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Thread: Which kind of Republican are you?

  1. #1

    Which kind of Republican are you?

    Conservative NYT columnist David Brooks defines the coming battle for the soul of the GOP as a clash between Traditionalists and Reformers in this interesting column.

    Would be interesting to see how our conservatives around here self identify on that spectrum, or any other thoughts they might have on this.



    [QUOTE]OP-ED COLUMNIST
    Darkness at Dusk

    By DAVID BROOKS
    It’s only been a week since the defeat, but the battle lines have already been drawn in the fight over the future of conservatism.

    [B][B]In one camp, there are the Traditionalists, the people who believe that conservatives have lost elections because they have strayed from the true creed.[/B] George W. Bush was a big-government type who betrayed conservatism. John McCain was a Republican moderate, and his defeat discredits the moderate wing.[/B]

    To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. Rally behind Sarah Palin.

    Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the most prominent voices in the Traditionalist camp, but there is also the alliance of Old Guard institutions. For example, a group of Traditionalists met in Virginia last weekend to plot strategy, including Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. According to reports, the attendees were pleased that the election wiped out some of the party’s remaining moderates. “There’s a sense that the Republicans on Capitol Hill are freer of wobbly-kneed Republicans than they were before the election,” the writer R. Emmett Tyrrell told a reporter.

    [B]The other camp, the Reformers, argue that the old G.O.P. priorities were fine for the 1970s but need to be modernized for new conditions. The reformers tend to believe that American voters will not support a party whose main idea is slashing government. The Reformers propose new policies to address inequality and middle-class economic anxiety. They tend to take global warming seriously. They tend to be intrigued by the way David Cameron has modernized the British Conservative Party.[/B]

    Moreover, the Reformers say, conservatives need to pay attention to the way the country has changed. Conservatives have to appeal more to Hispanics, independents and younger voters. They cannot continue to insult the sensibilities of the educated class and the entire East and West Coasts.

    The Reformist view is articulated most fully by books, such as “Comeback” by David Frum and “Grand New Party” by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, as well as the various writings of people like Ramesh Ponnuru, Yuval Levin, Jim Manzi, Rod Dreher, Peggy Noonan and, at the moderate edge, me.

    [B]The debate between the camps is heating up. Only one thing is for sure: In the near term, the Traditionalists are going to win the fight for supremacy in the G.O.P.

    They are going to win, first, because Congressional Republicans are predominantly Traditionalists. Republicans from the coasts and the upper Midwest are largely gone. Among the remaining members, the popular view is that Republicans have been losing because they haven’t been conservative enough.

    Second, Traditionalists have the institutions. Over the past 40 years, the Conservative Old Guard has built up a movement of activist groups, donor networks, think tanks and publicity arms. The reformists, on the other hand, have no institutions.[/B]

    There is not yet an effective Republican Leadership Council to nurture modernizing conservative ideas. There is no moderate Club for Growth, supporting centrist Republicans. The Public Interest, which used to publish an array of public policy ideas, has closed. Reformist Republican donors don’t seem to exist. Any publication or think tank that headed in an explicitly reformist direction would be pummeled by its financial backers. National candidates who begin with reformist records — Giuliani, Romney or McCain — immediately tack right to be acceptable to the power base.

    Finally, Traditionalists own the conservative mythology. Members of the conservative Old Guard see themselves as members of a small, heroic movement marching bravely from the Heartland into belly of the liberal elite. In this narrative, anybody who deviates toward the center, who departs from established doctrine, is a coward, and a sellout.

    This narrative happens to be mostly bogus at this point. Most professional conservatives are lifelong Washingtonians who live comfortably as organization heads, lobbyists and publicists. Their supposed heroism consists of living inside the large conservative cocoon and telling each other things they already agree with. But this embattled-movement mythology provides a rationale for crushing dissent, purging deviationists and enforcing doctrinal purity. It has allowed the old leaders to define who is a true conservative and who is not. It has enabled them to maintain control of (an ever more rigid) movement.

    In short, the Republican Party will probably veer right in the years ahead, and suffer more defeats. Then, finally, some new Reformist donors and organizers will emerge. They will build new institutions, new structures and new ideas, and the cycle of conservative ascendance will begin again.[/QUOTE]

  2. #2

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Golferjet;2854079]I'm a Democrat!![/QUOTE]

    Me, too. But I thought this could be a good discussion for the board.

