Nov 09 2006

Conservativism Won, Republicans Lost

Published by at 10:10 am under 2006 Elections,All General Discussions

I like that sentiment I have been seeing on the right side of the blogosphere because it mirrors my point. Dems rode a wave of conservative candidates to power. Conservative ballot initiatives pretty much won the day – except those which went too far too fast. The ban on abortion in SD did not succeed. And it represents what a lot of conservatives are not willing to face up to. You can be an extreme conservative. Where is that line? I have no idea. I do know Pat Buchanan lives on the other side of that line. Just as Maxine Waters is an extreme liberal, we have some on our side who go too far. Not that their vision may not be correct, but they have yet to convince the voters their vision is correct.

Are we ready to dispense with the Bush bashing yet? The man doesn’t deserve it and the monday morning backstabbing is just the kind of ‘wrong message’ to send those we need to entice back – and yes, I am getting close to saying ‘you’ instead of ‘we’. I want Iraq to succeed. Does bashing Bush obtain this goal? Nope. I want Iraq to succeed. Do we need to work with the Democrat controlled Congress to obtain this goal? Yes. I want Iraq to succeed. People died to make Iraq succeed. Am I going to worry about partisan gotcha ahead of succeeding in Iraq? Never. If we succeed in Iraq three things happen. First we strike a blow against Islamo Fascism and continue to change the face of the ME. This is still the best plan of attack so my kids are not fighting in these streets here in the US to win the war. Second, it will vindicate those who sacrificed to achieve this goal, and make their sacrifice worthwhile. And finally, it will validate the conservative principles, which in the end where to face our threats head on and not pretend they do not exist. But validating conservative principles is 3rd on my list of accomplishments.

When is the conservative movement going to get over the rejection and stop blaming everyone else. It was not Bush. It was the crude infighting, it was the rejections of compromise, it was the holier than thou attitudes. People rage against the Gang of 14 but we got all these wonderful justices and judges on the bench. It is the result that matters – or at least should matter. What is wrong with Schwarzenegger? He not conservative enough? Are we going to push him out of the party even though he has given us the first chance in a decade to make a comeback in CA? Did we purge Chafee and lose the senate in a snit of purity? Did we do the same to DeWine? Did DeWine lose because he was a member of the Gang of 14? A better question for the conservatives right now – is did he deserve to lose? I respectfully ask Republicans to answer this question.

Did DeWine deserve to lose his seat because he was a member of the Gang of 14? Was it better for the party that he lost? The answer to this question will foretell the future of the Republican party. It will not be Bush – it will be the base and how diverse the base is willing to be.

Update: Groping for answers, many point to Iraq. But Bush did nothing wrong in Iraq. When we are played well, face up to it. If the democrats had sided with Bush and said we are in this to win Al Qaeda would have crumbled. We have their own words in communiques to that effect. But the dems took political advantage of the war and promised withdrawl. That gave the terrorists hope and a plan – which they executed very well. And if the Dems do not start withdrawling now (and they won’t), the terrorists will remind them of their promise. This is a clear fact of what happened from 2004 until now. The dems and their pathetic media lap dogs never celebrated the successes in Iraq. The huge elections, the potential, the local control over most of the country. The left never allowed momentum to build towards winning – and that is what is required to win. The left needed a losing war to beat the reps. Don’t blame Bush for this. The media is a powerful tool and they went all out (are people telling me they missed Olberman’s coming out this cycle?). But at what price? You can win ugly – but when you inherit the disaster you created it is best not to win at all. Conservatives have no responsibility to further the Democrat propaganda and blame Bush, when it was they who fed hope to the Jihadists they could (and did) break our will.

And yes, it is about the polarization. Leave that for the left to lose on.

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Conservativism Won, Republicans Lost”

  1. Sue says:

    excessive religiosity.

    Must be why Harold Ford, Jr. lost.

  2. Karig says:

    What the hell is wrong with Morton Kondracke (the author of the article you linked to)? He puts ALL of the blame for the election on President Bush, calling him “one of the most polarizing presidents in American history”, and has nothing whatever to say about the endless drumbeat of the other side, including the fact that the Democrat media portrayed the war as an endless litany of setbacks with absolutely no progress whatsoever?

    Apparently you shouldn’t want Kondracke in a foxhole with you — he’ll be haranguing you about how all the shells flying in your direction and all the casualties your team has been taking are YOUR FAULT.

    If Kondracke wants the polarization to end, he needs to start with himself.

  3. yipster says:

    AJ, good points. I too am reading too much bashing of the President and the war. The Democratic party and the big media deserve the credit for how the Iraq war has been framed and politicized. The Dems and media early on went for drama and political gain by basically siding against the administration and the war effort.

    That is where we find ourselves. They set this climate up and now they’ve been rewarded (once again) for their deeds. AND right on schedule, the blame is thrown on the administration because of the sorry state of the plan/war; weakened by 3 years of infighting and harping and imboldining our enemies to hang on and kill as many as they can.

