Free Markets, Free People

Jeb Bush To GOP – Stop Being The Party Of “No”

Worst. Advice. Ever.

Seriously.  I hear this all the time, and it is nonsense. It gives credence to opposition propaganda spin.

It is bad advice because it conflates the job of legislators with the party’s job of building the party and attracting new voters.  And that’s true for both parties.  The GOP is supposedly the ideological opposite of the Democrats.  That would tell most voters that the GOP most likely to oppose what the Democrats propose in the legislative process.

Guess what – that makes them the party of “no”.  That’s their job, if they believe in the ideological principles which supposedly undergird their party.  As I recall it, the Democrats had absolutely no problem being the party of “no” when they were in the minority.  In fact, they reveled in it.  And look where they are now.

He told the group that Republicans are often “too nostalgic” and that the party needs to be more “forward looking” in order to regain national success. Bush reminded the audience that voter demographics are changing and called for the party to become more “youthful” and to abandon their image as “the old white guy party.” “Tone matters,” Bush said, “in twenty or so years our country will have a minority majority.”

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the party must move towards the center. When asked by a student if the party platform needed to become more moderate on social issues, Bush replied, “no.” Rather, he stressed that Republicans “need to apply conservative principles to 21st century problems.”

What Bush describes here is the job of the party, not its legislative representatives. Their job is to represent their constituency and to oppose legislation that isn’t in keeping with the desires of their constituency and ideology. That means, when Democrats are in power, saying “no” a lot.

On the other hand, where is the GOP’s plan to become more ‘youthful’? Where is it’s media campaign to change the “tone”?
Where is the plan to “apply conservative principles to 21st century problems?” Or, more succinctly, why hasn’t the party produced these plans in anticipation of the fight for Congressional seats in 2010?

As far as I can tell, the party is AWOL in all those areas.

In the meantime, the GOP legislators, for the most part, are doing precisely the job they should be doing – if the GOP actually believes in the principles they espouse – and that is being the party of “no”. And if they want to build any credibility at all, they must continue to be the party of “no” (just as the Democrats would be if the positions were reversed). Abandoning that would be the worst mistake they could make.

~McQ

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23 Responses to Jeb Bush To GOP – Stop Being The Party Of “No”

  • On the other hand, where is the GOP’s plan to become more ‘youthful’? Where is it’s media campaign to change the “tone”?
    Where is the plan to “apply conservative principles to 21st century problems?” Or, more succinctly, why hasn’t the party produced these plans in anticipation of the fight for Congressional seats in 2010?
    AWOL.

    The reason for that is simple enough, Bruce. They’ve still not caught on to Reagan’s example. He didn’t swing voters, young and old by modifying his position to accommodate them, he won them over by convincing them of the value of his position.  It’s a teaching process that the GOP has never caught on to after Reagan. Inclduing, I’m afraid, both Bush’s.

    • Eric FlorackThey’ve still not caught on to Reagan’s example. He didn’t swing voters, young and old by modifying his position to accommodate them, he won them over by convincing them of the value of his position.  It’s a teaching process that the GOP has never caught on to after Reagan.

      An EXCELLENT point.

      Among conservatives, it is considered undeniable that liberals must lie and hide who they are to get elected.  Yet, we see major players in the GOP effectively espousing the same thing, or, worse, espousing rejection of basic principles in order to get elected.  What good does it do to win by lying?  What do you do when you get the office?  Continue the charade, or deal with a backlash when the voters find that you’re a charlatan?

      Perhaps I am overly idealistic, but I believe that a person should run on who is really is and what he really believes; if the voters don’t like it, then that’s just how it is.

      I also believe that Americans respect honesty.  Who likes OR TRUSTS a liar, a phony, and a fake?

      Libs routinely crow about the “death of conservatism”.  I suggest that there hasn’t been a strong conservative GOP candidate since 1984.  Bush was certainly no conservative except on defense issues and gay marriage, and the idea that McCain is a conservative is laughable.  It may be that the country isn’t ready for the conservative message of low taxes, small government, strong defense, and law and order, but I’m guessing that a few more years of TAO / Dingy Harry / SanFran Nan and they’ll be SCREAMING for it.

  • They are unified in fighting for their personal political survival. 

    The the GOP lack of backbone is driven by two things. 

    One is that they can take the right for granted.  They merely have to be the party of the lesser evil and they’ve got the entire right to vote for them (or so they believe).  And as long as they’re not in too much opposition to the Democrats, they will not alienate the middle.  They won’t be ‘extreme’ (aka having a philosophical backbone) because they believe they might motivate voters for the other side.    This one I can blame them for.

    However, this other issue I can’t blame them quite as much.  The other issue is that they are afraid to stand out.  If you stand out as a GOP member pushing conservative values, you will be targetted by the media.  Its usually their national aspirations that will be destroyed, in which case I do place some blame on them for placing career over their job as representatives.  But to some degree its not impossible for the media to run them completely out of office. 

