Sunday, November 09, 2008

Post-election Reflection

1. Conservatives ought to be wary of opponents bearing advice. A case in point is the idea that we must jettison the "Sarah Palin" wing of the party. I'm not sure what that wing is, although I suppose it means social conservatism. It's hard for me to see how that is the lesson to be drawn from successive election defeats in which social issues were not predominant. This election turned out to be about the economy. If there is any imperative for conservatives, it is about how to fashion policies that help the market to work for the middle class and to learn how to articulate the way in which it does apart from talk about taxes.

2. Incidentally, the Palin bashing by McCain's people and his silence on it are shameful. The charges are facially incredible and the idea that McCain lost because of Palin is silly. He lost the election on September 15.

3. We should be careful about talk of realignment or a new Democratic era. In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected President and there were 292 Democrats in the House and 61 in the Senate. Our new President was also thought to be transformative. He was the first Southerner to have been elected without having first served as Vice President since Reconstruction and this was said to have healing and racially redemptive qualities. He was said to be a breath of fresh air after the imperial and heavy handed Nixon presidency. He spoke of moral renewal and a government as good as the American people. I recall that he walked during the Inaugural Parade and everyone swooned. There was - I was there and remember - talk about how the youth vote (that would have been me and my contemporaries) meant the end of the GOP. Four years later, the Dems had lost 49 seats in the House, 15 in the Senate and the Presidency.

4. I note that, in today's Washington Post, an omsbudsman came to the conclusion that the paper had been biased in favor of Obama and that gambling has been going on at Rick's nightclub in Casablanca. Sorry, they say, our bad. That's ok. The New York Times is still stuck on the first step. It looks like the Post has already moved to the fifth ("Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.")

5. Lighten up on the Nancy Reagan joke. It was funny.

12 comments:

Terrence Berres said...

"Lighten up on the Nancy Reagan joke. It was funny."

Timelessly so? Maybe I'll bring that combination Jimmy Carter bust/peanut dish out of storage.

Dad29 said...

it is about how to fashion policies that help the market to work for the middle class and to learn how to articulate the way in which it does apart from talk about taxes

Yup.

"Economics 101"--really, an understanding of elementary business principles and a soupcon of "money in banking"--along with personal finance 101, is all it takes.

Rick Esenberg said...

If you do, crack open a Billy beer.

Terrence Berres said...

I seem to recall an SNL bit on Khomeini as Karnak.

A. (sings) Day-O! Daaay-O...

Q. (opens envelope) What was the day before we took the hostages?

George Mitchell said...

If the Nancy Reagan "joke" was "funny," why did he apologize?

stephen said...

"2. Incidentally, the Palin bashing by McCain's people and his silence on it are shameful. The charges are facially incredible and the idea that McCain lost because of Palin is silly. He lost the election on September 15."

Couldn't agree more. McCain could not have gone out with more class with the concession speech he gave. Truly gracious and it's unfortunate a. that wasn't the only McCain we saw and b. that that sort of candidate couldn't have won either. All these stories coming out just tarnish his image and his former staffers should be ashamed of themselves.

On their face, I have a hard time believing many of them & think it's just scapegoating. But even if everything is true, there is no reason for them to air the dirty laundry. The only legitimate concern - that if they really are true she'd hurt the party if she ran again - is unnecessary. Look at losing VP candidates in recent history: Edwards, Lieberman, Jack Kemp, Quayle, Lloyd Bentsen, & Geraldine Ferraro. That alone makes it look like a pretty safe bet she's done. But even if that weren't the case, this stuff could be told behind closed doors to other party insiders and it would just as certainly end her national career. Absolutely no need to stoop so low and it flies in the face of the quite impressive due respect I've seen from many Republicans given to Obama.

Anonymous said...

It's not a question of jettisoning the "Sarah Palin" wing of the Republican Party. There's no doubt that the Republican Party cannot win many elections in the short to medium term unless it continues to cobble together a coalition of "values voters" -- i.e., the "Sarah Palin" wing -- libertarians, small-business conservatives, and the rich.

It's a matter of jettisoning Sarah Palin. There are enough voters in the Republican Party who'll vote for the party, though they may not fully agree with the party's "values" agenda, as long as that agenda is advanced by an articulate and inclusive leader. Example: Log Cabin Republicans (are there still any of them?).

But if you put someone like Palin at the top of the ticket, you're going to lose a lot of thoughtful moderate conservatives -- people who agree with David Brooks that Palin is a "cancer" on the party.

You can nominate someone like Bobby Jindal, a pro-life Roman Catholic who opposes embryonic stem cell research, but is a Rhodes Scholar and otherwise aware of the fact that Africa is a continent, not a country, etc.

But keep on nominating Sarah Palin, and, if you think you're going to win any (presidential) elections, I want some of that reefer you're smoking!

Anonymous said...

If intelligence is the only measure of Presidentiality... shouldn't Stephen Hawking be our next president?

Publius said...

“History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
-- Mark Twain

Rick I find myself agreeing with you that the Obama candidacy echoes of many of the themes of the Carter candidacy.

We find ourselves dissatisfied with the war or the economy or the situation the present administration has plunged us into and we seek a change.

Perhaps Barack should spend the time between now and his inauguration studying the strengths and weaknesses of the Carter Presidency.

Carter was an outsider and a fresh face. A conciliatory good man, a man who wanted to reform the moral fiber of the presidency.

Nevertheless, his being an outsider was actually a hinderance.

He appeared to misunderstand the Washington, D.C. machinery, and hence his moral reform and transformation never seemed to get any traction.

Chris said...

Ummmm Billy Beer. We elected the wrong Carter.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys,

I'm new here.
I'm looking for a [url=http://www.botmag.com/forum/member.php?u=8049 ]lawyer[/url]! :(
Can anyone help me out here!?

I've already tried http://www.QSLaw.com

Anonymous said...

simply dropping by to say hey