Don’t Write the GOP’s Obituary Just Yet
By: Craig Chamberlain
It’s a common theme in elections. Whenever the Republicans get rebuked by the voters the liberal mouthpieces in the media and the weak kneed RINO’s get the same old song and dance going. The GOP is too conservative we’re told. In order for the GOP to survive into the future it must become the second coming of the Progressive party. It needs to renounce conservatives like John Cornyn, and Rep. Shaddegg and embrace Republicans like Wayne Gilchrest and Christopher Shays. Oh… wait Shays and Gilchrest both got thrown out of office, so much for the safety of moderation. The RINO wing of the Republican party is all but dead and buried, it’s now just pretty much down to Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Arlen Specter. So making a mad dash to the left is hardly the way to go.
Of course for many of the talking heads the perfect scapegoat is that horrible bogeyman the “religious right” that imminent threat to the republic, the bible believing, church going Christians. This terrible hydra is somehow responsible not only for all the electoral problems facing the GOP but for all the problems facing the country at large. Many, Kathleen Parker first among them, favors jettisoning this wing of the GOP. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The Republican party has many factions, Religious conservatives, economic conservatives (and this can be divided up between supply siders and deficit hawks), federalists, hawks, libertarians each one important to the party.
Without the religious conservatives the Republican base would be what, country club republicans griping about taxes and bad behavior among todays youth? Hardly the way to go. A party does not survive by throwing its base to the wolves. Not only would the GOP never regain power, it woud be a faction. It wouldn’t even rate being called a party. The GOP didn’t lose because of fiscal and social conservatism, it lost because the GOP stopped being the party of conservatism. We just became another big government, big spending, pro Washington party.
The way to go is to actually practice our beliefs. A little history lesson, in 1932 the Republicans lost over 100 seats in the House of Represenatives. It is, to date, the worst defeat they have ever suffered in Congressional elections. By the election of 1938 they only had 88 seats in the House. That year they charged back and gained 72 seats making themselves a relevant party again and setting the stage for recapturing Congress in 1946. And did they do it by slavishly embracing FDR and his New Deal? No they rejected statism and fought it. In 1964 the Republicans lost 36 seats in the House and Watched Barry Goldwater go down in a landslide. Back then the talking heads said the exact same thing. Conservatism was holding the Republicans back, only by rejecting conservatism and moving to the left could the GOP hope to make any gains. Same song, different singers. Just two years later the GOP gained 47 seats in the off year elections, and saw Nixon win in a landslide in 1968 and 1972.
Conservatism hadn’t made the Republican party moribund, it was the fuel it needed for winning elections. To seeing Reagan elected in 1980 and 1984, to seeing the Republicans reclaim congress in 1994 it has been the conservative principles guiding the Republican party that have seen it through. We won’t get anywhere by trying to out democrat the democrats.
Small Government, low taxes, strong defense, and defending the culture of life aren’t losing positions. More Americans still consider themselves conservatives rather than liberals. 2006 and 2008 weren’t the first time the voters turned away the GOP and they won’t be the last. But our stay in the political wilderness will be all the shorter if we adhere to our conservative principles rather than runaway from them.