Republican Party

This is not Karl Rove’s GOP anymore

Karl Rove

Karl Rove and his group, American Crossroads, set off a firestorm earlier this week when they announced the formation of a new political action committee that would intervene in Republican primaries when there is a conservative primary challenger present. American Crossroads has been in damage control mode due to the reaction of prominent figures in the conservative movement.

Of course, the new PAC is based on a false premise. Establishment candidates aren’t losing in Republican primaries for lack of spending money to get out their message — they’re losing because of their message. You don’t win a GOP primary by running on soft, middle of the road rhetoric. You win by, as Ronald Reagan once said, raising the banner of bold colors.

Kelleyanne Conway recently wrote a great editoral in USA Today about Rove’s new PAC, noting that people like Rove can complain all they want about conservatives who lost in races that they should’ve won, but there were even more failures by candidates who had mainstream GOP backing:

Blacks and Republicans: A Historic Alliance

In honor of February being Black History Month, I thought it might be informative to look at one aspect of the history of blacks in America; namely, the history of blacks and the Republican Party. Though black voters in America have in recent decades become a monolithic voting block for the Democrat Party, such has not always been the case. In fact, I think it would come as a great surprise for many blacks today to learn that not only have Republicans not always been thought of as their political enemies, they once had a political and ideological alliance. Even today these two groups agree on a wide range of issues, from educational choice and traditional marriage, to the importance of religion, specifically Christianity, to our history and culture.

On March 20, 1854, a group of people opposed to the Democrats’ policies supporting slavery met in Ripon, Wisconsin with the express purpose of organizing to end the moral evil of slavery. Just ten days later, on March 30th, President Franklin Pierce, a Democrat, signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, a law which authorized the expansion of slavery into U.S. territories. As a result, these anti-slavery members of the Whig and Free-Soil Democrats would form the Republican Party, and within a few short years had established a major power base in the northeastern and Midwestern states.

In 1856, the Republican Party held its first national nominating convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where it nominated John C. Freemont as their presidential candidate. Freemont ran under the slogan “Free soil, free silver, free men, Fremont”. He would lose that election to Democrat James Buchanan after Democrats warned the election of the anti-slavery Freemont would lead to civil war, but despite the loss in the 1856 election, the Republicans had established themselves as a major party, and would win the presidency just four years later with Abraham Lincoln.

Saxby Chambliss will not seek re-election

Taxby

We got some good news out of Georgia this morning. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who suggested last year that he would break his no-tax pledge to Peach State voters, will not seek a third-term in office, according to Jim Galloway at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss will announce this morning that he’s dropping plans to run for a third term in 2014, a decision certain to set off an avalanche of Republican candidates who will seek to replace him.

Word out of Washington is that Chambliss broke the news to his senior staff this morning.

Politico says that the reason Chambliss decided not to run for re-election is because he has “grown increasingly frustrated with the pervasive gridlock in the Senate — particularly its inability to reach a grand bargain to slash deficits.” Chambliss isn’t running again because he was facing a primary challenge because conservatives in Georgia are frustrated with his big government record.

Chambliss has been part of the problem in Washington. Chambliss voted for every bloated budget pushed during the Bush Administration. He voted to expand Medicare, an already bankrupt entitlement. What was his answer to the deficits he helped create? To raise taxes by $1 trillion. The suggestion that Chambliss is some sort of fiscal conservative is nothing short of absurd.

Boehner: Obama wants to “annihilate” the GOP

boehner

During a speech on Tuesday, Speaker John Boehner complained that President Barack Obama wants to “annihilate” the Republican Party and throw it into the “into the dustbin of history.”

Boehner, whose leadership has been criticized by conservatives, explained that House Republicans are facing a difficult stretch. “These next couple of weeks, next couple of months, frankly, the next 20 months, are going to be a very difficult period for us,” Boehner said. “While we want to stand up and fight for more fiscal responsibility, want to stand up and find a way to move tax reform that will help our economy grow, to do the things we believe in, we’re going to be doing it in an environment that is going to be far more hostile than anything that I think we’ve seen for a long, long time.”

While it’s true that there is a tumultuous political climate for Republicans as they face four more years of President Obama, Boehner and fellow House leaders are doing a bang up job of annihilating the GOP themselves.

House Republicans caved on the debt ceiling, which could have been used to educate Americans on the national debt and four straight years $1+ trillion budget deficits, and it looks as though they’re ready to cut a deal on sequestration cuts, which were temporarily postponed as part of the “fiscal cliff” agreement.

Despite overwhelming support for the Budget Control Act of 2011 from Republicans in Congress, the sequester have been railed against due to the automatic defense cuts that are supposed to take effect. House leaders have hinted that they want to substitute other discretionary spending cuts to make up for this.

Conservatives need to get back to limited government roots

There is no doubt that the Republican Party is at a crossroad with many questioning the direction that should be taken to bring them back to electoral success. The biggest obstacle to moving the GOP back to its limited government roots is the political establishment — the dealers and the consultant class — who want to the party to take the road to victory by selling out limited government principles.

This creats a problem for conservatives, many of whom are still trying to make sense of the 2012 election. Many realize the dangers that lie ahead by kowtowing to the party’s political establishment, but they’re weary of trying to stand in their way. They’ve actually bought into the line that the freedom movement is to blame for the problems that have plagued the GOP. Yes, there were some bad candidates that ran in 2012, but the Republican Party’s brand was damaged long before voters ever headed to the polls.