    This war would have been over already had the opposition rally and fight together to win and shown a united front. The message would be clear; with troops in the field and the honor of the country on the line, we are united in our desire for complete victory. Of course, this is seen as hokey and childish nowadays. I’m disgusted with the Dem’s and continue to be disgusted with big media.

  4. DubiousD says:

    Sorry, AJ, Bush does deserve a lion’s share of the blame for this.

    Allow me to repeat a lot of what I stated over at Macsmind (cut and paste time!):

    Let’s face it, Bush’s biggest problem is that he’s an inept communicator. And by that I’m not referring to his malapropisms. Abe Lincoln reportedly wasn’t a good speaker. Neither was Moses. By communication, I mean simply that: Bush, like his father behind him, seems to harbor a strange, almost innate disinclination to to engage the people head-on.

    Bush is supposed to be our wartime leader. Yet how many times during the war has he addressed the nation on TV… other than when he’s been forced to, like during his SOTU addresses? Like it or lump it, that’s where most people get their information. People don’t tune in for Saturday morning radio casts. But if you interrupt their “American Idol” for fifteen minutes, that’s sure to get their attention. It’s also where the President is sure to get the widest broad section of the audience. So why doesn’t Bush interrupt prime time TV to address the nation simulcast on the networks, CNN, and FOX? Is he afraid of upsetting Simon Cowell? How hard would that be anyway?

    The President has a bully pulpit, a means of reaching the American people anytime he wants without need of filtering his message through snot-nosed reporters and radio blowhards, or else worrying that whatever he says will be printed out of context by Bill Keller.

    Bottom line on Bush: he may in fact be more intelligent that critics give him credit for, but he sure as hell ain’t media-savy. And that has cost him, and his policies, dearly. And now it has cost us Congress.

    When an insurgency rose up in Iraq, Bush was out giving victory speeches in his flight suit. When the insurgency worsened, Bush tried to shift the nation’s attention to privatizing social security. As Tom Servo might say: “The hell?” By the time Bush realized, gee, Iraq isn’t turning out the way we thunk it, the Dems turned the Iraq issue around on him (with the media’s eager assist, of course.) And Bush has been playing catch-up ever since. Meanwhile, Bush’s numbers have plummeted.

    Then Katrina rocked New Orleans. The conservative blogosphere whined that the media wasn’t letting the truth of the disaster get out. Well, why wasn’t Bush getting the truth out? He could have taken the bull by the horns as the crisis unfolded. Explained to the people that the people “stranded” in the stadium weren’t actually left behind. The National Guard was rescuing thousands of people round the clock, but they were prioritizing victims still trapped in their homes. Those waiting in the stadium would be whisked out once the last of those in danger of drowning were lifted to safety. THEN everyone of the stadium would get a ticket out of town.

    Did the media give out that memo? No. Then it was up to Bush to issue the memo… and keep on pressing the point, until PEOPLE GOT THE MESSAGE. I could list literally dozens of Katrina urban legends that have persisted to this day which might not have if Bush had gone on offense from day one. Instead, he let the crisis play him. Again. In the arena of public relations, to say nothing of ideas, Bush is no Maximus.

    Then there was Dubai Ports World. Oh, yeah, Bush handled that with a Midas touch, didn’t he? Once again, he botched it. And his numbers dropped again. And so on.

    When you’re a sitting president of the US, PR is not BS. It’s not 5% of the job. It’s 50% of the job. You’re not running a corporation, you’re leading a nation. No one expects people will stop drinking Coca-Cola is the CEO stops giving speeches. Only way Coca-Cola will go in the toilet is if some idiot changes the recipe. But leadership in the White House is more than just backroom Oval Office administrating. It’s being a presence for the American people. And if the big bad media isn’t backing you up, then you have to do the heavy lifting yourself. But Bush would rather address two hundred military cadets at Camp Artichoke and hope CNN gives fifteen seconds to his appearance in their nightly roundup rather than forcing the media’s hand and going live to people.

    In my lifetime, only one president roughly approximated a true leader, and his name was Ronald Reagan. He wasn’t a perfect stateman, lord knows, but at least he seemed to effect a perfect balance between making policy and making policy known.

    I will repeat that: a true Presidential leader must not only make good policy, but he should communicate that policy to his constituents directly and regularly so that his positions are always clear. I listen to a great radio talk show host named Captain Dale Dye. A better analyst on military affairs you’re unlikely to find in the MSM. Thanks to his weekly updates, I have a good sense how the War on Terror is going. If Bush communicated half as effectively as Captain Dye, his approval rating would be in the 50s and so would approval of the war in Iraq. But Bush couldn’t be bothered.

    Don’t get me wrong, a lot of these Reps in Congress probably got what they deserved. They made their own mess of things. But Bush is the lightning rod. Unfortunately, the juice never seemed to go all the way to his brain.

  5. lurker9876 says:

    Had the conservatives stood with Bush, they probably would’ve done better in this election.

  6. lurker9876 says:

    The polarization won’t stop with the Democratic majority. Think their internal problems will become more visible to us soon.

