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Overcoming Conservative Battle Fatigue

Ed Morrisey has a prescription to overcome conservative battle fatigue in his debut column at the Examiner.

Instead of staying home, we need to get more involved. If your representative or senator votes for pork, bigger government, and ignores border security, look for a credible primary challenger to represent conservative values instead. Organize and speak out on behalf of candidates and politicians who do the right thing, even if they don't represent your district or state...


...If our preferred candidate does not win in the primaries, we still have to act responsibly and choose between the two major party candidates in the general election. Not only will abdication result in a loss of control over our own representation, the failure of GOP candidates has national implications that will wind up hamstringing the politicians that really have worked on our behalf, the Tom Coburns, the John Kyls, the Jon Cornyns, and the George Allens. And by sitting on our hands, we will have proven too inflexible to be dependable, which will only encourage Republican candidates to reach out to the center-left more than ever before.

If we want to convince people to trust us with leadership, we have to show that we can work within coalitions and provide mature and responsible partnership, even with those with whom we will sometimes disagree. If we cannot prove ourselves trustworthy, our movement will never maintain the strength to implement policy.

I think his recommendations make sense and have even voiced similar sentiments myself.


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Comments (24)

YEP. Stay home or vote for ... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

YEP. Stay home or vote for a "third party" (snicker) and say hello to a Democrat congress. And if you think that's no big deal...just remember they've spent the last six years trying to destroy President Bush. That's been their entire reason for being. No platform, no principles, no positive agenda, just warmed-over stale bread from the 1960s and 70s.

Is that what you want? Or would you rather work with the animal that you know, who at least gives you the opportunity to give you 60, 70, 80% of what you want?

Yes, we have a primary proc... (Below threshold)

Yes, we have a primary process. Let's use it. We don't need term limits and we don't need to abandon our party. We have the ability to change the candidates our party runs. We can kick incumbants out of office without changing the party we vote for by using the primary process.

I agree, it is time people got involved earlier in the process than the general election.

I disagree. What is being ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

I disagree. What is being proposed above is a "my party right or wrong" approach. The GOP has done some good things, but they need a major slap in the face. Immigration is the ipping point. If an amnesty bill passes, it proves to me that neither party really cares what happens to the country. The Democrats may do a lot more damage in less time, but the results are the same.

If the GOP pushes through an immigration bill, that does it for me. My message to my Congressman was very simple: "You can't win next year without people like me. Pass this bill, or anything like it, and you can't win. Speaker of the House Pelosi puts the Bush Administration through a two-year witch hunt, and that is something that President Bush richly deserves."

Or a <a href="http://www.to... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Or a 100%if you are a inheriting an estate from the very rich,at over 4 million a year..As opposed to the Dem's 'tax and spend' policy the new GOP responsible partnership is' borrow and spend' .

And what do you think will ... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

And what do you think will happen to the war while the administration is playing constant defense against that witchhunt, kevino?

At any other time, I'd say screw the GOP. But the alternative to a screwed up party is "nothing," and I don't want "nothing" anywhere near being in charge of this war.

My philosphy is:Vo... (Below threshold)
Vicky:

My philosphy is:

Vote Conservative in the Primaries
Vote Republican in the General Election.

I'm lucky because I live in Texas and my representative is Conservative, and my Senators are Cornyn and Hutchison. Can't get much better then that.

If you don't like your Rep or Sen work really hard to replace him/her with a conservative in the primaries. But if that doesn't work, don't take your ball and go home. Just vote for the Republican in the General election. This election is too important to throw a hissy-fit like my 3 year old grandson.

Conservatives need to face ... (Below threshold)

Conservatives need to face reality.

There are a lot of "moderates" and "RINOs" among Republican officeholders mainly because they represent districts and constituencies which are NOT conservative. Conservatives will NOT occupy those seats for the forseeable future.

