Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reagan Democrats

Well my Conservative friends I think it is time we had a talk. About the Reagan Revolution. About the leftward drift of the Party. About Reagan Democrats. That's right. Reagan brought a lot of Democrats into the party. Remember the years of the Big Tent? You know the years when RINOs were welcomed, reluctantly, into the party for the sake of a governing majority?

So let me ask a simple question. What is the function of a political party? Easy question. With an easy answer. Get elected. OK. So how does a candidate get elected in a particular district? In a particular State? In the nation. Another easy question. A candidate gets elected by getting a majority in a district, in a State, in the Nation. A candidate has to have views more acceptable than his opponent's to get the all important majority. If the electorate leans left the winning candidate will also lean left. If the electorate leans right so will the candidate.

So why has the party drifted left? Pretty simple. That is how you win elections.

Broad based Republican coalitions are libertarian in essence.

I would have thought the Alan Keyes debacle in Illinois would have been a learning experience. Real Conservatives™ are not popular everywhere. So how do you get a governing majority if Real Conservatives™ are not universally popular? You are going to have to support the election of Conservatives who are less than pure. Sometimes much less. In fact in some places they may actually be more like Democrats. (does the current Mayor of New York ring a bell? - a Republican for gun control? The very idea....) The important thing is the R after the name. If philosophy was critically important then Rick Santorum could get elected anywhere. He can't. In fact he couldn't even get re-elected in Pennsylvania. 'Nother clue.

So are there any principles that can unite Republicans? A minimum set that all Republicans can support at least 55% of the time? (you are expecting perfection? from politicians? you ask too much.) I think there are.

0. Smaller government
1. Lower spending
2. Lower taxes
3. Strong National defense

That is it. Period. Every thing else can depend on the district you come from.

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals -- if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
Who said that? Ronald Reagan.

Prompted by events and Is Conservatism Dead?

I was reminded by commenter Pal2Pal that Santorum was from Pennsylvania not Ohio. Fixed.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Pal2Pal said...

If philosophy was critically important then Rick Santorum could get elected anywhere. He can't. In fact he couldn't even get re-elected in Ohio. 'Nother clue.

Or Pennsylvania either.

Nice post.

A moderate Republican who refuses to be labeled a conservative.

Big D said...

The other half of this is what happens between elections--that is, convincing more people to lean towards conservative or libertarian goals.

That's the part that's being forgotten. Winning elections is almost meaningless if you wind up with the same policies as if you had lost (not that I'm making this claim specific to this fall; I will hold my nose and vote for the liberal over the fascist or the communist).

M. Simon said...

Yeah. Pennsylvania. I'll fix it.

I knew it was somewhere East of Illinois.

GW said...

A very insightful post and I couldn't agree more. Linked.