02/11/2008 (9:19 am)
Newt Gingrich has been busy. I wondered why he wasn’t running for President during the primary cycle, and it appears that the answer is that felt his time was better spent drawing up a conservative initiative. He presented it at CPAC (the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which I visited Saturday) to a huge, spellbound crowd.
Those who have been reading this site know that I’ve been pondering what to do now that McCain has practically sown up the Republican nomination. To a conservative, McCain is worse than merely imperfect. While some of his voting has been mainstream Republican, he’s made a career of mouthing DNC mantras for the past 7 years, saying exactly the wrong things about taxation (“tax cuts for the rich”), climate change (“cap and trade”), drug import policy (“drug companies want to keep prices high”), immigration (“jobs that Americans won’t do”), and several other issues. He sees government as a solution where most of us see it as a problem. McCain’s nomination positions the Republican party as the “slightly slower slide into socialism” party, leading me to believe I’m not a Republican anymore.
Gingrich addresses this in his recent book, “Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works,” and he presented his agenda at CPAC. His approach rides on the fact that Americans are nearly unanimous on a surprising number of positions, calling for changes that neither party has produced. Gingrich’s agenda lays out those changes and calls for legislators from both parties to sign a pledge to make these changes happen. It’s a bold and comprehensive initiative, and it’s been thought out carefully, as we’ve come to expect from Mr. Speaker Gingrich.
Here are some of Newt’s principles that address my concern about McCain and the Republican party:
- We’re conservatives, not Republicans. We need to stop defending failed bureaucracies just because they’re supported by guys with an R by their name, to the extent that we’ve done that.
- We need to stop obsessing over the Presidency. Political power flows from winning local and state elections, and after that, Congressional elections.
- We shouldn’t waste our time on a third party. It’s a stupid idea. They don’t win.
- Conservative bloggers tend to be pundits, where what we need are activists.
He’s right on all four counts.
So, here’s what I’m going to do:
1) I’ve volunteered to work on the campaign of a fellow named Jeff Beatty. Jeff is a former Delta Force guy who runs a security consulting firm, and he’s throwing his hat in the Senatorial ring to try to defeat John Kerry. A Zogby poll in July amazingly placed him a mere 3 percentage points behind Kerry here in Massachusetts. It’s a seat that the Democrats didn’t even consider threatened. We’re going to take him down.
2) I’m going to become familiar with the Massachusetts state house, and start making my voice heard here to champion sensible policies that most people will support. Massachusetts is a vastly Democratic state, but even here there will be support for common-sense initiatives like those Gingrich outlines.
3) I’ll hold my nose in the fall, and vote for McCain. I’m grinding my teeth about this, but it’s the sensible thing, and I know it. He’s bad, but by voting history he’s 70% conservative where Clinton and Obama are less than 10% conservative (my analysis of his voting record here, Snarky Bastards’ improved version here). Two Supreme Court seats will likely be filled by the next President, and McCain’s got Ted Olson on his staff for legal matters; we might get conservative judges, or at least moderate ones, where Hillobama will give us cultural radicals.
4) I’ll stop whining about the Republicans leaving me, and work my ass off to build a Republican party that’s responsive to sensible conservatism, from the ground up.
Gingrich was asked not long ago what chance the Republicans had for winning the Presidency in 2008. He answered, “Roughly the same chance as the New York Giants have of beating the New England Patriots in the Superbowl.” (!!) He points out that by that he never meant “No chance,” but rather “We’re the underdog, but if we prepare properly and do the right things, we’ll win.” For me, the presidential race has become second-tier. I’m going to win the local races for the Truth, and build a political party that will steer the nation in the right direction from the ground up. I invite everyone reading this to do the same.
Oh, and visit Gingrich’s site, and sign up.
6 Comments »
Comment by darkhorse
“He’s bad, but by voting history he’s 70% conservative where Clinton and Obama are less than 10% conservative …”
If he’s “bad”, Clinton and Obama must be 7 levels of Satan. 70% seems a little on the harsh side, even selecting averages over the last several years…
Comment by darkhorse
By the way, did you see Jonathan Chait’s article on McCain in TNR:
Or even better and more objective was the Newsweek article last week (not the cover article this week)…Five biographical and analytical pages.
Comment by Phil
If he’s “bad”, Clinton and Obama must be 7 levels of Satan.
I’m keeping my vial of holy water with me, just in case…
Comment by Phil
Did you notice that I spent Saturday at CPAC?
The quote from Chait’s article:
I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.
More than one speaker got a reliable, rueful laugh from the CPAC crowd by quoting this or putting up a slide with that quote on it. Chris Horner (author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming) put it up on a slide, got the laugh, and then chuckled, “Yeah. No kidding.”
Comment by darkhorse
This political cartoon is a must for today:
I did notice your recounting of your CPAC attendance. I wasn’t surprised at all : ) I also noticed McCain’s quote, and once again found it refreshing on his part. Had W. admitted up front that he knew as little about foreign policy as he did, the somewhat-less-than-conservative crowd may have been a little more forgiving.
Comment by Georg Felis
McCain is not my first choice, but I will be voting for him in the General election. There is *no* candidate other than yourself who represents all your own political opinions, but you vote for the candidate who is closest to your opinions. McCain is a ways away, and his history of badmouthing Conservatives and their ideas irks me to no end, but he is light-years away from Hillery/Obama who represent my opinions on..um…about nothing.
Be aware that we Conservatives need to remind our candidates of our opinions and where they differ from theirs constantly so they do not become disconnected from reality (something that happens often in Washington, where reality is warped more than a big-budget movie)