I don't agree with Chris Shays often, but I know that the alternative from his Connecticut district will be someone far closer to Rose DeLauro or Patches Kennedy. I think Susan Collins is a dimwit, but I shudder to think what Maine might send in her place.

The left didn't suddenly hatch today's federal bureaucracy with its myriad programs overnight. They worked at it steadily, incrementally, for the better part of 60 years. It's going to take a very long time to undo.

There will be progress and victories, but also regression and defeat and disappointments at times. That's life. You can live it, or live with it.

Those who demand instant gratification and cry "All or nothing!" almost always get NOTHING.

I suspect most of the whiny little children who are "threatening" to abandon the GOP were never really on board as Republicans anyway. No matter. If they follow through on their "threat" to leave, good riddance.

Just remember, on your way out the door, kiddies: once you are gone, you're gone. We don't have to listen to your crybaby tantrums any longer. Say hi to Patzi Buchanan, Howard Phillips, and whoever the Libertarians are putting forth for their share of the "1%" of the lunatic fringe vote this cycle.

For crying out loud, though, quit your snivelling and ranting about leaving, and just GO - NOW. The sooner we are rid of you irrational, spittle-flecked yahoos, the faster we get back to the business of building a long-term Republican majority - WITHOUT you.

;-)

my Senators are Co... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
my Senators are Cornyn and Hutchison. Can't get much better then that.

Cornyn, check. Hutchison sometimes leaves the reservation. Not that I am advocating replacing her (and she is up for re-election this year), especially since she usually responds correctly when her constituents get upset. There is one case though in which she is consistently unconservative and wrong: Her support of the Wright amendment.

Instead of staying... (Below threshold)
langtry:
Instead of staying home, we need to get more involved. If your representative or senator votes for pork, bigger government, and ignores border security, look for a credible primary challenger to represent conservative values instead. Organize and speak out on behalf of candidates and politicians who do the right thing, even if they don't represent your district or state...
Lori, there is nothing I would like to do more than that. But I live in Chicago! The GOP has given up on my city and my state, leaving it to be mismanaged forevermore by Daley, Blagojevich, Durbin and Obama. Three of those four could be caught schtupping a 14-year old girl (or boy, for that matter) and they wouldn't have to worry about losing their cush political gigs.

I love my city, but its politics are here to stay!

Big Mo:President B... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Big Mo:

President Bush will conduct the war in Iraq as best he can, and the rest is left to the next President.

Bush is too weak to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, too weak to stop the Syrians in Lebanon, and too weak to stop Islamic fascism -- anywhere. Whatever happens in the 06 elections doesn't change the WOT: the American people have made it very clear that they want to "win" in Iraq, get out of the Middle East, and never return.

Don't believe me? Take a good look at the timeline for when the Iranians first threw down the gauntlet and let the covers off their nuclear program. It was when Bush's approval number and approval for the war in Iraq sank below 50%. Then look at the date when the Iranians switched and ran to the EU3 to negotiate: just after Bush was re-elected. Then look at the Spring of 2005 when the Iranians restarted their program. It was the same month that Bush's numbers went back below 50%. Bottom line: the only thing they are afraid of is an invasion, and that isn't going to happen. They know it, and they're acting accordingly.

Another example: bin Laden's latest press release includes an open challenge to the US to get involved in the Sudan. He called us out, and we're not going to respond.

Another: al Qaeda just claimed a victory in Somalia: they defeated "our" warlord.

The Democrats have done a first-class job bringing Bush down. And many of us told them while they were doing it, that it was a bad idea to attack the war effort itself. But they didn't listen. You have people standing on street corners openly saying that "War is always wrong." The bad guys are listening.

Well, the damage is done. The bad guys think (as bin Laden said in 1997) to defeat the Americans, you just have to send a few of their soldiers home in bodybags, they lose confidence, and go home. We are fighting an enemy that loves to fight and thinks they can win. And the majority of Americans think the effort costs too much in money and American lives.

