Part Two of Seven
Ronald Reagan isn’t coming back. He wasn’t coming back when George H.W. Bush was president and raised taxes to trigger a post-Cold War recession. He wasn’t coming back when Bob Dole ran a tired, stiff campaign against Bill Clinton. He wasn’t coming back when George W. Bush ran on nation building and compassionate conservativism, whatever that was supposed to mean. He certainly wasn’t coming back when Bush narrowly beat John Kerry, and was long gone when John McCain replayed the Dole campaign, complete with more conservative running mate. And we saw that the most Reaganesque candidate of all, including humility, good nature, and fine humor, Mitt Romney was leg reaped within two hours of the polls closing.
No matter how hard the GOP master tacticians—not strategists, but tacticians—fervently pray and high-five every candidate who finally is selected by the popular media, Reagan isn’t coming back.
Conservatives need to face that—the era that produced a man like Ronald Reagan is gone, and in some respects…well, maybe it shouldn’t come back. The events which shaped Ronald Reagan (world war, depression, cold war, and a painful economy) ought never to come back. Instead, perhaps what we need is not a new Reagan, but a new Coolidge.
We cannot get a Calvin Coolidge with today’s leadership. The princes of thought are men like George Will, who confidently stressed the ease with which Romney would win and then completely ignored his humiliating prediction the day after. Or men like Dick Morris, who eagerly assured voters that Romney would win by hundreds of electoral votes and then completely changed his analysis after the loss was realized.
Or more pathetically someone like Karl Rove, who announced in complete denial that Ohio was still within reach of Romney, because there might be another thousand votes misplaced somewhere that could offset the tens of thousands by which Romney was losing, and begged for more time like an unprepared but arrogant test taker startled by the ding of the pencils-down bell.
The Republican party should immediately thank these men for their years of service, but then ask them to step away from political analysis for they continually provide years of disservice.
The GOP punditry is not working out. We need new intellect: in 2008 and 2012, these professed masters were beaten by David Axelrod—who is little more than a used car salesman stuck with a cursed car.
Step One: Get someone from his staff, someone who was fired and is looking to show up his old boss. Learn from him how the Democrats manipulated, tricked, connived, and teased out votes. Learn their techniques, and then dump him before he becomes a liability.
Step Two: realize you are being manipulated only hours after the election. Already, Republican experts are poring through spreadsheets of exit voter data, eager to find something…anything that will reveal how they can win back a couple of Yiddish-speaking female Presbyterian Penguins fans between the ages of 19.3 and 21.8 with blonde hair. This sort of over-analysis is paralyzing the Republicans election after election, and is caused by Democrats tricking Republicans into thinking that voters can be pigeon-holed. Democrats play identity politics; when Republicans try it, they lose. Republicans should be looking for unifying themes, and not divisive panaceas. More on this tomorrow. Today’s solution is to stop wasting time.
Step Three: capitalize on what you have. Republicans won governorships like crazy. Republicans have the House, and control numerous state legislatures. Rather than find your next Reagan among Senators and retiring governors, build your next Coolidge from these smaller groups.
Democrats took over this way: they started with local elections, went on to win county seats, and then state positions. Eventually, the number of candidates got so large that the Democrats could readily pick their best, and their public already knew them. Voters put many, many Republicans into starting positions.
Start building up, rather than trickling talent down. Block the Democrats from winning small campaigns so that their pool begins to sublimate. Take over state legislatures. Make many small government reforms at the local levels so that the public buys into the message. Win the ones you can win.
And by doing so, you create conditions where old, tired and delusional pundits are no longer needed.