Toe the Party Line

New Majority has a brief interview/profile of a Stanford college senior with a nifty politcal background.  The fella organized well for Mitt Romney in 2008 and has big plans the the Republican party.  Part of his advice for the future of the party…

Expanding the ‘youth vote’ to include those under thirty, Republicans can benefit by offering up a message to the upwardly mobile, essentially proclaiming ourselves the party of opportunity. As people distance themselves from college, get a job and a spouse, they are going to be much more inclined toward the Grand Old Party. If we can continue and improve upon our micro-targeting techniques, we can effectively organize this group into active Republicans that will vote the party line the remainder of their lives. Importantly, we need to ensure that the RNC Youth Coalition is prepared to take on all of these roles while we take steps toward being both tech and trend savvy.

I’m with him on most of it, because we aren’t talking about revolutionary stuff here: try to present an image of pragmatism devoid of the less naive pie-in-the sky idealism and be at the forefront of microtargeting and tech advances.  But, I still can’t stomache the plea to create Republican robots who vote the party line no matter what until they die.  Is that really what an organized party seeks to accomplish?  The short answer is yes.  But that doesn’t mean it is the right answer.

What possible good comes from instilling a blind allegience to some human-made organization, based on some random big picture generalities and without close scrutiny of the proposals and results of each individual candidate?  Nothing good comes from that.  It is how we got where we are.

The ironic thing is that earlier in the interview this young leader revealed the origins of his conservatism…

“When I was in junior high, a girl I had a crush on told me her favorite book was George Orwell’s 1984. I read that book and became so terrified at the prospect of a totalitarian government that I really began to self-identify intellectually as a conservative.

Building a massive political organization fueled by blind followers for life to avoid totalitarianism?  That doesn’t add up.

National GOP = Off the Reservation

I have no words to describe the national Republican Party.  Chaotic.  Rudderless.  Torn.  Confusing.  Lost.  Broken.  That is the stream of conscious version.  If you watch network TV and hear mention of the GOP, than it most likely is some version of  this reapeated over and over:

1. Chariman Michael Steele says something that seeks to paint the GOP as a more moderate party.  For example, “On if women have the right to choose an abortion: “Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.” 

On whether homosexuality is a choice: “Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, ‘Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.’ It’s like saying, ‘Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.'” 

2.  Then he takes all kinds of heat from some GOP salwarts.  See HERE and HERE.

3.  Third, Steele panics and says the complete opposite thing.  For example, he in fact opposes abortion and supports a Constitutional ban, Ben Smith reports. 

4. Finally, another established GOP figure whispers about Steele being taken out. 

If it wasn’t so sad, it would be hilarious.  

This is a mess that must sort itself out, because it represents a battle between the two fractions of the Republican Party.  It’s very much generational, though not exactly split by age.  

One side thinks “conservative” means that there is an unalterable, ironclad set of rules that should never change and are not up for moderation.  The other side thinks that “conservative” means a governing philosophy based in caution, pragmatism, and defaults to less government involvement.

Count me as a supporter of the latter version.  We will win in the end.  But it may take my entire lifetime before the conversion is actually complete.  The Steele silliniess is just the opening.

Greatest Conservative Movies

Venerable conservative mag National Review listed its favorite Conservative movies of all time.  Forgetting for a moment that the National Review has devolved from a sophisticated ideas machine that helped create the classic conservative movement into a partisan hackjob, their list offers many familiar flicks that most wouldn’t immediately recognize as having a conservative message…

Things like Groundhog Day, The Incredibles, Ghostbusters, and Lord of the Rings (I, II, and III).

 

In celebration of the NR list, Jonathan Swift has made up his own list of conservative movies, with explanations.   Swift always has a bit more subtle humor, but I like it.  Checkout the whole list, but consider…

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Matthew Broderick plays Ferris Bueller, who decides he has had enough of liberal indoctrination and skips school on the day of a test about European socialism in protest.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Why aren’t there more films for children that celebrate free-market capitalism? […] After finding a golden ticket in his chocolate bar, Charlie meets Willy Wonka, an entrepreneur who has built his candy empire through constant innovation, corporate espionage and cheap labor. […] In a free market economy, the kids learn, some will succeed and others will end up as giant blueberries. 

Home Alone

But on a deeper level it is a parable about what would happen if we didn’t have a Second Amendment. Luckily, Culkin is able to fend off the incompetent criminals who try to break into his home by using ingenious homemade weaponry. […] If you went on vacation and accidentally left your child at home, wouldn’t you feel a lot better if you knew there was a loaded gun in the house that your child could easily access? I know I would. 

Wizard of Oz

Dorothy is desperate to flee the perversions of Munchkinland, Afghanistan-like poppy fields and urban ghettos of the Emerald City and return home to safe Republican Kansas, where morality is clearly delineated in black and white.

Patch Adams

…is about a doctor who did have a subscription to Reader’s Digest, and realized that all the cheap pharmaceuticals illegally imported from Canada in the world are no match for comedy hijinks.

Jaws

Animals are not really cute and loveable little creatures, living together in harmony in the forest, as animal rights activists would have you believe. Many of them are vicious, amoral killing machines like the shark in Jaws, who would like nothing better than to bite PETA members in half given the chance.

Huntsman

Utah Governor Jon Hunstman has made this blog before.  You may recall that a few weeks ago he unexpectedly came out in support of civil unions. Think about that: A Republican Governor with deep personal Mormon roots in Utah publically supported a bill that was opposed by 70% of his citizens and ultimately was demolished in the state legislature.

That made me take notice.  In a good way.  And I think you should too.

Politico has a nice piece on the Governor (and future Presidential candidate).  I’ve taken the liberty of extracting some key parts of the article so that you can glean the goodness of Gov. Huntsman without having to read each of the three pages of the article….

Largely under the radar of the national media and even out of sight of many in his own party, Huntsman, 48, is emerging as an articulate, unapologetic and unlikely spokesman for a new brand of Republicanism […]

The party needs to be more intellectually rigorous, and to compete for the votes of the young, the elites and minorities, he said in an interview with POLITICO. To do so, the GOP needs to tack toward the middle on environment, gay rights and immigration. […]

“We cannot become the anti-science party and succeed,” he said. “We have to be intellectually honest as a party, and I think we’ve drifted a little bit from intellectual honesty in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, for example, where they would use rigorous science to back up many of their policies, and in this case many of their environmental policies. […]

Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker who was once Ambassador to Singapore, cited Reagan’s shift to a more moderate stance on China but also hinted at areas where the conservatives of today may find fault with their sainted Gipper. 

“He wasn’t afraid to negotiate with the evildoers in the world,” said Huntsman, using a word associated with another president who was emphatically opposed to engaging America’s enemies. “You know, in some cases we shy away from confrontation, meeting people on the world stage. He sat down with Gorbachev.”