Good pep talk from the Wall Street Journal
Mr. Obama’s campaign stitched together a shrunken but still decisive version of his 2008 coalition—single women, the young and culturally liberal, government and other unions workers, and especially minority voters.
He said little during the campaign about his first term and even less about his plans for a second. Instead his strategy was to portray Mitt Romney as a plutocrat and intolerant threat to each of those voting blocs. No contraception for women. No green cards for immigrants. A return to Jim Crow via voter ID laws. No Pell grants for college.
This was all a caricature even by the standards of modern politics. But it worked with brutal efficiency—the definition of winning ugly. Mr. Obama was able to patch together just enough of these voting groups to prevail even as he lost independents and won only 40% of the overall white vote, according to the exit polls. His campaign’s turnout machine was as effective as advertised in getting Democratic partisans to the polls.
There were several other pieces today that said some of the same things, essentially you cannot win against the progressive / liberal patchwork with a pure social conservative / fiscal conservative mantra.
The Republican side was made up of:
- survivors of the old line right center Big Business Republicans
- evangelical social conservative/moderate
- moderate libertarians
- constitutional originalists
- small business owners
- And a rather long list of single issue activists
- anti immigrant
- gun rights
The problem seems to be similar to one that the democrats used to lay claim to, Big Tentism…trying to pander to too many one topic interests to the detriment of a centralizing theme. No party can offer blanket coverage for all the rather distantly touched special interests without weakening itself.
The centralizing theme of the Republican party is, personal responsibility and non intrusive government, based on the rule of law centered on a relatively strong reference to the Constitution.
The centralizing theme of the Democratic party might be seen as common responsibility, government central mediator, based on the interpretation of law referring to the constitution among other iconic law systems.
A key problematic special interests in the Republican party today is Big Business (as a themed entity not as the people in the companies,) not because Big Business is evil but because its interests are really more in line with the Democratic Party centralizing themes, not the Republican party’s. The only reason Big Business tents in the Republican camp is because the Democrats demonize it, and the actual ‘People’ (i.e. agents) who are the cells of the Big Business are generally very much aligned with the centralizing theme of the Republican party. But the Players and the Companies when operating in aggregate (or for the company) are much more likely to support the Democratic baseline than the Republican one.
Various single issues activists, particularly the semi organized Tea Party activists of various sub stripes, have pushed their way and their interests into the Republican party. As above providing huge clubs to beat the overall party to death with. The TP has tried to remake the Republican party in its image…which purposely does not exist. This has again and again wrecked the chances of the party by putting up candidates who are very easily caricatured by their opponents and driven into defeat.
That’s not to say that some of the single issues activists are not right and that they all should be driven out. The gun lobby while demonized is a strength in the party as long as it sticks to the line it has in recent years, this resonates well with personal responsibility and non-interference. Anti tax when not carried to caricature. Pro life, when not carried to the level of stupid anti-abortion extremism (as I’ve said before almost everyone is pro-life, most are modestly anti-abortion, but the paternalistic-extremism of an Akin or a Mourdock is nuts in this day.)
Consistency to theme should be considered strongly: For example: Pro-Life –>anti-abortion, anti death penalty, limits to the pursuit of extra territorial murder (drone wars.) pro scientific medical advances (with ethical limits.) In other words limit very tightly the ability of the government to kill anyone unless they pose an immediate threat to the US, which of course has to be defined pretty damned broadly but still consistently. (i.e. OBL raid was a perfectly reasonable action.)
If you look at the paragraph above you would realize that the Catholic Church while staying out of politics is going to support the Republican theme much more strongly than it did,does today.
Same goes for immigration, we are a nation of immigrants, and the nation needs the flow of immigrants because population growth is inherently good for the US economy in every way for the foreseeable future. Yes borders should be protected from military incursion (which I think we do pretty well) but no country with a border as long and open (no geographic obstacles like seas, cliffs or rivers) as the US’s can seal its borders without imposing a police state, which largely stops people coming because there is no reason for them to want to go into bondage, who really wants to go to North Korea, all their walls are to keep people in, not out. Like abortion this is a sore point with fundamentalists but at the end of the day I have never seen anti-immigration sentiment that is not at base about fear of the other or of having to compete.
One of the biggest most fundamental issues that the Republican majority has to come to grips with is that the US has always been about creative destruction and that nothing can stay the same in an evolving world. We have to compete on the global stage in every venue and that means that in some niches we go up and others we go down. At the end of the day nothing can protect you as a person from the winds of economic and social change and trying to do so just fosters tyranny. The only thing that provides you a shield is flexibility and the willingness to learn and adapt, which in general the average American has been better at than the rest of humanity, partly because of the freedoms that the country provides to fail and try again.
The Republican party needs to focus on the themes I think it stands for: personal responsibility and non intrusive government, based on the rule of law centered on a relatively strong reference to the Constitution.
- Moderate taxes (limit on income taxes, everyone pays income tax
- Moderate, smart and regulation (stop regulators getting captured by those they regulate)
- Pro immigrant
- Pro small business (not anti big business, just stop giving them special treatment)
- Pro gun
- Strong defense
- Pro Life (not anti-abortion) (anti death penalty)
- Pro Free trade even if it hurts
Then you have my dreams:
- One term at a time (no re-elections, you can be president as many times as you want, but only one term at a time, then you take a break before running again.)
- Individual Health Care:
- Individual Retirement.