The Conservative movement, and the Republican Party generally, need to cut out the internecine sniping and concentrate on the real problem: the destruction being done by current—and over the last 80 years—Progressive policies. Herewith, some advice, even though it’s unasked for.
You need to study the Progressive movement and the mechanism they’ve used for making the gains they’ve made up to the Obama administration, and the naked power grab in which the Obama administration is engaged. Until Obama, they made their gains by sticking to their core principles and accepting smaller changes than they wanted—to keep you coming along, while they made those smaller, but positive, gains in their direction.
You of the Conservative movement, similarly, need to stick to your core principles, but you must be willing to take incremental steps, and to accept gradualism in moving things back to the right, back to limited government. This, of course, means you have to become better communicators, too, getting out into the neighborhoods of your and your Democrat neighbors’ constituents and into their newspapers and televisions. In this era of a news “medium” that’s generally hostile to Conservative principles, you also have to learn to bypass this medium as well as use it: that’s what the social media are for. The NLMSM can’t manipulate those.
In last five years, the Progressives have gotten their way with a my way or the highway, all or nothing, tactic because they’ve had the votes to force it in the first part of that period, and in the last three years, they’ve still had the luxury of no coherent, united opposition, even when they didn’t have the votes in one branch of Congress. Get over yourselves.
These last several years, with the euphoria of the 2010 election outcome and the bitterness of the 2012 outcome having clouded your judgment, you’ve been trying for yourselves the Progressive all or nothing tactic. How’s that been working out for you? You demanded no tax increase at all in the fall of 2012 Fiscal Cliff fiasco, even scotching Boehner’s Plan B before either getting a vote in the Senate (putting each Democrat, individually, on record as rejecting a small increase in favor of a big one) or forcing Reid, Schumer, and Durbin onto the record as being too afraid of the issue even to permit a vote. Your result was an even bigger tax increase—on $400k or more income—than you could have gotten away with. This is not progress at all; you lost ground.
You demanded to entirely defund Obamacare in one fell swoop, even at expense of shutting down government. That felt good, surely, but it was very damaging politically, hurting your and Party chances in the Senate elections in 2014. And the concrete result here was another spending increase. Again, you lost ground.
Now you’re demanding a total rewrite of the tax code all in one fell swoop, ignoring the lessons of the Obamacare law, which rewrote the health industry in one fell swoop—and is a failed law, as much because it overreached in one step as because of the goals of Obamacare. You’ll get a similar lack of success from a whole hog effort on the tax code.
No. You must move for compromise, for bipartisan solutions—if other party has a role in the solution, it’ll be a more stable foundation from which to move the question further in your direction on the next go-round. Notice that: it’s possible to compromise while maintaining your core principles, while accepting smaller moves in your preferred direction than you want. It’s what the Progressives have been doing for four generations. Are they really that much smarter than you?
Furthermore, you must recognize that the work is never done, there’s always more for the next year, more for the next session. Even were you to get, for instance, the tax code completely revamped all in one bill, it still would need improvement. But working from a stable outcome generated this year makes working toward next year’s progress easier.
Thus: move incrementally, accept a smaller tax cut, for instance, or smaller spending cut, this year, while holding out for those cuts (and no accounting gimmicks, either: real cuts this year, not phantom reductions in growth rates in the out years), so you can work for further cuts in the other, or both, next year.
You must stop, for now, the arguments over raising the debt ceiling. You don’t have the votes in the Senate to win this one today, and the Progressives in the Senate don’t care about the threat of default. They know you’ll get the blame for it in today’s news climate. Besides, and more importantly (gradually) cutting spending to less than tax revenues (while also cutting tax rates and—gradually—rationalizing the tax code) will lead to eliminated deficits for the current year, which will eliminate borrowing in the next year, which will make the debt ceiling irrelevant.
You Conservatives today are acting like Obama Progressives with your all or nothing, right damn now, positions, and that’s a losing proposition while you don’t have the votes, and it’s a losing proposition even were you to get the votes—look at the animus generated by the Progressives’ all or nothing, their way or the highway Obamacare.
To Conservatives, then: by all means, force a vote—in the Senate, too, or force Reid, Schumer, Durbin, et al., on the record as too fearful of a vote—on a debt ceiling raise paired with commensurate spending cuts, but then let the debt ceiling raise go through. Don’t let that argument become a distraction from Obama’s failed Obamacare, his failed economic policies, his failure to promote job creation, his denigration of the private sector. Stay focused and win the Senate while increasing your hold on the House in 2014, and do the same (while increasing your hold on the Senate) while winning the White House, too, in 2016.
Accept, separately, smaller spending cuts, a lesser tax reform than you want. On those items’ passage, come back the next year, the next session, again and again, with more, building on the little steps—they’ll take you to the full cuts and the full reform.
With the victories in 2014 and 2016 (and in the later election cycles), you can begin serious repair of the Progressives’ damage.
To Republicans: listen to the Conservatives, incorporate their ideas. They’re sound—and they won’t give ground as easily as you’ve done these last 80 years. Your own performance has only been to allow the drift to the left, as the Democrats and their Progressives have executed incrementalism better than you’ve resisted it.
To RINOs: shut up. Whacko bird-ism just makes you indistinguishable from Progressives. You have no credibility.
To Conservatives and Republicans: develop a unified message that both of you can push. And get out and push it.