Free Markets, Free People

A Way Out Of The Wilderness?

Newt Gingrich lays out a succinct 3 step plan for conservatives in the future. It may seem funny that something like this has to be said, but with conservative Republicans wandering in the political wilderness, it’s obvious it must.

This isn’t rocket science, but it is good advice for just about any political movement.

The conservative movement has a simple and almost certainly successful future if it does three things:

1. Advocate first principles with courage, clarity, persistence and cheerfulness.

2. Insist on developing solutions based on those principles and insist on measuring other proposals against those principles.

3. Be prepared to oppose Republicans when they are wrong and side with Democrats when they are right, but always make the decision to support or oppose a matter of first principles and the application of those principles.

Note the last point.  Gingrich isn’t talking about Republicans, although those in charge of the Republican brand could stand to heed the advice.

There’s a reason Gingrich doesn’t use the word “Republican”. It’s because he links this Democratic administration with the past spend-thrift Republican administration:

The Bush-Obama big government, big bureaucracy, politician-empowering, high-tax, high-inflation and high-interest-rate system continues to grow and to place the country in greater and greater danger from inflation, bureaucratic control of the economy, political interference in every aspect of our lives and massive debt.

Remember, we’re on bailout 5 right now. Both Obama and Biden, when Senators, voted “yes” on the first three and are now in the middle of putting the next two together. So the linkage, in my estimation, is correct. This is as much Obama’s problem as it was Bush’s despite his protestations to the contrary. The last two years have seen the Congress under Democratic control, while the executive branch was Republican. The recession is 17 months old, folks and that split government was in charge before the recession developed.

Gingrich hits on another key point:

While telling the truth, we also have to bear the burden of providing solutions and not merely criticism.

That’s critical. Anyone can criticize. Putting plausible solutions together that adhere to the principles of a movement and also are attractive to the citizenry is no easy job. But that is what any movement that wants to be taken seriously must do.

Gingrich concludes with:

Finally, the conservative movement has to learn to reach out to every American who wants a better future through freedom, hard work and opportunity.

Yes, he’s talking about a “big tent” based on only three requirements: a belief in freedom, hard work and opportunity. Conspicuously absent are mentions of wedge issues that normally are identified with Republican politics.

Gingrich’s separation of “conservative” from “Republican” is a warning shot across the bow of the GOP. Shape up or prepare to hear from conservatives. And if Republicans don’t listen, they should prepare to lose conservative support. Conservatives may be finding a way out of the wilderness. It remains to be seen if Republicans will follow.


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15 Responses to A Way Out Of The Wilderness?

  • Sounds good, but is there a site where I can see what the “first principles” are?  I am more libertarian than conservative, so they may not be my first principles.  (Of course, at the end of the day, I’ll take conservative principles over socialist principles any day of the week.)

  • Found it.

    This is a link to American Solutions – the statement of values and priniples.  Haven’t read it yet.

  • <quote>Conspicuously absent are mentions of wedge issues that normally are identified with Republican politics.</quote>

    The problem with that statement is the implicit assumption the “wedge” issues are not also matters of principle, and the corollary assumption they have only minimal popular support.

    For the time being, opposing same-sex-marriage is a “wedge” issue, and quite popular.  So is opposition to abortion-on-demand-at-any-time, although less popular, I think, still a majority position.  Opposition to the malignant non-enforcement of immigration laws  frankly adheres to principles of mercantilism which I oppose, but which are both enshrined in the constitution and the law of the land, and popular.  There is also no recognition here that constitution in exile must be restored, and that the goal must be to do it.

    Telling the populists, the fundamentalists, and the libertarians to get off the bus is no way for the Republicans to exit the wilderness.

    Keep the “wedge” issues.

    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

  • If he wants me to think he actually wants to fix some things that are broken, then all employment benefits should be taxed, the tax should be perfectly flat or have a single per person (payer/dependent) exemption *1, the 17th amendment has to go *2, and the 2nd has to be forced on the states as the 14th demands (anti-gun laws to be limited to consequences imposed for an explicit tort),  the House to be increased in size *3, Social Security to be moved over to defined contribution personal accounts, and then phased out such that no child of this year pays into it ever on their own behalf–only to pay off the obligation we have stupidly created, affirmative action–now obviously defunct, is to vanish.

    *1 Change to be phased in such that no step change is disastrous.

    *2 Three Senators per state, each serving at the pleasure–no fixed terms– of the the executive (direct appointment, no state legislative approval), higher, and lower legislative houses of the state )Nebraska’s one house appoints two), any most senior senator from a state can cast votes otherwise to be cast by senators not present from that state’s delegation.

    *3 How about no more than 50 or 100 thousand citizens per Representative.  Yes this will mean a stadium sized chamber, or simply give up on them all voting together.

    As long as I’m naming a wish list, how about a 4th Senator per state that only citizens who pay net taxes can vote for?  Or a 3rd chamber with electors like qualified from which revenue bills originate?   How about an amendment prohibiting incumbency, banning consecutive terms?


    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

  • The Fairness Doctrine needs to be beaten, shot, poisoned, burned, and the ashes scattered upside down at a crossroads, and stake driven through any more conspicuous bloodstains.  The idea that campaign contributions by individuals can be a constitutionally restricted treated likewise–ban all non-individual contributions like from corporations and unions, fine, those aren’t people.  The only campaign finance refrom to be tolerated is strict and immediate public listing by candidates showing where their money is coming from.  Accepting anonymous and obscured contributions get you time in the pen.

