Free Markets, Free People

Who Speaks For The GOP?

That was a question put to Americans in a poll:

The question flummoxes most Americans, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, which is among the reasons for the party’s sagging state and uncertain direction.

A 52% majority of those surveyed couldn’t come up with a name when asked to specify “the main person” who speaks for Republicans today.

Frankly, given the current crop of GOP “leaders” that’s probably a good thing.


15 Responses to Who Speaks For The GOP?

  • Who cares? Why does the party that espouses faith in free markets, atleast generally, need centralized organization and a clearly identified national spokesperson?  A big tent can hold many different people talking about many different things at the same time.

    The GOP, as a whole, should be concentrating on wininng back the Congress.  The next time the GOP needs a clearly idfentified national leader is for 2012 election.

    Related question on this post:  Who was “the main person” who spoke for the Democratic party six months following Bush’s two inaugurals?

  • No surprises.  I’d wager that Americans couldn’t really say what the party even stands for these days.  Again, no surprise, as the party itself doesn’t seem to know.  Part of the problem is the whole “big tent” ideal: in an effort to increase the size of the party, it (shall we say?) let’s anybody in the door no matter what their actual ideology.  MiniTru gleefully stokes this fire by demanding that the GOP be “inclusive”, then highlighting the differences between Republicans and selecting our spokesmen for us by deciding which Republicans get the most air time.  Hence, we see quite a lot of John McCain (while he was still The Maverick, that is), that mincing pantywaist Graham, Chuck Hagel, and a couple of other rather liberal Republicans who are only too happy to bash on the conservatives.  O’ course, the conservatives get their own innings on talk radio, Fox News, and in blogs.  The dems reap the rewards of this infighting.

    But I digress.

    Until the party makes up its mind what it really stands for other than “big tent” and “democrat lite”, it will continue to flounder, rudderless and leaderless.

  • Frankly, given the current crop of GOP “leaders” that’s probably a good thing.

    Absolutely a good thing, given the complete collapse of principles in the party at the national level. The growing popular distaste for socialism in its various guises will not result in enthusiastic support for anyone in the GOP with an establishment stench about them. That may even include people such as Gingrich, who arguably got out before the worst of the slide into Democrat lite.

    It leaves open the possibility of someone coming from outside DC with some real determination to achieve change. I don’t know who that would be; I consider the current possibilities with the highest profile (Jindal and Palin) lightweights, even if their hearts are mostly in the right place.

    I’m unsure whether Pawlenty’s recent aggressive resistance to spending in Minnesota is real principle or that he senses opportunity and wants to put his marker down. Same with Sanford, though I believe the chances are higher that he’s operating from principle.

    But we’ve got two years unti the next presidential campaign begins in earnest, and with the volatility in politics and economics, that’s enough time for things to turn upside down once or twice. I have hopes that someone will pick up the leadership badge on fighting socialism, with zeal and without apology. I believe the popular response to that would stun our current tingle-thighed media. 

    • Billy Hollis… I consider the current possibilities with the highest profile (Jindal and Palin) lightweights, even if their hearts are mostly in the right place.

      Why do you consider them to be “lightweights”?  Please understand that I’m not trying to start an argument; I’d really like to know.  Palin especially gets ripped up by MiniTru and in the pop culture for being stupid and ignorant, but I’m not sure that makes her a “lightweight”, especially compared to Joe Biden or even (dare I say it?) The Annointed One.

      In contrast, I’d say that there is little debate over whether John McCain, Lindsey Graham, or even Newt Gingrich are “heavyweights”, but are they the sort that should be leading the GOP?  Was Reagan a heavyweight?  What makes a politician a lightweight in the first place?

      • Did you ever see Reagan when he got pissed off and lost it a little? He never did that, in public, as President, which I always thought was one of his more remarkable achievements during his eight years in the White House. But when he was governor of California he really got pissed off at least this one time, I think it was at some student protesters, and he just made the air around him form blisters.

        He was a heavyweight. All that stuff about him being an “amiable dunce.” The guy was a freight train. Back when he came roaring into the GOP the party establishment was not conservative. He made it a conservative party.

        When Palin speaks extemporaneously she sounds like a fool. Her jibber-jabber is infuriating double-talk. She should shut up for ten years and learn to clarify her thoughts and how to express them succinctly. It could be an insurmountable project, but it would take at least a decade in any case.

        Jindal is a schoolboy, thrust too soon into the national spotlight. He needs to age about 15 years very quickly. I recommend lots of Jack Daniels and cigarettes.

        Gingrich is a heavyweight but old news. Reagan had a few big ideas. Gingrich has eighty and wants to be his own policy wonk for each one.

        Rudy Giuliani is a heavyweight but no one ever recovers from being mayor of NYC. He could return to politics if he wants to be governor of New York. There’s a thankless job waiting for him there. He could save the state, maybe.

        To be a heavyweight contender for President you have to have face, presence, and personal, direct intelligence. Some people within range of that in the GOP are Jeff Sessions, Rick Perry, John Ensign and a few others whose names and/or faces don’t come immediately to mind. None of them are Reagan. I would mention Jeb Bush, but frankly I think I’m totally done with Bushes. 

