The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Shorter Jay Cost: ‘Politics Is Not A Spectator Sport’

Posted on | January 7, 2012 | 26 Comments

by Smitty

Jay Cost in The Weekly Standard:

So, here’s the question of the day: why can’t the party of Reagan ever seem to nominate a Reaganite?
My answer: because conservative Republicans are not actually in control of their own party. Though they are its animating force – they give it policy ideas to implement, they turn out regularly to support the party in good times and bad, they advocate the party and its ideology to their friends, neighbors, and relatives – they are not in charge, and have not been since the 1970s (arguably the 1920s, but that’s another story altogether).

Concur with Bill:

It also leads me to the conclusion that we either change the party, or change parties.

Whether you keep the GOP or illegally harvest its elephant tusks, the point is that people have to participate. The effort required to scale a political party is non-trivial, or efforts like the Constitution Party would have more headlines. Which is why the Tea Parties have sought to change the GOP.

After Mitt’s concession speech (words which I’ll either weep over, or eat) there may be enough political will to Do Something, given charismatic leadership, e.g. Palin.

via Daily Pundit


26 Responses to “Shorter Jay Cost: ‘Politics Is Not A Spectator Sport’”

  1. Dell Hill
    January 7th, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    I concur, FWIW.  I don’t know what the numbers are, but it seems reasonable to me that conservatives make up about a third of the Republican Party and are simply not in a position to take control of the rudder.  We’re simply outnumbered and have to work harder to convert a sufficient number to change course.

    Fighting hard for a conservative candidate is a good thing.  But, when you’re outnumbered, you’re outnumbered.  That’s all there is to it. 

    Republicans have to learn that candidates like John McCain are not going to win.  As soon as they figure that out, the better off we’ll all be.

  2. My STEADFAST resolve to kick elite a$$. « Temple of Mut
    January 7th, 2012 @ 11:45 am

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  3. EBL
    January 7th, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    After Mitt’s concession speech (words which I’ll either weep over, or eat) there may be enough political will to Do Something, given charismatic leadership, e.g. Palin.

    Although I think a Paul Ryan (from Wisconsin, yeah!) or Marco Rubio would make more sense.  The problem with Palin is, while stimulating to many on our side, seems to inspire absolute insane intensity on the other far less than Ronald Reagan did (and that is saying a lot).  

  4. DaveO
    January 7th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    Think that’s been Palin’s game plan all along. The GOP is dead. Even the military is giving more to Obama and Paul than to Republicans, according to Open Secret.

  5. Jayden
    January 7th, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    I disagree with the analysis.  When picking a President, the individual is INCREDIBLY important, especially to the voters that actually decide elections.  There also many other factors in play, not every contest is judged strictly by ideology. 

    The average GOP primary voter will not automatically back the moderate, in 1976, a sitting President nearly lost the nomination to the much more conservative Reagan by a whisker, in 1980 he won the nomination.  In 1988 a sitting Vice President beat a moderate Bob Dole, it was essentially a draw ideologically, except Bush had Lee Atwater, and was perceived as more conservative being part of the Reagan Administration.  In 2000, the GOP backed what was perceived as a far more conservative candidate in George W. Bush over John McCain.  In 2008, Romney was considered the movement conservative, and would have easily won the nomination had Iowa voters not discovered he was a Mormon.

    My point is, GOP voters don’t reflexively back the more moderate candidate, it’s just sometimes the contest comes down that way, and often times the losing candidates sound more conservative because they’re desperate and start using overheated rhetoric in order to get attention from the base, thus alienating voters that actually want to win the general election.

    The GOP is the home for conservatives, it’s just sometimes we have to be adults and understand not every candidate we nominate is going to be a mirror reflection of our ideology.

  6. Serfer62
    January 7th, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    And I give you the epitimy of Conservatism (according to the RNCC)…BOEHNER!!!

    is there another reason for a purge of the entire DC GOP?

  7. Tennwriter
    January 7th, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    I’d be happy if one of two were a reflection of my views.  We’re not Libertarian ultra-purists; we are adults.  But at some point, you realize the Establishment doesn’t want to play fair, and doesn’t intend too.

    40% of Americans claim to be Conservative, but all we can get is an arguement about going faster or slower as we head toward the cliff.  The Ruling Class wants to go one way, and the American People another.