In a recent piece at Commentary, Matt Welch, editor of Reason, explained that conservatives need to start actually practicing what they preach when it comes to limiting the size and scope of government:

Recapping 2012: Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin

Every campaign cycle, there is a politician that puts his foot so far into his mouth that he manages to pop it back into place. This past year, progressive bloggers – and more than a few libertarians ones - were gifted with Todd Akin.

Akin was challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for her Senate seat when he made his now infamous comments about how during “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body had ways to prevent pregnancy. The phrase “legitimate rape” became burned in the lexicon of political discourse.

The comments were a gift from above for McCaskill, who was considered extremely vulnerable before the race, but who easily retained her seat. However, the comments may have done more damage to the Republican Party in general. While many Republicans did condemn Akin’s remarks, a significant number came out in support of Akin which permitted Democrats to continue to paint the GOP as “anti-woman.”

Young libertarians broke for Obama in 2012

youth vote

There was a lot of talk during the election about the libertarian vote thanks in part to Ron Paul’s bid for the White House and the work done by David Boaz, Emily Ekins, and David Kirby at the Cato Institute. Many conservatives spent their time and efforts trying to convince libertarians to vote for Mitt Romney, the Republican Party nominee, rather than voting for Barack Obama or a third-party candidate

While this debate with our conservative friends became heated at times, libertarian voters overwhelmingly cast their ballots for Romney; at least based on what we know. This isn’t exactly surprising since libertarians, though politically independent in nature, have generally been supportive of Republican candidates.

With that said, Republicans are struggling with a segment of libertarian voters that has been all too common of a theme and a reflection of its larger electoral problems. Earlier this month, Emily Ekins — co-author of The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center — noted that Obama took a plurality of young libertarian voters:

Republican political consultants hoping for a comeback

Tea Party Movement

In an op-ed last month at The Daily Caller, Morton Blackwell, founder of the Leadership Institute, noted last month that political consultants are part of the problem within the Republican Party.

Often motivated by financial interests, the political consultant, writes Blackwell, often finds himself branching into lobbying, though “he continues to take some candidates as clients, partly to keep his valuable ties with incumbents and partly because there are in each election cycle some rich candidates and others able to raise big war chests.”

But grassroots activists have threatened political consultants in recent years as insurgent campaigns have become the norm inside the Republican Party. Roll Call notes that this has the insider-class scrambling to regain their power:

The internal battle for the direction of the Republican Party has enveloped Washington’s GOP consultant class, as pragmatic party strategists hired to win campaigns ponder how to reclaim control of the primary process from powerful conservative activist groups.

This developing conflict comes in the aftermath of consecutive election cycles that saw Republicans blow as many as five Senate races because the party nominated flawed candidates over those who were better suited to compete in the general election.

What Is Constitutional Conservatism?

Since the defeat of the Republican Party last month in the elections by our glorious Dear Ruler Barack Obama, many questions are being asked about the Republican Party and by extension the conservative movement. One of the first questions that comes up is how the Republican Party and maybe conservatism itself has to change in order to be competitive in future elections. The future of conservatism is to return to the first principles of limited government, Federalism, and individual liberty. The key to that is by embracing constitutional conservatism.

Constitutional conservatism is what exactly what it says, governing according to the Constitution. Constitutional conservatives like myself believe that the powers of the Federal government are limited, especially by Article 1, Section 8. There is no Constitutional justification for things like the Department of Education, food stamps, Obamaphones, nutrition guidelines and the vast majority of the other things the Federal government does. The Federal government exceeding its Constitutional limits is why we run annual deficits of over $1 trillion and have a national debt of around $16 trillion. The most logical way to bring down the deficit or better yet eliminate it without resorting to job killing tax increases is to eliminate all unconstitutional spending.

Are libertarians welcome in the GOP?

One of the biggest struggles between conservatives and libertarians isn’t over gay marriage, abortion, or even the War on Drugs.  No, its whether libertarians should be faithful to the Republican Party.  This discussion has gotten even louder in recent weeks after Mitt Romney’s defeat at the hands of President Obama.

However, the question I personally have is whether or not libertarians would be even welcome within the party.  My fellow United Liberty contributor, Kevin Boyd, wrote this regarding his thoughts on what libertarians should do:

The solution is simple, we must launch a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. We need encourage our libertarian friends to abandon the Libertarian Party, which has accomplished a grand total of nothing in its 40 years of existence. Conservatives and libertarians need to get involved in the Republican party, especially on the local level. Work your way up the party ranks and eventually become the establishment.

I see what Kevin is saying, and he’s right about the Libertarian Party’s lack of accomplishment.  As a member of that party, I’m extremely frustrated with the poor showing during the last election by Gary Johnson, who I felt was a very solid candidate.

However, Johnson’s appearance on the LP ticket ties into my concerns about whether libertarians would be welcomed within the GOP.  Johnson was a two term governor of New Mexico, a clear fiscal conservative, and a man with solid “small government” credentials.  He was shut out.

Ron Paul made some waves this time around, and much of the derision he faced within the GOP could be argued to be the result of his fanatical supporters and their actions.  However, four years ago, he was right where Johnson was this time around.

 


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