  7. AJStrata says:


    Please. Bush was never the problem. When the base backstabbed him over Myers and DPW and the Immigration Plan and the Education Plan and the…

    Hell, you get the point. The rabid right destroyed the coalition. Ronald Reagan was less a true conservative than Bush. He was more lenient on gay marriages, he was more lenient on immigration. He and Bush are equals on national security and the sanctity of life and a host of other topics. Your prism of history has a nice magnifying feature to it – but Reagan lost a lot more seats than Bush did.

    Sorry – no sale. And you are violating Reagan’s 12 commandment. How is that honoring him?

  8. Ken says:

    Well, Strata I have some bad news for you. Iraq cannot “succeed”
    though I’m not sure how far off you are in your definition of
    “success.” If by success you mean having an America-friendly
    government when the dust clears, you are tilting at windmills.

    If you cleaned out al Al Qaeda and had a peaceful fair election,
    only the 10% minority Kurds would vote pro-American candidates
    in. If Iraq is partitioned, which it should not be, both Sunni
    and Shias would vote an anti-American, anti-Israel government in.

    And as long as America supports Israel, some native Iraqis would still
    venture far afield to fight American interests, whether financed
    by Iran, or elements of the Saudi house.

    And since these anti-American Islamic factions have now
    consummated informal alliances with Russia and China,
    which have been alarmed and alienated by Bush’s Iraq blunder,
    you are looking at a no-win scenario in the war on terror as
    you portray it, with the US on the defensive.

    This defensive posture will of course keep the nation
    polarized and unable to deal with its more pressing problems
    such as the Latino invasion, as conservatives with good
    programs on dealing with it will be marginalized by their
    support of your no-win interminable war on terror.

    One good thing, eventually the polarization will result in a
    hard right third party…. with a Buchananite at the helm!

    It’s a long hard slog for such as you, AJ!

  9. DubiousD says:

    Yeah, that’s why Americans voted the Reps out. They were really angry over Harriet Myers not getting on the Supreme Court. Good call. 🙂

    DPW was as much Bush’s mess as Congress’. I can’t find it right now, but Ed Morrissey had an excellent post back at the time about how nobody came out looking good on the DPW deal. Dems screwed up, so did the House and Senate reps, but as Captain Ed pointed out, the Bush administration did their share of botching. First, no one in the Oval Office seemed to being even aware that the deal was going down. Then when Bush did get clued in by his advisers, instead of taking time to educate angry (and largely unformed) voters on the issue, Bush turned belligerent, patronizing the concerns of Reps like Peter King. Now was King and his ilk irresponsible on the issue? Absolutely. But Bush threw gas on the flame. So no sale there.

    Which Education plan are you referring to? If memory serves, No Child Left Behind was passed during his first term, yet Bush didn’t held Congress in ’04, didn’t he?

    As for illegal immigration, Bush did himself in when he dangled the amnesty carrot. If Bush had said straight out, “You can renew for worker permits and legal alien status all you want, but if you want to be a citizen, you have to get in line behind all the others hoping to get in. Period. End of issue” he might have defanged his absolute rightist critics and maybe even brought a few of them over to his side, ending the controversy before it started.

    BTW, what was Reagan’s twelth commandment? Heck, what was number eleven? Was one of them about not fighting a land war in Asia? (No, wait, that was “Princess Bride.”)

  10. DubiousD says:

    (coughs, clears throat, tries again)

    … and Bush held Congress in ’04, didn’t he?

    (There. Much better.)

  11. theodore says:

    Well we can blame Bush for one thing, he allowed the Democrats to set the tone. Bush was not divisive, the Dems were but blamed him for it.

    As for Iraq, the Dems pulled off the greatest magic trick since Houdini left us. They managed to convince 60% of Americans that the central battle in the War on Terror is not part of the War on Terror. The Republicans were inneffective in countering that. They thought peopel would be smart enough to see the truth, they often are not. The Dems pretend Afghanistan is the central front of the GWOT, even though Al Qaeda left after Tora Bora in 2001 and have nto returned. I don’t beleive we have caught 10 AL Qaeda members in Afghanistan in the last 4 years, we’ve caught thousands in Iraq. Yet they failed to make that case.

  12. Ken says:

    Theodore, don’t emulate For Enforcement’s out of touch state:

    very very close to Afghanistan if not in it.

  13. The Macker says:

    I’m with you, Bush has charted a true course.

    • I think he has made gains on human life issues with his “change hearts” and “persuation” approach.
    • Otherwise good çonservatives misrepresented the DPW case and undercut him.
    • Otherwise good conservatives alienated the “legal” Hispanics with their “meat ax approach to immigration and could have shown more nuance.
    • Otherwise good conservatives have misrepresented the govt .spending by ignoring its ratio to GDP
    • Trusted Republican leaders in congress ignored corruption and bad behavior in their midst.
    • Elected Republican Senators cowered while the Dems abused the President.

    Dubious D,
    Agree that the President could have been more aggressive in making his case, earlier on. Unfortunately, he left that up to others.