The Republicans in general, and Bush in particular, should have done a better job.

Kevino - "President Bush wi... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Kevino - "President Bush will conduct the war in Iraq as best he can, and the rest is left to the next President."

So...are you willing to let a Democrat do that?

Adjoran:I'm not a ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Adjoran:

I'm not a conservative: I'm a libertarian and a moderate and a realist. And I'm not complaining about picky little things. The GOP is spending money likes there's no tomorrow. They are creating another amnesty for illegal aliens. They have become even more corrupt than the Democrats they replaced. And they are blowing it on the WOT. Pure stupidity and greed.

[Sidebar: What is the GOP really doing with amnesty? Why are they doing this? The most basic answer is that they don't want to require their friends who are hiring illegal workers to face the consequences for their actions. They don't want companies fined or corporate officers put injail. So they're going to change the law to make it legal.]

And what is the GOP response? Oh, a cynical, amateur-hour stunt: let's talk about gay marriage. How totally out of touch. I care about a lot of issues, and the GOP wants to trade a position on gay marriage against the boat-load of higher priorities to get me interested. Forget it.

I have two political parties to choose from, and both are filled with Democrats. I'll freely admit that they Democratic Party is filled with left-wing lunatics, but neither party is worth anything. Which party will do the best job at protecting my freedoms and the country as a whole? Well, both parties have proven that they can't do it.

I don't see that I have anything very positive to vote for.

You seem to be advocating that we stay the course, support the GOP, and somehow, by magic, the GOP will learn to do a better job, get rid of the corruption, and actually start to do the work that needs doing. I've been in the political game for a long time. Not a whole lot has changed. And I don't see any new candidates on the horizon that can come in and replace the people in my district/state.

Big Mo:The electio... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Big Mo:

The election in 06 will not select a new President.

In fact, a Democratic majority in the House in 06 will be a plus for the Republicans in 08. If the GOP holds both houses of Congress, Democrats will run saying, "You don't want to have them control all of government." In recent history, Americans have appeared to prefer to establish divided or shared government.

Of course, if the GOP doesn't clean up its act in and after 06, they are heading for catstrophe in 08. But again, to repeat a theme: if they don't change, then they deserve to go down in flames.

Kevino - and that's exactly... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Kevino - and that's exactly where we disagree. If the GOP loses Congress in 06, it makes it much harder for them to not only regain it in 2008, but also win the White House in 08.

Yes, I KNOW there's no presidential election this year. But Congress controls the purse strings for war funding. I can just see a Dem-majority Congress pulling the same crap with Iraq that they did in 1975 with Vietnam - withdrawing all funding for further operations.

"...and that's exactly w... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"...and that's exactly where we disagree. If the GOP loses Congress in 06, it makes it much harder for them to not only regain it in 2008, but also win the White House in 08"

I disagree re losing Congress in 06 makes it harder to win the White House in 08. In fact, I think the opposite if true, that if the Dems take Congress in 06 - which most oddmakers would predict as of today anyway, then the populace is more likely to put a Republican in the White House on 08.

Voters traditionally prefer a balance - one party in the White House and the other in controlling Congress. It's puts the brakes on runaway (insert your favorite opposing party trait here).

A Democratic Congress and a Republican President is my outcome of choice, and I think that's exactly what we'll have when the dust settles in November of 2008.

This is amusing. When the D... (Below threshold)
Chris:

This is amusing. When the Democrats oppose Lieberman, all I read on these right wing sites is how much they're in disarray, mand can't get a coherent message, and are only interested in eating their own. I guess the primary process is only honorable when the Republicans do it.

Give it up Mo. Kevino is N... (Below threshold)
Luke:

Give it up Mo. Kevino is NOT going to change parties and start voting Republican.

All he's doing is try and get as many conservatives as possible to join him in electing a Democrat congress and hopefully Senate.

Won't happen, but he does write very well. Kudos Kevino.