    • Seems to me part of this is what the NY-23 idiocy is all about as well

      The GOP as a party has made it pretty clear that they’re not so much interested in being conservative as they are being  Dem lite.

      FAIL

  • What crap. I am starting to think that family has a genetic problem. “Apply conservative principals..”–as long as it doesn’t mean saying no. 
    “Become more youthful”. What the he11 does that mean? Get a facelift?  Screw  youthful. I was young once, and I remember it well (so far). There is a reason that wisdom is traditionally associated with age. Once upon a time older folks provided leadership and set examples for the young, and tried to impart some knowledge and wisdom to them. Bush seems to think that the young should lead the old.

     “In twenty years our country will have a minority majority”. So? Are minorities incapable of understanding conservative principles? 
    How on earth do some people think of him as Presidential material. He is just another party hack.

  • “Rather, he stressed that Republicans “need to apply conservative principles to 21st century problems.””
     
    I’m hard pressed to think of a more bullsh*t assertion.  I’ll bet he can’t elaborate on this at all.

    • I’m hard pressed to think of a more bullsh*t assertion.  I’ll bet he can’t elaborate on this at all.
       
      I am going to disagree with this.  Are you saying that fiscal responsibility is not a conservative position that is not in the 21st century?  A strong military is not a conservative position that is relevant to today?  The conservative position of the Constitution being the guiding document of this country can’t be applied to today?
       
      I can’t think of a situation or problem where Bush’s statement isn’t correct.

  • Bush is right.
    Dead on, solid right.
    I believe that this is a case where the message was missed because of one word.  The article doesn’t say that Bush believes that the GOP is the party of “no,” but rather that it gives the impression of being the party of “no.”
     
    How many times in the past 10 months have we heard this from the left?  From the White House?  The MSM picks up on it and it driven into the minds of voters.

    Conservatives have to change the impression of who they are.  They do not have to change who they are.  As the commenter above said, we need to change the dialogue so that the message of conservatism becomes overwhelming clear and irrefutable.
     
    A lot of people in this country voted for an empty suit who now sits in the White House.  They bought the sizzle when there was no steak.
     
    Conservatives have to find a way to change the way they are perceived.  That is going to be difficult because of the moral character of our foes, but it does need to be done.

    • When being the party of “no” coincides with your so-called principles, I’m at a loss as to why you’d think that was a bad thing and should be changed.

      • Louctiel is absolutely right.  You have completely misinterpreted what Bush said.

        Seriously, show me anywhere in the article where Bush says that the Republicans should *agree* with the Democrats or even just stand back and let them have their way.  What Bush is saying is that *simply* saying no is not sufficient, that the Republicans also need to present an alternative course of action.  He is also saying, very clearly IMO, that the alternative course of action should conform to fundamental conservative principles, and even specifically names limited government. 

         

        • His speach is as spineless and waffling as the the Republican Party.

          His first paragraph’ implication is clear.  The youth have are dominated by Left politics like no other generation before.  And politics have definitely been allowed to shift Left with no end in sight.  So calling us to be ‘youthful’ and forward looking, is quite clear he means don’t have conflicting views that Leftward shift. 

          He does a sort of take back in the following paragraphs with some fluff talk about not going to the center “necessarily”.  But think of it as adjusting to the 21st Century.  

          But its a century that is being defined by the Left because the Republicans have been splineless.   And he’s telling us to essentially ‘go with the flow’.  Which is more of the same that’s been happening for 21 years, only faster and faster. 

          Right now, the Republicans can’t offer anything.  They don’t have the power.  Right now, they can only provide resistence to the Democrats.  So, right now, they need to be the party of “No!”. 

          • So calling us to be ‘youthful’ and forward looking, is quite clear he means don’t have conflicting views that Leftward shift.
            I just want to make sure that I understand your point here.  Bush’s advice to appeal to younger voters shows that he is agreeing with the Left?
             
            And he’s telling us to essentially ‘go with the flow’.
             
            Not at all.  He is telling us that we need to change the way the message is getting out.
             
            The GOP still relies on traditional media.  Obama got huge boosts from Twitter, Facebook and the likes.  We are behind in the way we communicate with young voters.
             
            As an example, if you remember during the campaign, it came out that McCain didn’t use a Blackberry or text at all.  Young voters took that to mean that he was out of touch with them. It didn’t matter that he doesn’t text because of the ailments in his hands and fingers he got from being a POW.  The young voters only heard that he was “out of touch” and “not up on technology.”
             
            We have to change that.  We have to change the way that we are perceived.  When conservative groups on campus hold “discrimination bake sales” and get shut down, we have to tweet, Facebook, YouTube and every other social media that the LEFT is the party of “no.”  It is the LEFT that wants to restrict freedoms.  It is the LEFT that wants to restrict freedom of speech.
             