  4. #4
    Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there's any way to embrace the Traditionalist wing without embracing religious fanaticism as well. And that is a damn shame. I'll embrace a fully blown liberal before I embrace Sarah Palin. No way.

  5. #5
    Jets Insider VIP
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    What type of Republican am I? A FORMER Republican.

    Full on Libertarian these days.

  6. #6
    I was going to say Traditionalist, but I really don't agree with the terms of the definition.

    [QUOTE]In one camp, there are the Traditionalists, the people who believe that conservatives have lost elections because they have strayed from the true creed. George W. Bush was a big-government type who betrayed conservatism. John McCain was a Republican moderate, and his defeat discredits the moderate wing.[/QUOTE]

    Yes, ok, right...

    [QUOTE]To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. [/QUOTE]

    Right on...

    [QUOTE]Rally behind Sarah Palin.[/QUOTE]

    What? No. Back up.

    [QUOTE]They are going to win, first, because Congressional Republicans are predominantly Traditionalists. Republicans from the coasts and the upper Midwest are largely gone. Among the remaining members, the popular view is that Republicans have been losing because they haven’t been conservative enough.[/QUOTE]

    In terms of big government and spending, that's absolutely true.


    [QUOTE]Finally, Traditionalists own the conservative mythology. Members of the conservative Old Guard see themselves as members of a small, heroic movement marching bravely from the Heartland into belly of the liberal elite. In this narrative, anybody who deviates toward the center, who departs from established doctrine, is a coward, and a sellout.[/QUOTE]

    I don't agree with this at all.


    In my opinion, the Bush era was when conservatism took a nosedive; they shifted their focus off of a smaller government, free trade, lower spending, etc, and aimed to satisfy only the social conservatives. In an ironic way, it became the party of God [I]and [/I]aggression, and if you weren't on board then you were indeed a sellout. This isn't traditional conservatism at all. It's a cliche now, but Reagan took pride in how he was able to reach across the aisle and work with Tip O'Neill. The fathers of the conservative movement (going back to the 50s, 60s, and 70s) were made up of mainly social moderates who held more libertarian principles than anything else.

    To unconditionally back Sarah Palin isn't "traditionalist", it's simply following the Bush trend of conservatism.
    Last edited by JetsFan2012; 11-11-2008 at 03:38 PM.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=RutgersJetFan;2854110] I'll embrace a fully blown liberal before I embrace Sarah Palin. No way.[/QUOTE]

    I think most people would answer this differently figuratively than they would literally.

  8. #8

    Ugh!

    Articles written about Republicans by the New York Times. Why not articles about Paris fashion written by an Iranian mullah. Please, spare us. I'm a conservative in all aspects, fiscally, socially, constitutionally. John McCain is a liberal(who masqueraded as a neo-conservative to get elected) There is another word for the "Reformers". Democrats in the old sense of the word). Completely incorrect analysis of the current situation.
    Last edited by kaol; 11-11-2008 at 03:49 PM. Reason: typo

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=kaol;2854177]Articles written about Republicans by the New York Times. Why not articles about Paris fashion written by an Iranian mullah. Please, spare us. I'm a conservative in all aspects, fiscally, socially, constitutionally. John McCain is a liberal(who masqueraded as a neo-conservative to get elected) There is another word for the "Reformers". Democrats in the old sense of the word). Completely incorrect analysis of the current situation.[/QUOTE]

    It's David Brooks, dude. Formerly of the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard and Washington Times. Pretty sure he qualifies as a conservative, although he'd certainly put himself in the "reformer" category he identified above. And he would put you in the traditionalist category.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2854154]I think most people would answer this differently figuratively than they would literally.[/QUOTE]

    It's an extreme viewpoint, yes, I'm aware. However it's an issue that I honestly feel that strongly about. Guys like Bobby Jindal are men who I'd love to get behind and support, yet I can't bring myself to get behind someone who supports ID discussion in schools. I just can't.