Big Mo:RE: "If the G... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Big Mo:
RE: "If the GOP loses Congress in 06, it makes it much harder for them to not only regain it in 2008, but also win the White House in 08."
My point is winning the whitehouse in 08. Consider recent history. In 1996 President Clinton's strategy was to keep the Republicans in the House and Senate and campaign that he and he only he stood in the way of the GOP-controlled congress. It worked, too. Americans in that election preferred divded government.

Particuolarly if the Democrats go nuts and turn off the electorate, they'll find the average American voting for the GOP just to shut them up.

RE: "But Congress controls the purse strings for war funding. I can just see a Dem-majority Congress pulling the same crap with Iraq that they did in 1975 with Vietnam - withdrawing all funding for further operations."
Presidents Johnson and Kennedy got all the funding that they needed for Vietnam. The military won all the battles. By 1975 the war was lost because the American people gave up. A Republican president negotiated the terms of our withdrawl, and it was over. When you find yourself on a dead horse, get off.

The Democrats in the House will fund the Iraq war because it is in their best interest to do so. The news reports will get better because the MSM will feel better having Democrats back in power. The war will wind down. Many of the troops will come home. There will be big parades.

Luke:I'm sorry to ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Luke:

I'm sorry to tell you, but you're wrong. I was raised in a Democratic family in the South, where I worked for Democratic candidates for many years. But I moved to New England as an adult, and I left the Democratic Party when they left me. By 1994 I voted for, gave money to, and campaigned for Republicans -- exclusively. I voted for President Bush both times, and I still believe that it was the right choice both times. (I still have his last Christmas card -- sorry "best wishes for the holiday season" -- in the Bible next to the bed.)

Would I vote for a Republican again? Absolutely. But they have to change.

Here's my cure for Republican Battle Fatigue: good leadership. How about the leadership of the stupid party get off its rear-end and start to give us something positive to vote for? First step: acknowledge your mistakes. The Senate amnesty bill should be killed. If anything is passed at all, it really needs to be the House bill. The GOP needs to stand up and tell people in plain, simple language again, what their principles are. And where they've abandoned those principles (e.g. corruption and pork) they need to clean house. Ask us to give the GOP another chance.

Then they need to build a agenda that appeals to real people. Gingrich has a series of ideas that would be a place to start. They're a follow-up to the 1994 Contract with America, and I like most of what's in there.

This is something that I've learned after all the years in politics at the grassroots. You can attack your opponent big time to cut off his funding and put him on the defensive, but a month or so before the actual election, shift to a totally positive campaign. To win, you have to stand for something. Right now the Democrats are telling everyone that the Republicans are innept and corrupt. The Republicans are countering with FUD about how those crazy Democrats can't run the government. Voters in the middle are turned off. What a surprise.

kevino ~ if you are a commi... (Below threshold)

kevino ~ if you are a committed Libertarian, of course I was not directing my remarks at you. Sometimes Libertarians may help get a Republican elected, but I don't see it as being often. Their vote nationally seems to stay in the same narrow range. The upper end of that range isn't close to the margin of error in most polls, but it has been fairly steady for decades, so there can't be many LPers voting GOP: there just aren't that many of them, anyway.

As I've said before, those Libertarians, Buchananites, and followers of other infintesimal fringe groups like Howard Phillips', aren't IN the GOP and have NOT been supporting us. Not being "in," their "threats" to "leave" are a joke.


My ire is aimed at people who actually ARE long-time conservative Republicans who, at the very moment we are on the verge of establishing a dominant era for the next generation, allow their frustrations at the pace of change to affect them so much as to lead them to desert the GOP because of it.

To them, I say: "Look at the LPers and Buchananites and the like! They are 'sitting out on principle,' and have been for some time. Has that increased their influence? Or their number?"