    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

    • The only campaign finance refrom to be tolerated is strict and immediate public listing by candidates showing where their money is coming from.  Accepting anonymous and obscured contributions get you time in the pen.

      I completely agree with that as a requirment but it has to have an app. that is enforced that any person/persons who use the knowledge that you gave to a cause/candidate to harass you be charged with a federal crime, upon conviction be sentenced to no less then 5 years per offence.

      • I don’t know about the minimum sentence, but I agree that failure by individuals in government to prosecute assaults and traditionally criminal harassment because they agree with a “heckler’s veto” is an infringement of rights where prosecutorial discretion should be held to strict scrutiny.  Also, I see no issue with individuals collaborating to anonymously fund electoral activities–but merely insist that no such monies should be given to candidates’ campaigns.

        I do not want Cato, Publius or the Federalists or Anti-Federalists silenced, still less so Silence Dogood.

        Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

  • Is it hopeless to want a socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republican Party?

    A primer:
    – A sane abortion stance – allow it with a few reasonable restrictions
    – Recognize same sex marriage, same rights as hetero, if only to have legal framework when these arrangements break up
    – National health coverage – covers basic needs, maximize private involvement, allow parallel private system for those that don’t want to wait in the queue 
    – More isolationist foreign policy, less ambitious, more like Switzerland..current situation is too costly
    – Simplify tax code – cabinet appointments gone bad clearly show low compliance is endemic
    – Immigration – illegal immigrants need path to naturalization as a way to entice them from shadows. Lawmakers should man up, acknowledge they made a huge mistake on enforcement over last two decades.  The price is to accept those who are here and rigourously enforce borders and policies going forward


    • JasperPantsIs it hopeless to want a socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republican Party?

      Dunno.  Is it hopeless to want a fiscally liberal, socially conservative democrat (spit) party?

      I know that many “moderates” rail against the nasty ol’ social conservatives in the GOP.  On occasion, I wonder if the party doesn’t go too far in supporting a socially conservative agenda.  The problem is that, to a social conservative, there isn’t much room for compromise.  How, for example, do you “compromise” on abortion with people who believe that abortion is the murder of a human being?  How do you “compromise” on same-sex marriage with those who think that marriage is and ought to be exclusively between a man and a woman, and that defining it in any other way is a step onto a slippery slope toward some sort of immoral social anarchy (If two men may marry, then why not three?  If two women may marry, then why can’t one woman marry another woman and another man?)?  There isn’t much gray area on some key issues.

      I think that the same may actually be said about dems (spit), only MiniTru doesn’t talk about such things as “wedge” issues for dems (spit).  There are dems (spit) who support “civil unions”, for example, but not outright gay marriage (I think TAO is among their number, actually), and even Southern “blue dog” dems (spit) who are quite conservative on many social issues.  However, in the interests of having the country ruled by the dems (spit), MiniTru glosses over issues that divide dems (spit), and the rank and file seem to be sufficiently sheep-like that they’ll vote (d) no matter how different the party’s core values are from their own.

      Regarding the GOP and it’s wedge issues, I agree that the best “compromise” that can be struck is some of what you suggest, such as reasonable exceptions for abortion and some sort of civil union for gay couples.  I disagree with others of your proposals (immigration and nationalized health care especially), which puts us back to square one.

      The basic problem is that we’ve got only two major parties to represent over 300 million people.  Nobody is going to be happy with every decision his party makes… which is why we have democracy and majority rule in the first place.

      • I keep hearing differnt (texas slang because I didn’t know how to spell diferent) numbers on the count of the USA 500 million is what I am close to believing 300 million I keep reading.

      • Gay marriage and abortion aren’t wedge issues for no reason. No kidding they are difficult to compromise on.  However, the extreme positions held by the left and the right are not sustainable going forward.

        This is my point: at what time do the two sides bury the hatchet and try to work toward detente on these issues? Do pro-lifers really believe that some form of temporary legislative or executive advantage will see a ban on abortions? Alternatively, do pro-marriage advocates really believe society will one day look upon same sex marriage as the exact equivalent as hetero marriages?  I think the two sides are willing to fight to the bitter end on these issues because they have hope.  Hope that their extreme positions will carry the day.

        Perhaps if this hope is removed somehow, compromise is possible.

    • Now that is what I am looking for cept the health care part. I know their are contridictions in my thoughts but not as many as currently in government.

  • With all kidding aside..Newt is the first effective “big tent compasoinat conservative ” guy around.

    I bet you don’t remeber his speech on “there is a third way”? One world government.

    He did make the tent big enough to win for awhile at the expance of …well being conservative.

    Brought a few Rino with him like half the republican congress.

    Like Bush talks a game but not so lil government sided.

  • The GOP is going to split.  It cannot survive trying to hold Teddy Roosevelt conservative ideas together with Social legislators and fiscal irresponsible charlatans.  It also cannot survive with the has beens from the last failed team trying to recover it’s former time in the sun.  The GOP never really understood that the country and the world was changing around them and their response was to be reactive and ignore facts that didn’t meet the image they wanted.  On the 200th birthday of Darwin it is clear that to not adapt to the changes around you mean you cannot survive.  I don’t believe in supporting a dying model and neither should anyone.  Let the GOP split and someone new with REAL ideas show the way.  The ideas germinated during the depression in response to FDR and regulation combined with religious fundamentalism in the later years has warped the real conservative/progressive ideals.  There are real lessons to be learned and Conservatives need smart people and not image makers, but unfortunately this GOP has branded being smart and learned as a vice.