Archive for the ‘Republican’ Category

Sara Palin changes the race considerably.  She is by all accounts a decent woman, a principled pro-lifer, and a real conservative.  The problem is that she’s running with a guy that is impulsive, difficult, anti-conservative, pro-immigration, and foolish on foreign policy.  It’s hard to vote for McCain simply because he’s picked a solid running mate.

Further, she has been a conservative in a place where it’s easy to be conservative.  How will she fare when accused of helping the rich, being in the pocket of “Big Oil,” racism, “hating the poor,” and all the other typical charges of the media against principled conservatives?  Will she embrace McCain’s interventionist spirit which defines events in Georgia and Sudan as indistinguishable from those in Afghanistan or Mexico?  So far, she appears already to have backed off from the charge she was a Buchananite in ’96, as if that were disqualifying. It reminds me of my ambivalence about Harriett Miers, who sounded decent enough, but didn’t appear too sharp and obviously had no stomach for the name-calling one must endure as a principled conservative.  Further, any beef on her experience is kind of ridiculous considering Obama’s mediocre record and permanent candidate status in his two years in the Senate.  Moreover, Palin’s actually cut spending, cleaned up corruption, and made executive decisions when she was not out hunting Caribou and winning beauty contests.  This is more than Biden, Obama, and McCain can say for themselves.

McCain and Buchanan are about as far apart as two candidates could be in the Republican Party, and it is a bit of an idle hope that someone so young and devoid of a power base as Palin could turn McCain and DC in the right direction.  The opposite appears far more likely.

Nonetheless, her addition is a great positive for the Republican Party and as a purely political matter has reinvigorated McCain’s hitherto listless campaign.  Even if McCain loses, she would be well positioned in 2012 to lead the party back to its small government, self-reliant roots.

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Richard Spencer at Takimag.com makes a good point about the issues that really work for conservatives and the various ways that elites pull their punches to their detriment politically:

Political parties are pretty malleable, so I think it’s a better idea to look at what those really big issues are that could unite a broad Right coalition. Mitt Romney tried to make himself the perfect GOP candidate by standing on the thee pillars of “economic conservatism” (“free-trade”), “national security” (pro-war), and “social conservatism” (vague references to “life”). But such things haven’t proved to work too well in the recent past. 

In truth, the Big Three that have had the widest popular appeal over the past five years have instead been opposition to racial preferences, opposition to amnesty/immigration restriction, and anti-war foreign policy. Ward Connerly’s civil rights initiative of 2006, which effectively banned affirmative action in the universities, won by a landslide—even though it was opposed by youth icon Barack Obama. The only time the conservative movement really showed its teach, and has been willing to go against the GOP, was during last summer’s battle over amnesty. I don’t need to go into Iraq, which is increasingly viewed as a disaster even by Republicans (and, more importantly, Reagan Democrats.)

These issues are perhaps the only three that can unite an increasingly fracturing youth population (within an increasingly fracturing population as a whole). And better still, they’re all natural conservative issues, and ones which, with the exception of the opposition to war, don’t really work for Democrats. 

And yet, on all of these issues, the GOP has come down on the wrong side—publicly even: opposing Connerly, sponsoring amnesty, and devoutly supporting the war to the point of self-parody. 

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