            We have to stop reacting to the Left (ie the McCain issue) and start making them react to us.  We have to drive the bus of ideas that appeal to people rather than sitting in the back of the bus, telling the driver that they are going the wrong direction.
             
            We don’t have to give up or compromise the core values (or even the Reagon-esque values) of conservatism to accomplish things.
             
            We have to market better.  We have to confront the left with ideas of our own and make THEM the party of “no.”  We have to organize better and rely on emerging technologies and ideas to communicate our ideas better.
             
            We can always look back to Reagan to see how he energized this country, but remember that Reagan presented conservative ideas in a fresh way that people understood.

            That is what we have to do today. 

            We have to look back at our roots and present them in clear, concise, effective terms that are communicated to today’s youth in ways they understand.
             
            We have to change the impression – not the message.

        • Sometimes saying “no” is more than sufficient, especially when what is being proposed is antithetical to your principles of smaller and less intrusive government, less spending and greater freedom.

          • I think that what louctiel is saying is that the Democrats are trying to imply that the Republicans are saying “no” to progress, and that the Republican party would do well to make clear that they’re saying “no” to policies that they feel are bad for the country.  A barrier can be seen as something good (a barrier that keeps flood waters out) or as something bad (a barrier that prevents progress).
            I’m not sure that the Republicans are doing as bad as is imagined, considering the way the left has been scrambling to re-re-re-redefine its message on health care reform and struggling to overcome public resistance to climate change legislation.  I think that’s why your comment that just saying “no” is sufficient is also correct.  Why bother explaining your reasoning when you can just point to the mess the other guy is making?

          • Frankly, I think the GOP should take ownership of “the party of ‘no’” label. They should then explain, in sound bite form, why they’re the party of “no” and proud of it.

  • When you’re up to your a$$ in alligators, it’s pretty hard to remember that you set out to drain the swamp

  • The Republicans have an alternative health care plan. The media doesn’t talk about it. Thus the GOP is the party of No. The only solution would be to have much better marketing to get the message out – contract with America comes to mind. Just as an example – does anyone think the libertarian movement has done a better job than the GOP in getting its message across? Why is that?
    But, sometimes people want to hear “No.” I just watched a few videos by a GOP candidate for state assembly in CA, Craig Deluz, and the dude says “I am willing to say NO.” Its a selling point.
    No new bureaucracy.
    No taking of your health options.
    No taxation for boondoggles.
    No bail outs.
    Yes, on guns, Yes, on victory in Afghanistan, Yes, on nuclear power. Yes, on growth. (but these don’t count in the media, so its Party of No.
    Oh, if you could get gay marriage or allow legalized marijuana on a state by state basis to be on the platform that would be awesome – but social cons will never allow that. You can only do what you can do.

    • ” The only solution would be to have much better marketing to get the message out – contract with America comes to mind”

      Bingo! Absolutely.  I too have wondered why the Rep’s have not done another contract with America, but then I remembered that Gingrich had to fight to get the first one adopted. The Contract With America was almost as unpopular with the Rep. machine as it was with the Dem.’s.

      I know the Rep. party spends lots of money on ‘getting their message out’, but actions speak louder than words. Grimshaw is correct, it is Bullsh** (with a capital b) . Perhaps if the Rep’s had applied conservative principles to  20th century problems he would be more credible.

  • I want to know why there isn’t a Czar for Unions in America & their pay isn’t cut by 90%.  Oh, did I say something revolutionary? I guess, during these times of tyranny, telling the truth is a Revolutionary act.

    Let’s be honest, the Republicans have been just as bad as the Democrats….they both waste our tax dollars, just on differnt projects.  I’m not happy that Americans don’t have an alternative to both parties.  It would be nice if the voting ballot had a 3rd option….”None of the Above”.  That would embarass both of them. 

    Just read a good book that everyone would enjoy.  It’s about a small town that gets fed up with all federal tyranny & ends up starting the 2nd American Revolution.  It’s insightful & I think everyone would enjoy it. 
    http://www.booksbyoliver.com

  • “No,” is the essence of freedom.

    America got its freedom by saying “No” to the British Crown.

    The Declaration of Independence is a big “No” to being subjects.

    The Bill of Rights is a series of big “No”s to the government.

    “Congress shall make NO law…,” “The right…shall NOT be infringed.”

    “No” is the most powerful word and attitude that people have. And there’s going to have to be lots and lots of “NO” if we are going to regain any of what we’ve already lost.

    Let’s hear it for “NO.”

  • Well said Martin. VEry well said. I daresay it deserves a post of it’s own.

  • maybe he has a point, I would prefer that instead of being the party of no, they were the party of Hell No!