Wednesday, January 20, 2010
In what I believe is the longest original post on Instapundit in quite some time, Glenn Reynolds tells us what it all means for both parties. I agree with all of it, although would add this question: Today, as opposed to any other day in the last 450 or so, are aspiring Democrats -- and the Clintons in particular -- at least fantasizing about a primary challenge to Barack Obama in 2012?
I also wonder whether Scott Brown's victory will (1) attract better candidates to run on the Republican ticket in 2010, and (2) encourage the GOP activists to be more accepting of candidates who are not ideologically pure.
I think Scott Brown's rise was so sudden nobody even realized he was ideologically impure before it was too late.
I doubt that tea party activists would have proposed him, but when he showed up and got within 10% of the Democrat, we said "Hey, awesome, and he opposes ObamaCare!" without much additional attention needed.
Now I know that he was a RomneyCare supporter and yes, it does make me wonder about him. But the intriguing thing about him is that although he is a moderate at heart (or so it seems), he ran as a conservative, with true-blue conservative positions.
I would say that between his campaign persona of opposing health care, supporting tax cuts, and saying Obama's policies are destroying us all, there's very little difference between how he campaigned and how a "real" conservative would have.
So we will see what he actually does in the Senate, but there's no question he's run one of the most awesome political campaigns in history.
Even if he turns turncoat on us he will still have done better than Coakley. And I think he has a very clear sense of who elected him and why. That's an excellent start; let's see what he makes of it once in the Senate.
The republican party cannot win across the country if it insists its candidates must be socially as well as fiscally conservative, because most of those in the middle (whose support you need to win) are either socially moderate or even liberal.
Why has the tea party's message resonated with voters? Because it's all about being fiscally conservative. It's not about gay rights or abortion or illegal immigration... it's about the economy, stupid!
Further, the reason the republican brand has become so tainted in the eyes of most Americans is because the thing that supposedly distinguishes them from democrats (being fiscally conservative through paying down the debt and limiting the size of government) is the one thing they failed to deliver on in their contract with America.
Smaller government, smaller debt, lower taxes, and more freedom from government intervention and oversight are what the republicans need, NOT insisting that their conservative worldview of morality is correct. FWIW, can someone remind us how prohibition -- you know, that time when the progressives insisted on telling the nation that drinking was bad -- worked out?
If November is the Dem disaster I am hoping it is, I can easily see Hillary deciding to take a shot in 2012. And why not? She isn't getting any younger. Nothing would make me happier than to see her run in the 2012 primary and then get the nomination. We have decades worth of comebacks to the Dems who call us racists. "What? Your party kicked out the first black President by not re-nominating him." And if things are even worse in 2012, her campaign can be real simple, "See, I told you so. If you voted for me we wouldn't b in this mess."
I know none of this will happen. But, this still being a free America, I can dream.
One other thing. I don't care if Brown is a liberal Republican or RINO. He cannot possibly be worse than Ted Kennedy or John Kerry. He alredy did his job by winning the election. He killed Obamacare, which 40 other Republican Senators could not do, and he put a scare into every lefty Democrat in the House and Senate, and a significant amount of them will run as far as they can from Obamacare, and even Obama himself. And, quite a few Dems in the House and Senate will find themselves going home this November because of this win. These are all terrific accomplishments in itself. He will never top them, but that is fine with me.
The national GOP needs to come up with a very simple platform - say, 5 topics - of what it means to be a Republican, then let the local Party govern the nomination process so long as the candidates will sign on to those 5 planks.
Local control is key. A pro-gay-rights candidate wouldn't win in Oklahoma, and a hardcore anti-abortion candidate wouldn't win in New Hampshire.
A simple platform with local control over issues outside those "Big 5" also would reinforce the Republican message of limited government and separation of powers.
The difference is that Brown supported RomneyCare because it is within the powers of the individual states to do so. If Massachusetts wants such a program then fine but demanding via the federal government a somewhat analogous program for the entire country is simply a non-starter and should be opposed regardless of more acceptable iterations.