    In all honesty I'm extremely pissed at both parties. For someone in the middle there's just nowhere to go. I find the entire concept of two parties having total control of two branches of government ridiculous. Call it an idealist phase that I'm currently going through if you must.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=RutgersJetFan;2854207]It's an extreme viewpoint, yes, I'm aware. However it's an issue that I honestly feel that strongly about. Guys like Bobby Jindal are men who I'd love to get behind and support, yet I can't bring myself to get behind someone who supports ID discussion in schools. I just can't.

    In all honesty I'm extremely pissed at both parties. For someone in the middle there's just nowhere to go. I find the entire concept of two parties having total control of two branches of government ridiculous. Call it an idealist phase that I'm currently going through if you must.[/QUOTE]

    I meant it as a joke: You know, "literally embracing Sarah Palin."

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2854191]It's David Brooks, dude. Formerly of the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard and Washington Times. Pretty sure he qualifies as a conservative, although he'd certainly put himself in the "reformer" category he identified above. And he would put you in the traditionalist category.[/QUOTE]

    Ceased to be a conservative long ago. Now he is held up by papers like the Times as a conservative.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2854267]I meant it as a joke: You know, "literally embracing Sarah Palin."[/QUOTE]

    Ah, well I think we'll all be doing that once Nalin' Palin hits the interwebz.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=kaol;2854269]Ceased to be a conservative long ago. Now he is held up by papers like the Times as a conservative.[/QUOTE]

    Well, ok, but for a writer who doesn't get it, this paragraph sound uncannily like the way you described your own views:

    [QUOTE]In one camp, there are the Traditionalists, the people who believe that conservatives have lost elections because they have strayed from the true creed. George W. Bush was a big-government type who betrayed conservatism. John McCain was a Republican moderate, and his defeat discredits the moderate wing.

    To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. Rally behind Sarah Palin.[/QUOTE]

  15. #15
    The guy who wrote that article is full of sh*t

    Sean Hannity is a traditional conservative? NOPE!! Hannity is a Neocon socialist just like Bush.

    This is the mainstream media trying to confuse people as to what true conservatism is.

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=JetsCrazey;2854294]The guy who wrote that article is full of sh*t

    Sean Hannity is a traditional conservative? NOPE!! Hannity is a Neocon socialist just like Bush.

    This is the mainstream media trying to confuse people as to what true conservatism is.[/QUOTE]

    I concur, Hannity isn't a conservative, he's a Bush lackey, a phony, and kind of a douchebag.

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=pauliec;2854305]I concur, Hannity isn't a conservative, he's a Bush lackey, a phony, and kind of a douchebag.[/QUOTE]

    Kind of?

    I actually don't mind O'Reilly. He's a bully, but funny as hell sometimes.

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=RutgersJetFan;2854207]It's an extreme viewpoint, yes, I'm aware. However it's an issue that I honestly feel that strongly about. Guys like Bobby Jindal are men who I'd love to get behind and support, yet I can't bring myself to get behind someone who supports ID discussion in schools. I just can't.

    .[/QUOTE]

    More seriously, I think --speaking as a liberal political wonk trying to view the conservative conundrum objectively-- you hit the nail on the head here.

    The GOP's social conservatism seems to have really alienated pretty much both coasts, and --as the election just proved-- it no longer delivers the south whole. That's a losing formula, and it's actually going to get worse because young evangelicals care as much about issues like poverty as they care about abortion and gay rights.

    I think the Republicans need to take a more moderate course on social issues to become competitive on the coasts again. The problem is that, if you look at the Republicans still in congress after their latest beating, what's left is actually more extreme in its social views.

    They are in a bad way.

  19. #19
    [QUOTE=RutgersJetFan;2854309]Kind of?

    I actually don't mind O'Reilly. He's a bully, but funny as hell sometimes.[/QUOTE]

    I like O'Reilly. He's got a pretty good, dry sense of humor.

  20. #20
    [QUOTE=RutgersJetFan;2854207]It's an extreme viewpoint, yes, I'm aware. However it's an issue that I honestly feel that strongly about. Guys like Bobby Jindal are men who I'd love to get behind and support, yet I can't bring myself to get behind someone who supports ID discussion in schools. I just can't.
    [/QUOTE]

    Bobby Jindal = Neocon opportunist. Not anywhere near a real conservative.

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