    I’m for Santorum because the only way to break the Establishment is to shove it down their throats with a pitchfork.  Libertarians ought to be for Santorum too because once the Establishment is brought to heel, the chances of Libertarian victory advance greatly.

  8. AngelaTC
    January 7th, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    It took the lefties over 50 years to take over the party, and a lot of people seem to think that changing it back won’t happen if it doesn’t happen overnight.
    Unless we all start going to the GOP meetings regularly, and are willing to work thanklessly to change the hearts of the people about what the proper role of the federal government actually should be, nothing will change, which suits the status quo just fine.

  9. Jayden
    January 7th, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

    How has the Establishment cheated?  And how can you objectively call Santorum anti-establishment?  He was in Congress for nearly 20 years and was a K Street lobbyist insider.  He’s about as Establishment as they come, he even voted AGAINST a right to work federal law while loading up on pork barrel projects, Bridge to Nowhere, MediCare Part D, debt ceiling increases, etc.  Oh, but because he’s against contraception, he’s the REAL conservative.

    This may be hard to believe, but out of this field, more Republicans want Romney than the other candidates, mainly because they see him as the only candidate that can possibly win.  Had a more conservative Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan jumped in, the primary voters would have written him off as a Rockefeller Republican.

    Not every primary is an ideological contest, most rational GOP voters understand that this is an interview to see who can beat Obama. 

  10. Anonymous
    January 7th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    This. Writing comments or even blogging is not enough; you actually have to get out there in the trenches, work for conservative candidates, and take over the GOP party apparatus until the party, too, is conservative. If nobody leads, how can you expect people to follow?

  11. richard mcenroe
    January 7th, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    I go the meetings.  I work for the candidates.  I do rallies (and not Tea Party ones either).  You know who I don’t see when I work for the candidates or do the rallies?  98% of the people I see at the meetings bitching about how we have to do something, dammit!  As long as the bulk of the base are content to sit jacking their jaws and thinking they doing something, the GOP will remain the private club of McConnell and McCain and Cornyn.

  12. Anonymous
    January 7th, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

    Try getting some of these people to do a measly hour of phone banking … but they are good at forwarding e-mails on how much they hate Obama.

  13. richard mcenroe
    January 7th, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

    I will say this.  You find conservatives in the damnedest places.  The first night I walked in to phone bank for my GOP candidate, there were three other people there from the “hippie” coffee shop I lunch in.  It was like meeting a fellow Baptist in a stripper bar.

  14. Anonymous
    January 7th, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    LOL.  I also think its a cultural thing with people on our side.  They are used to doing things like church or school sports, but political activism is STILL an anomaly for them.

    My in laws for example, should be the kind of people working the polls, but it never crosses their mind, that maybe instead of b**** about Obama, that they should go out and support people who would fight him.  And, if you mention this to them, they look at you like you are some crazed politico.

    None of my friends or family would ever entertain volunteering … its a foreign concept to people on our side.

  15. Adjoran
    January 7th, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

    The ideological realignment of parties is still ongoing.  A century ago, both parties had a left, a right, and a middle.  Party membership had more to do with regional and family loyalty than ideology.  Midwestern farmers and Northeastern bankers were mostly Republican, Southerners and second-generation immigrants were almost all Democrats.  In fact, until Pearl Harbor, Republicans tended to be more isolationist and protectionist, but WWII brought a more or less united front on foreign policy which persisted until Vietnam.

    Conservatives had some success with Reagan, but even he was the “next in line” candidate the party had tended to reward – especially after the advent of widespread primaries in the ’70s, when the voters themselves had a greater voice than party bosses and activists.  Goldwater is arguably the ONLY “true conservative” nominee who was NOT “next in line” in the last century.

    It’s a process.  In the early ’60s, barely 20% of Americans would self-identify as conservatives.  Today it is over 40% – but still, that doesn’t mean all those are ready to reform Medicare.  It’s a process.  You move it along by winning hearts and minds and making good, solid arguments.  Wishing won’t make it come any faster.

  16. Adjoran
    January 7th, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    Actually, the “lefties” have pretty much been driven out of the party as part of the realignment.

