214,000 pounds of air pollutants annually. Drilling platforms also discharge hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater containing such toxins as benzene, arsenic and lead.”

    What is the environmental record of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico? Why would this be any different?

  26. says

    I’m afraid I can’t add anything intelligent to this discussion, but I am interested in the source of the 214,000 pounds claim. What would those pollutants consist of? Unless I’m missing something (always a distinct possibility) the oil rigs in the Gulf and elsewhere have generally worked out just fine and not bespoiled the environment around them.

    And, what is the basis for the claim that adding to our domestic oil supply will have little effect on oil prices? I can’t imagine how a sufficient addition to domestic energy production could do anything but lower prices.

    Zhombre, great point about jobs that can’t be outsourced. I hadn’t thought about it that way.

  27. says

    DQ,

    I think what American conservatives need is an Articulator, someone who can speak across to the American people rather than speaking down to them. Obama, Hillary and Pelosi does that in spades. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Delay does that in spades as well.

    There is a severe disconnect between our representatives on Capitol Hill and the populace they supposedly represent. If it was clearly articulated to the American people many of the obscene transgressions and corruption of our government these past few years (Law of Sea Treaty, insane environmental edicts, and secret votes for pork spending to name a few off the top of my head), I think we would be seeing a very different Presidential race.

    The Articulator doesn’t even have to be running for President, but the topics would dominate the discussion.

    The last President that I can think of that tried to reason with the American people rather than offer platitudes is Reagan. Sure, Reagan had his host of platitudes, but he also reported and reasoned with Americans in many of his television addresses directly to the people. I think one of the reasons this was so effective was because Reagan ultimately answered to the people, not his political party, not the media, but to the people— and he didn’t talk down to them as though they’re incompetent children. America responded to that then, and I think it will respond to that now.

    The Conservatives are unaccountably melting away from the national scene without any definitive cause. They appear to be in complete disarray and their “messages” are garbled re-hashed platitudes from yesteryear’s election.

    They can talk about the flat-tax unicorn until they’re blue in the face and I think no one will listen.

    One thing Americans like is taking the initiative. Instead of taking the initiative to talk about things they care about, Conservatives appear to be fighting a rearguard action, and they’re grumbling, griping and whining all the way.

    Though a goodly portion of America does it, we generally still don’t like contrary whiners, but we do like bold, commonsensical actions.

    How many conservative politicians out there will directly address the American people and talk common sense about the environment, about energy, about the concerns of economy?

    I don’t know of one.

    Barack Obama has enough smarts to attempt it, even though he ends up constantly putting his foot in his mouth and talking down to people and belittling Americans. His bare pretension of talking across to the American people is gaining traction even though many, if not most, people see him as being politically expedient and false.

    It resonates nonetheless. Just the attempt.

    Many of the comments and suggestions above are good starting places for a national discussion. The problem is, not one of our conservative leaders truly want that discussion to take place.

  28. Tiresias says

    Thomas, a big piece of the problem is, I suspect, that there are no conservative leaders.

    There are some (paralyzingly inept) republican leaders I suppose – if you feel that it’s legitimate to apply the word “leader” – but they aren’t conservative.

    On the right there is a lot of discussion, disagreement. and independent thinking. The conservatives do not, for example, like McCain. He’s not only not one of them, he’s barely republican. A whole lot of them are going to stay home in November, I suspect,because right voters don’t just go along in lockstep.

    It seems to me that the factions of the right have standards, which often enough works to their detriment. The reason the republicans took a shellacking in 2006 wasn’t because all the republican voters from 2004 died, or moved to Monte Carlo; it’s because they were so annoyed at their own party that they said “go to hell” and stayed home.

    The left would never do that. I don’t mean to be excessively rude here, but I have to say that they seem to have no standards whatsoever – and therefore no expectations from their candidates. They vote much more in lockstep than the right does.

    You’ll be able to see this clearly in the fall: right now Obama is – if you believe the media – full-time engaged in pissing off his left-wing supporters by “moving to the center.” It will NOT matter: they’ll all vote for him in November, no matter what they say now.

    Not much independent thinking there, or even much thinking for yourself. The overriding idea is that a democrat should win – period.

    The right, especially conservatives, are not like that: if you cross them, they’ll punish you. They have standards, and expectations.

    I see no conservative leader, and certainly no republican leader, strong, articulate, or, frankly, bright enough to change that.

  29. says

    Thomas & Tiresias, I agree completely with the sorry state of conservative leadership. I’d quibble with one point. I don’t think the average voter cares much about corruption. So long as the politician votes consistent with our beliefs, private weaknesses, even misuse of government power to serve those weaknesses, don’t matter much. We view our politicians like we view our athletes — we’ve forgive anything as long as they perform great and are on “our team.” Politicians have been ppromising for as long as any of us have been alive that they will attack waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse and absolutely none of them do. Only the most gullible among us would fall for that line again. Power corrupts. That’s why we throw the bums out from time to time. But otherwise we expect it and accept it.

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