Wednesday, May 02, 2007

This is ridiculous

This piece is salutary in that the contemporary Republican party seems to want to reincarnate itself as Alfred E. Newman. Well they ought to worry, becuase they are in very real danger of being rendered into Tory-style irrelevance. It's very difficult to overemphasize the straits the GOP has wandered into.

Nonetheless Mr. Bartlett has done it. First of all, it is a very dubious proposition that Mrs. Clinton is any kind of conservative, even relative to the other Democratic Presidential contenders. It's very plausible that she will be elected President and if she is, we'll hope for the best, but let's get real. It's not just that Hillary has walked in the circles of the hard Left for the whole of her adult life. It's not just that she has essentially had no career outside of being a proconsul for the Nanny State, though those would be bad enough. But in addition to that, ever since the health care plan debacle, all of her political maneuvers have been very carefully orchestrated for political positioning without much if any regard for what she truly believes in. Frankly she has done this for so long I don't think she knows herself what she truly believes, even if she were willing to tell you.

It's also a trope of political parties that have fallen out of favor that they try to return to favor by embracing things that are even less popular than they are. In Mrs. Clinton's case, I wonder if Mr. Bartlett is aware that there's a fairly well-known poll out that says that something like 48% of the voters won't vote for her under any circumstances.

Finally, no matter who wins the Democratic nomination, the Republican priorities in the next election cycle are clear. Win the Presidency and/or Congress, and if that isn't possible then to rehabilitate the GOP brand. The GOP needs to put aside distractions and penny ante crap, and demonstrate independently of George W. Bush, what it's willing to go to the mattresses for. When push comes to shove, I suspect it's a pretty small list: low taxes, abortion (and judges), immigration, the War on Terror. Furthermore, all of these issues are more popular than the GOP right now (even Iraq), so the Republicans have nothing to lose by embracing them.

Things are bleak at the moment, but some perspective is in order. We have had a President Bush before, and Republican credibility was at a low end then too. But he left the scene, and the party recovered. The current President Bush has hurt the party a great deal. But the damage will won't be permanent, unless those of us who are left are unwilling to stand up for what we believe in. And if that is what happens, we can only blame ourselves.

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