        • Martin McPhillipsTo be a heavyweight contender for President you have to have face, presence, and personal, direct intelligence.

          I agree that one SHOULD have these things.  As we’ve seen from the last election (perhaps the last several*), one needs these things less than he needs a synchophantic media, a totally lackluster opponent, or a huge dose of luck!

          I suggest, however, that the most important thing a presidential contender needs is a good message.  This is where McCain fell so woefully short: his message was that he wasn’t really George Bush v2.0.  The Annointed One didn’t really need a message, but “Hope and Change” worked quite well: it sounded good (Americans are optimistic people) and was vague enough that people could read into it whatever they wanted.

          It seems to me pretty hard to say what makes a heavyweight presidential contender, because so much depends on the situation.  For example, could Reagan have beaten Carter if the Iranian hostage crisis had never happened?  Could Clinton have beaten Bush Classic had we not been in the middle of mild recession in ’92?  Could Bush have beaten Gore had it not been for Slick Willie’s peccadillos?  Who can say?  Newt Gingrich is pretty smart and well-read, but (as you say) he’s too wonkish: he’s a cabinet secretary or advisor, not a president.  You named some senators.  They probably are pretty bright and well-informed, but the stuff that makes a good legislator – who seldom has to make a lone, critical decision – doesn’t necessarily make a good president.


          (*) Lest it be thought that I’m one of those who thinks that Bush is an idiot, this is not the case.  However, it can’t be denied that the man has the “presence” of the amiable dunce that Reagan was supposed to have been.  Slick Willie had (and has) the presence of a combination of used car salesman and lovable, ne’er-do-well uncle: he’s charming as hell, but you know darned well not to believe ANYTHING he says and NEVER lend him money.

      • Why do I consider them lightweights? Martin pretty much nailed it on Palin. I just don’t see any signs of deep thought there. On Jindal, the fact that he took up with the creationists dropped my opinion of him a few notches.

        As I said, I think their hearts are generally in the right place on scaling back government, but it’s going to take a heavy hitter to make that case effectively in the face of a media almost completely united against them.

        • Gotta disagree about Palin.  Most of what I saw and heard during the campaign was fine with me.  The media and Hollywood did their level best to portray her as a lightweight.  They apparently succeeded quite well with a lot of people.  However, I refuse to allow the MSM to pick my candidate.  I would vote for Palin in 2012.  Maybe then the republicans will actually fight back and defend “their own”.  Plus, Palin will have had four more years of seasoning.  I am not a Palin fanatic.  I just want  a “real” person for a change.

        • I often wonder if there’s any hitter heavy enough to deal with the relentless media coverage that Republican candidates face.  After seeing what was done to Palin, I can’t see why anybody in his (or her) right mind would want to be the GOP nominee.

          Which, I suppose, is exactly why MiniTru does what they do.

  • So Baracky’s attempt to brand the GOP with Limbaugh is a failure?

  • The Lorax! 

    Oh…wait….he speaks for the trees. 
    Yep, the Republicans are pretty much screwed right now – which is why they’re where they are in DC.
    I worry less about how they’re going to run for President, and more for who they’re going to put in the legislature in 2010.

    Palin is poison – I think she’s capable, but SNL & Tina Fey did such a good job of branding her (and the relentless attacks on the woman CONTINUE) that she’s a non-starter.  The media can’t tell the difference between her and her portrayal by Fey.  In fact they work pretty hard to make it one and the same even now.

    While I don’t find Jindal to be any less of a lightweight than the Lightworker himself, in reality I don’t think he’s ready for President but appears to have good potential (oh wait, I can’t be thinking that, he’s not a white guy, and we know as a conservative I just have to have a white guy….)

    We haven’t heard the last of Romney though.
    Still I just don’t think there’s a good, let alone great, candidate any more for 2012 – I’dlike to  suggest Thompson, but once bitten, twice shy now.

    Good Lord, I just realized Obama is going to have to destroy the joint completely in order for a Republican to win.

  • Who – before Obama won – spoke for the Democrats?  I think the whole idea of a single spokesperson is a silly, pointless exercise.  It’s not relevant and I really doubt it’s even worth being on the GOP’s top 10 problems list.

    • They need a credible national face, if for no other purpose than making sure the Democrats (and the media, but I repeat myself) don’t get to keep redefining who they are to the advantage of the Democratic party.

      Prior to Obama, and for a long time, it appeared to be Terry McAwful for the Democrats and for a while after that Howling Howard Dean.  Logically that implies I’d think it was  Michael Steele now, but again, I don’t see it, they need a better one than Steele. 

      Not that either of those are good ones, but that just goes to help my point in a way.
      Reagan would be nice… Is the Tlielaxu ghola ready yet?

  • The real problem for the GOP is that this phenomenon was true for most of the last 2 years.
    For some reason, known only “W” and his future memoirs publisher, he stopped defending himself.
    As far as that grumpy old guy, many GOPers voted against Obama than voted for the grumpy old guy.