Politics isn't a crap shoot where if you hit a few sevens you win the big bundle. It's a long and constant struggle, a down and dirty fight. It's a fight against the leftists on the one hand, and a fight against the "moderates" in the GOP for the heart and soul of the party. Those who lose taste for the battle are entitled to leave it. But they can never be the winners by walking out.

Adjorn:Libertarian... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Adjorn:

Libertarians on domestic issues frequently vote for Republicans. Many of us won't "throw our vote away" and vote for the Libertarian candidate: we pick between the two major parties. As the Democratic party moved more and more toward an agenda of Democtratic Socialism, we shift over to vote for Republicans.

For example, I can't have a conversation about individual rights and personal responsibility with many of my liberal friends, family members, or Democrats in my district. They just don't understand the issues. They want government that lands on individuals for "the common good". The Kelo decision is an excellent example: the government has the right to take your house and use your land to build a mall because that is for "the common good".

My Republican Representative, whom I helped get elected, doesn't always agree with me on these issues, but he does listen, and he does understand. We have a lot of common ground. I can talk to Republicans and get a fair hearing. With Democrats, I'm frequently, greeted with disgust: "You're a REPUBLICAN." "No, actually, I'm more of a Libertarian." "Oh, THAT'S WORSE."

Please keep in mind that there are many voters in the middle like me who don't like the statist utopian dreams that the Democrats would force on us. If you can put together an agenda that keeps people like me interested, then you can build that permanent majority party.

"They have become even more... (Below threshold)

"They have become even more corrupt than the Democrats they replaced. And they are blowing it on the WOT. Pure stupidity and greed."
-kevino
--

Wow I may agree with some of your positions but I think that's streching more then a weee bit. More corrupt the the Dem's .. not by far, but they sure are learning fast. They're not blowing the WOT but certainly have let the left block and tackle them to death. This administration over all will be judged well, that does not mean however they have not screwed the pooch big time on some serious issues.

"You're a REPUBLICAN." "No,... (Below threshold)

"You're a REPUBLICAN." "No, actually, I'm more of a Libertarian." "Oh, THAT'S WORSE.""
--

Haha, if I had a dime for every time I heard that. Course when you hear that you know it's pointless having a conversation with whomever said it.

KnightHawk:RE: cor... (Below threshold)
kevino:

KnightHawk:

RE: corruption
I'll match a Rep. Rostenkowski [sp?] against Rep. Delay. Rep. Jefferson against Rep. Cunningham. Speaker Wright's nonsense was pretty trivial (selling books). Throw in Jack Abramoff (both sides get dirty, but much more to the Republicans). And then we get the legislation like Immigration Amnesty and the Death Tax that are big payoffs to the GOP's benefactors. Yeah, I think the GOP looks pretty bad. And I'm not alone: polls show that most voters think that both parties are corrupt.

RE: Losing the War on Terror
I think that President Bush will be judged for thinking about the long term strategy and getting started. But history will show that he failed to carry through, failed to lead, and in the end, left a mess.

I stated my case above. It's not what I think that counts; it's what the enemy thinks. Bush is weak. Therefore the US is weak. Therefore the West is weak. Too many mistakes and missed opportunities. The enemy can see how weak we are, and they are already taking advantage. They have made some losses and some gains, but in the end, the American people want to leave the Middle East for good. When that happens, we will withdraw into a new post-Vietnam era, and we will surrender the field to the enemy, giving them valuable time.

I support the War in Iraq, and I support President Bush. But the reality is that if we win in Iraq, and leave for good to play defense, that is a mistake. It would have been better to have not gone into Iraq at all than to end up that way.

If we're not blowing the WOT, then why can't this country (and the world) actually name the enemy? Why don't the American people actually support the war in Iraq -- by itself and as part of the WOT? Why aren't the Iranians and Syrians frightened? How can bin Laden openly challenge us in the Sudan, and we don't respond?

RE: "Libertarian!? That's worse."
I've heard it a lot. It's bad news when you hear it from your father.




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