What’s next, GOP?
An exciting era of American history has begun. Bipartisanship (even post-partisanship) is on the front burner. The President is trooping down to the Capitol today to listen to Republicans.
Competence is in; cronyism is out. Effectiveness is in; ideology is out. Diplomacy is in; war is, well, less. A new wave of young people have energized government. A new wave of non-white participation has democratized government.
In one camp, there are the Traditionalists, the people who believe that conservatives have lost elections because they have strayed from the true creed. […]
To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. Rally behind Sarah Palin.
Only one thing is for sure: In the near term, the Traditionalists are going to win the fight for supremacy in the G.O.P.
Brooks argues that the Right still has the institutions, the money, and the Republicans in Congress. Further, it owns the mythology:
Members of the conservative Old Guard see themselves as members of a small, heroic movement marching bravely from the Heartland into belly of the liberal elite. In this narrative, anybody who deviates toward the center, who departs from established doctrine, is a coward, and a sellout.
Zealotry likes to win, but winning isn’t the zealot’s first goal. The first goal is preserving the cause at all costs, for change is threat. Thoughtful self-examination is treason.
Never mind that the cause’s self-image simply isn’t true:
Most professional conservatives are lifelong Washingtonians who live comfortably as organization heads, lobbyists and publicists. Their supposed heroism consists of living inside the large conservative cocoon and telling each other things they already agree with.
So Republicans, Brooks argues, simply haven’t lost enough yet to be convinced that change is needed.
Too bad. Conservatism is an important element of American political discussion. But in isolation, doing little but self-congratulation and putting up roadblocks, it’s an impediment to good government.
I hope they learn their lesson quickly. Brooks doesn’t think it likely:
[T]his embattled-movement mythology provides a rationale for crushing dissent, purging deviationists and enforcing doctrinal purity. It has allowed the old leaders to […] maintain control of (an ever more rigid) movement.
In short, the Republican Party will probably veer right in the years ahead, and suffer more defeats.[…]
What do you think? Where do you see it going? Where would you like for it to go?
Tags: conservatism, GOP, Limbaugh, Hannity, right-wing, Republican+future, Palin, Monte Asbury
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