  17. ThePaganTemple
    January 7th, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    Unfortunately they were replaced by more of the same crony capitalists and government contract seekers that have controlled the party since at least the Harding days.

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    January 7th, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

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  19. ThePaganTemple
    January 7th, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

    Yep. You have to not only denigrate progressive policies, you have to show how they are wrong, and even more importantly unconstitutional, and then you have to follow that up with a thorough explanation of conservative policies, what they are and how they are good for everybody across the board. It’s a long process, like an on-going education that can’t be addressed in a twenty second sound bite or a spin room regurgitation of talking points on Fox.

  20. Bob Belvedere
    January 7th, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

    Sadly, I don’t think we have the luxury of gaining control of the GOP from the local upward.  Our decline has picked up speed, as Mark Steyn has written.

    I think after November we have to launch OPERATION WHIG, which would have two objectives: (1) the relegation of the GOP to the same dung heap the Whigs have been sitting on and (2) out of it’s remnants we have to fashion a new party where Soft Fascists [like Rove and Romney] are not welcome.  This will be hard to do, but I see no other course at this time.  And this will be the last non-violent effort that is worth making.

    I have come to believe that, more than likely, as Adobe Walls recently wrote over at my site: This ends in some form of civil war. The gulf between each side’s concept of what’s right and wrong cannot be bridged, the notion of whether or not following the constitution or doing what’s expedient is a circle that can not be squared even if the left meant well. They do not. But we have to try every non-violent means possible first before we seek to effect a separation.

  21. ThePaganTemple
    January 7th, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    What makes you think that would be non-violent? The act might not be, but what about the aftermath? The only way that could work would amount to a mass shunning of the Republican Party, not only for the presidential election, but for all the down ticket races as well. Because that is where all parties derive their strength. It would by necessity result in a large scale implosion of the GOP hierarchy at all levels of government and bureaucracy like nothing that has ever been seen before. What happened to the Whigs was an internal, fractional dispute similar to what produced the Democratic Party after the 1824 election from the ashes of the oft-renamed Anti-Federalists. This would be profoundly different and would result in the same kind of national control by Democrats exerted by Jackson’s party during that earlier time frame, with profoundly more serious consequences.

    No, taking over the party from the ground up is the only rational way to go, and it will be difficult enough.

  22. Tennwriter
    January 7th, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    Cheated? Christine O’Donnell.

    As an adult, you realize none of these guys or the lady were perfect, and you choose the one most conservative which is Rick Santorum.

    More Republicans like Romney because he’s electable?!?  Really, truly?  Wasn’t he the guy who spent ten million to lose six votes in Iowa compared to last time he was there?  Romney was the least electable of everyone, and that includes Donald Trump.

    And I like Marco Rubio too, even if the Establishment hated him, and cheated on him, but maybe we can let the poor guy finish one term before making him president?  And that is what is happening to Romney, he’s getting written off.

    A lot of us see this as the GOP’s last chance, so yeah, its not about who is a good manager, its about who is a good captain. 

  23. Tennwriter
    January 7th, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

    Yes, there are other reasons, but that is a sufficient reason.

  24. ThePaganTemple
    January 7th, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

    Donna Brazille admitted tonight that Democrats are hoping the nominee is Romney because they think he would be the easiest to beat.

  25. Jayden
    January 7th, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    And Donna Brazille is an idiot, this is all about puffing out their chest to boost confidence with their base.

    All of the polls that I’ve seen show Romney beating Obama, especially since undecided voters break heavily for the challenger.  All the other contestants show Obama winning handily (particularly with someone like Perry)

    Anyone who’s seen a single debate knows that Romney is the only one that has a chance against Obama.

  26. Edward
    January 8th, 2012 @ 1:59 am

    And how precisely are “they” going to figure that out when conservatives, specifically the self-styled “pundits”, are so eager to roll over and have their bellies scratched like a bunch of mangy dogs?

    How are “they” going to figure that out when conservatives will continue holding their nose and voting for whatever craptacular piece of **** the GOP shoves in as the predetermined “nominee”?

    Not hammering at you.  But these are questions that conservatives need to answer.  Because so far I’ve voted Republican for over 20 years now and all I’ve seen is that conservatives have lost ground, lost control and become more like pets. 

    Or perhaps farm animals is the better analogy along with the judas goat and the slaughterhouse.