If the new litmus test is opposition to all forms of state healthcare programs then there might not be to many Republicans or even Tea Party endorsed candidates to play a game of one-on-one basketball.
he put a scare into every lefty Democrat in the House and Senate
That alone makes him worth his weight in plutonium. If the Democrats can lose in Taxachussetts, they can be routed in any senate race.
What the democrats failed to grasp is that the mandate they were given is "don't be Bush". It's not "seize this opportunity to shove every hare-brained left-wing boondoggle you can imagine down our throats".
I'm with "Anonymous." It's fiscal conservativism we are desperate for. Without candidates who know how to grow the economy by getting government off the backs of small business people, we are all lost.
I agree that staunch opposition to any and all health care welfare should not be a plank in the GOPs platform.
I have no problem with any given state opting to go with health care welfare. I can always vote with my feet. If it becomes federalized, I no longer have that option.
As New York and California are learning, much to their fiscal chagrin, people and businesses can and will leave the state if they decide they no longer want to foot the bill for the entitlement class.
I think we set up something of our own dilemma if we strongly set "fiscal conservatism" against "social conservatism".
I'm certainly a fiscal conservative (except on defense, where there is no "too much" and the key is to limit waste, not to limit spending), but not a social conservative in the sense that I want to see the federal government legislate on homosexual marriage, abortion, or similar matters of morality.
Yet, I'm realistic enough to know that conservatism will not succeed politically without both the social and fiscal conservatives.
So, if social conservatism in its "hard" form will cause us to lose the moderates and independents on whom elections depend, and the rejection of social conservatism will cause us to lose elections because we need them as well, what can we do?
I think perhaps the answer lies in looking much more closely at what social conservatives really want. My impression is that rather than the government weighing in on their side per se, social conservatives want the government to respect their views - that is not to legislate in ways that rebuff their views - and to allow individual states to reach their own compromises on the hard social questions where you will have differing consensuses in different places.
I think that most fiscally conservative, but socially moderate, and even many socially liberal, people could live with that sort of compromise: as long social conservatism is mostly a matter of individual behavior choices, and those who disagree with those choices are reasonably free to make other arrangements to govern their own behavior -- neither unduly hindered by the federal - or state - governments, that should satisfy reasonable people.
I think that most fiscally conservative, but socially moderate, and even many socially liberal, people will form a viable third party.
The two entrenched parties will fight it with everything they have, but I see Massachusetts as a bellweather.
The middle has found its voice, and they have a lot to say.
I think the Scott Brown victory shows that a third party is not needed. When people like Brown run as Democrats, they will also be elected.
Remember that the GOP didn't give Brown much support. They were apparently ready to write him off until he started pulling ahead. The public shaped the GOP's response, not the other way around. That is huge.
I think the door is now wide open for both parties to attract better candidates.
The public is waking up to the fact that we have created a corrupt political class in this country. That's the fundamental problem, and one of the key messages of the Tea Party movement. That's not how our country was designed to be run, with a political class. It's supposed to be government by, for, and of the people.
We no longer want "pure" Democrats or Republicans, we want individuals who are willing to commit to principles.
I don't think we need a third party for that to come about, but of course time will tell! It seems to be a whole new ball game.
The problem with Brown and Romney Care is that Romney Care was a an illusion. It did not achieve the aim of universal coverage and is running up a huge state debt. The cost of health care has gone up for many in the state. They are looking at ways to deny the program to some.
I like Scott Brown alot, but -
I'll believe he is a conservative when he starts talking conservative health-care solutions, to whit:
1) Insurance company competition across state lines - the biggie
2) No mandating what insurance companies need to do or not do - let free-market competition work
3) Tax breaks for health care expenses and health insurance purchases
4) Even out the playing field for health insurance purchases - no special breaks for corporations over individuals
5) Tort reform (common-sense reform - without over interference in the right to due-process)
6) Reform of Medicare/Medicaid fraud and waste
7) Last but not least - fighting all of the anti-constitution/anti-free market elements of the current bill - which basically means all of it.
Like I said - I like Scott Brown, he makes a great figurehead for a slap to Washington, but in substance I suspect he is more populist than conservative - the comparisons with Sarah Palin (who I also like alot) may be uncomfortably apt.
Had to get this off the chest. Thanks.