Chafee as Weather Vane for the Conservative Rebellion
Something in a Corner post by Larry Kudlow might help to tie local Rhode Island concerns to the broader political landscape:
Why Republicans don’t say more about the tax-cut related economic expansion is beyond me. And whether Tuesday’s disappointing election results provide a wake up call for the GOP remains to be seen. But they need a wake up call. Young Turks in the House like Mike Pence, Jeff Flake, and Marsha Blackburn should be represented in the House leadership. Ideas matter. Dick Armey was a great idea man. Speaker Dennis Hastert doesn’t seem to be a great idea man. The Tom DeLay period is probably over. New blood in the leadership is essential.
To offer flesh and fire to the sentence that I’ve italicized, consider an open note that the Anchoress has blogged to the GOP leadership:
The world is tilting, and you useless, ineffectual, dithering moneysuckers seem increasingly to be empty suits, given shape and movement not by ideas and a willingness to serve the electorate, but by wispy tufts of ambitious smoke. You seem directed toward nothing more than keeping your almighty Senate or House seat in your name. You give away your power, you give away your advantages in committee, you leave in place utterly feckless people like Arlen Specter and then, when you finally seem like you are on the cusp of doing something productive and right, like investigating the CIA or okaying drilling in a bare, muddly, uninhabitable tundra, you fall into a faint and go slinking back to your states and districts to gladhand and pump for money and then gladhand some more. …
I will spend the next election, and the one following it, doing everything I can to replace you disappointing, entrenched frauds and fakers with real people who have real stakes in what is going on in the nation and want to effect real change for the better.
Now, I’m not saying that Rhode Island’s own upstart Republican, Steve Laffey, fits the Anchoress’s “leaders wanted” ad, but his campaign opposition, Sen. Lincoln Chafee, is (and will continue to be) living evidence of the GOP’s response. The RNC’s handling of the Chafee v. Laffey contest provides indication of whether it has heard the wake up call that Kudlow notes and the Anchoress amplifies. Similarly, it represents an effective starting point for those who are fed up with the status quo.
The Republican establishment wouldn’t have to promote Laffey over Chafee, but the suits should keep in mind that replacing “disappointing, entrenched frauds and fakers with real people who have real stakes in what is going on in the nation and want to effect real change for the better” doesn’t inherently require those real people to come from the same party. And to the extent that it does, the process can involve some creative destruction and unfold over several election cycles.
How Deep is their Conservatism?
Building a bit on Justin’s latest post, but John Hinderaker at Powerline boils down what has gone on over the last year and asks why the Republicans appear so weak-kneed:So what has happened in the past twelve months to terrify…
Last night Bill O’Reilly said that this past election indicated that the country had “turned left”. Conservative former Senator (and minister) John Danforth recently warned that the GOP will lose control of Congress and the White House if it only promotes far right candidates. Elections cycles work in trends and right now we’re not trending in the “right” direction.
John Danforth is a good man. He is many things, being a conservative is not, nor ever has been one of them.
I don’t believe that the country has turned in any significant direction, left or right, since that last presidential election in November 2004. What has changed, at least for the moment, are circumstances (i.e. the war in Iraq, some Bush administration personnel issues, etc.). Circumstances are temporary, and if handled appropriately and honestly, can be modified enough to benefit one’s own political interests.
I don’t think that the House and Senate Republicans should bury their heads in the sand and just hope that our country’s problems go away; nor should take the power that they do currently have for granted. They need to demonstrate that they have the best answers to our country’s problems, and are not a part of the problem itself.
One way to definitely not solve problems is by pandering to your constituents, special interests, or by demonstrating a complete lack of principle. We don’t need to sacrifice our principles to win elections. If we do, we are no better than our political opponents, and frankly, will not deserve to win.